If you and your partner have been struggling to conceive a child, you might be starting to wonder what else you can do to make that particular dream come true. The first thing to bear in mind is that this is a very common experience – in fact, some research suggests that it is becoming more common year after year – and that there is nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. Many people feel these emotions, which is perfectly natural, but it really is completely normal.
But if you are keen to have a child, you will want to know about your options. Thankfully, there are so many options that you won’t have to worry about not being able to find one for you. There are no guarantees, but what follows is some of the most trusted fertility treatment and assisted conception options out there. Consider these before you decide to give up trying at all.
Sometimes, the issue causing a problem with conception is actually relatively simple to fix with the right medicine. For instance, if the issue is that ovulation is not occurring, you can be prescribed a drug called clomifene, which helps to stimulate the production of the egg, even in women who cannot ovulate at all. Often, this will be enough to cause conception to become a possibility, and a child might be made.
Metformin is a drug that is often given to women who have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS – an incredibly and increasingly common syndrome where the ovaries have one or more cysts on them, which may come and go over time. With the right medication, this problem can be dealt with in such a way that pregnancy can be allowed to occur.
Another type of drug known as gonadotropins are extremely useful, because they not only help to promote ovulation in women but also increase fertility in men. As such, they can be useful when it is not entirely clear which partner’s biology is causing the issue, or if it is both parties. Of course, all of these medicines are prone to causing side effects, and should only be taken after careful conversation with your doctor. But in many people, they are sufficient.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a process whereby sperm cells are directly inserted into the womb during the time of ovulation. The IUI process is relatively straightforward: first of all, the male partner is asked to produce a semen sample in a sterile container, which can be either done at home or on site where the rest of the procedure is to take place. However, if it is done at home, the sample has to be back at the lab within the hour to still be effective. There then follows a sperm washing procedure, followed by the insertion into the ovum itself, which happens via a speculum. This causes no discomfort, and is over within a matter of minutes.
As with all forms of fertility treatment and assisted conception, the outcome is never one hundred percent certain. However, there results are generally positive, and many couples have been able to successfully have a baby using IUI.
Often seen as the poster child of fertility treatments, IVF is usually the first one that people think of. However, it is not really one of the most commonly used around the world. In in-vitro fertilisation, eggs are taken from the ovaries and combined with the sperm in a laboratory dish. After that, there is a resulting embryo, which is then transplanted back into the womb. This process can be extremely effective indeed, although it is also one of the more expensive options out there. However, again, many couples have found great success with this method, and more and more people are doing it every day.
If it is known that there is an issue with the male partner’s sperm which is causing the infertility problems, then a donor can be used. In this process, IUI or IVF is followed, but with the sperm of a man other than the intended father. This can either be someone that is chosen specifically by the partners, or it can be taken from a sperm bank. In either case, it can be very successful, so long as there are n other problems, for instance with the female’s reproductive system.
This is a similar donor situation, except in this case a different woman is carrying the child for the couple through to birth. This is obviously a huge undertaking for that woman, and it is something that can often be hard to make a reality for the reason that you have to find someone to go along with it. In this process, it can simply be a case of the sperm fertilizing the woman’s eggs, or there can be a combination of donor sperm and eggs used. It all depends on the situation at hand and whether or not there are any other issues going on that need to be taken into account. Surrogacy can often be difficult to achieve, and difficult for the surrogate mother to give up the child after birth. In some parts of the world, the surrogate mother is allowed to take back the child up to six months after birth. These considerations need to come into play for everyone involved.
As with donor sperm, sometimes there is an issue with the female’s eggs and as such having donor eggs is the way to go. When this happens, it is very similar in process to the donor sperm, in that it can either be taken from a woman the couple know, or from a bank of eggs. In either case, the results are often very promising with donor eggs, and it’s an option that a lot of couples end up using.
Any of these might be the one that works for you, so it is important to make sure that you are considering all of these options.