If you’ve been struggling with infertility, you’re probably no stranger to coping with the stress it creates. Struggling with infertility can influence countless aspects of your life—from your self-esteem to your relationship with your partner.
If infertility makes you feel like you have nothing left to give, no matter how hard you try, you’re not alone. The fact is one in eight couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy, but many of them still find ways to grow their family.
You can overcome the obstacles infertility presents and create something worthwhile if you remain dedicated to growing your family. As you know, this path isn’t easy or simple, but instead of being overwhelmed by the challenge, consider one of the five options below:
Many couples that see a reproductive endocrinologist are prescribed certain medications that can help them become pregnant. Although there are a few common medications given, the prescription should be specific to the condition being treated.
For example, women that have trouble with ovulation may be treated with an oral medication, such as Clomid or Letrozole. Although these medications are often successful for women with ovulation trouble, they do not help couples that struggle with more complex infertility issues. In these more complex cases, couples often take gonadotropin injections.
Regardless of the fertility medication you take, it’s important to understand that success is not guaranteed, which is why many couples look to Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) if their fertility medicines fail.
Assisted Reproductive Technology
ART refers to the range of fertility treatments doctors utilize to treat their patients. In general, ART implies three treatments: oral medication and insemination, injection medication and insemination, and in-vitro fertilization.
Among these three treatments, in-vitro fertilization is the most popular. In this treatment, a woman undergoes a number of injections and egg retrieval. The eggs are then fertilized in a laboratory for about three to five days. Once this process is complete, a limited number of embryos are transferred to a woman’s uterus to assist in plantation and pregnancy.
Though in-vitro fertilization is commonly known, it’s not the right option for everyone, as it’s expensive and rarely covered by insurance. If couples don’t find success through fertility medicine and either choose not to use in-vitro fertilization or experience failure with it, they commonly turn to egg or sperm donation.
Egg or Sperm Donation
If your male partner struggles with infertility, you can use donor sperm to have a biological child. Alternatively, if you struggle with infertility, you can use an egg donation to have a child.
Although egg and sperm donation are often successful, they are generally viewed as a last resort because they can lead to regret in couples that are not emotionally prepared. It takes time and effort for a couple to be prepared—both with their head and heart—for an egg or sperm donation.
Although this process is not without effort, couples that are rightly prepared often forget that their egg or sperm is donated when their child is born; proving that losing genetic maternity or paternity can seem like a shortcoming, but it’s really a new beginning.
If you are mentally and emotionally prepared for donation but you want or need another option, you can take advantage of embryo donation.
When people have completed their families through in-vitro fertilization, it’s common for them to have remaining frozen embryos. These individuals can either thaw and discard their embryos, donate them to science or donate them to another family.
If the couple chooses to donate, they can select the couple that will receive the embryos or donate them anonymously. Said embryos are then transferred to the adoptive mother, so she can carry and give birth to her baby—making it an amazing option for women that have always wanted to experience pregnancy.
The benefits of embryo donation is making it more popular among couples, whether they have tried to conceive through other methods or not. Many people that seek out this option have already tried fertility medications and in-vitro fertilization, but couples that haven’t tried other options also use it because of its high success rates and reduced cost/wait times.
In the United States, about 135,000 children are adopted each year—many of which are a result of a couple’s medical inability to bear children. In many ways, embryo donation and child adoption are very similar—the main difference being the stage in development at which the child is adopted.
In embryo donation, the child is adopted at the very beginning of their life, and the pregnancy is carried by the adoptive mother. In child adoption, the child is adopted after they’ve been carried and birthed by their biological mother.
If you are medically unable to carry a donated embryo and are able to take on the financial implications of adoption, child adoption is a great option. Adopting a child can help you grow your family in a way that is fulfilling and meaningful—something your infertility may have otherwise made unachievable.
Bottom Line: Don’t Give Up Hope
If you’ve been struggling with infertility, you are not alone, and there is hope. The first step to overcoming your challenge is to understand the options that are available to you. Next, you must assess the options and understand what ones are best-suited for your needs—mentally, emotionally and physically.
Although your desire to have a child might cause you to rush the process, it’s important to take your time when making this decision. Many people that can’t conceive think that their only adoption options are to adopt a child from another country or their own, but they never take the time to learn about embryo adoption, which can give you the opportunity to carry and deliver your child.
The decision process is never easy, especially when it regards something as pivotal as having a child. Although you may be struggling with infertility and the decisions that arise from it, familiarizing yourself with your options will make the process easier and worthwhile.