When you have been struggling to have a baby for several months or years, it can be heart-breaking. Your dreams of starting your own family feels like they are slowly slipping away.
Often, it can feel unfair when you and your partner are unable to conceive naturally but this doesn’t mean you can’t start a family. Thanks to modern medicine, there are now more options than ever for infertile couples.
Nowadays, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to have a baby. More and more people are using non-traditional methods and building the families they have always desired.
If you and your partner are struggling to conceive naturally, there are lots of effective infertility treatments methods that may be ideal for you. Make sure to speak to your doctor for expert advice and guidance.
One of the most important things during any form of infertility treatment is communication. You must communicate openly with your partner before and during the process, regardless of which treatment method you choose.
You may be offered infertility counselling sessions as part of your treatment plan. This can be beneficial to help you and your partner feel more comfortable speaking about what you want from each other and sharing the way you feel.
Here are four of the many options that are available to infertile couples.
If, for any reason, you or your partner are unable to carry a baby, surrogacy is a great option.
In surrogacy, an embryo is created through in vitro fertilization using yours and your partner’s egg and sperm. If you are in a same-sex couple, you will need to use a donor gamete, but the same process applies.
The embryo is then transferred into the uterus of the surrogate, who will carry and birth the baby.
Surrogacy is one of the best options for couples who are happy to allow other women to complete the pregnancy but still want their own children.
For surrogacy in California, there are two types – gestational and traditional, both of which can be extremely effective.
In gestational surrogacy, where the surrogate mother is not related to the parents in any way. For traditional surrogacies, the carrier is biologically related to the baby. The latter option is less common but some couples still use this method.
Surrogacy is often an emotional and challenging process but it’s a great option to maintain the genetic connection with your child.
For many couples who are struggling to conceive naturally, fertility medications are usually one of the first options.
A specialized team of healthcare professionals will usually perform a range of diagnostic methods to determine the potential cause of your infertility. After this point, medications will be prescribed for you or your partner to either stimulate ovulation or spent production.
Your doctor will offer guidance on which medications are best for your needs. Some of the common fertility drugs include:
- Clomid (clomiphene citrate)
- Crinone (progesterone)
- Femara (letrozole)
- Ovidrel (human chorionic gonadotropin)
- Urofollitropin (follicle stimulating hormone
Medical Fertility Procedures
Fertility drugs are not always effective. If you are unable to conceive after this form of treatment, your doctor may offer an alternative method using assisted reproductive technology (ART).
there are a variety of ART methods. The suitable method for you and your partner depends on your unique circumstances, but this is something that your doctor will be able to guide you through.
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
One of the most commonly used methods for the treatment of infertility is in vitro fertilization (IVF). This procedure involves taking sperm and egg cells from you and your partner. These cells are then combined two cause the fertilization of multiple eggs.
Once a successfully fertilized embryo develops, it is transferred into your uterus, where it can implant. After this point pregnancy should continue as it normally would after a natural conception.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
If the egg does not need to be harvested, intrauterine insemination can be used. The sperm will be collected from the male and concentrated to remove the seminal fluid. The sperm is then inserted directly into the uterus to increase the chances of fertilization.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
This next method of fertility treatment is used when it’s the male in the partnership is infertile. It involves a single sperm cell being inserted into a retrieved egg.
Assisted hatching can increase the chance of an embryo that has been created via IVF successfully implanting into the uterine lining.
This is referred to as ‘hatching’ as it makes it much easier for the embryo to hatch out of the protein layers that surround it so that implantation can occur.
Egg, Sperm, or Embryo Donation
If you or your partner don’t have viable gametes for conception, this form of fertility treatment might be the most appropriate for you.
This is a great option if you are concerned about maintaining the genetic connection to your child, as one parent’s sex cells will be still be used. However, if both parents have inviable sex cells, both sperm and egg donors can be used.
Gamete donation is commonly used for same-sex couples. Two women will need a sperm donor and two men will require egg donation as well as a gestational carrier.
This method can also be used if one parent carries a genetic condition and doesn’t want to risk passing it onto their offspring.
The donor egg, sperm, or embryo will come from dedicated banks that enable parents to choose a donor, who may or may not be kept anonymous. Using a bank will enable you to choose certain characteristics, such as eye color, hair color, and IQ.
Egg, sperm, or embryo donation are not suitable for everybody. Speak to your doctor to determine how viable this option is for you and your partner. Make sure that you are fully comfortable with every aspect of the process before moving forward.