Getting to the point in your life where you are ready to try for a baby is a huge deal. You have reached a milestone, and it’s this milestone that should feel easy. Man + woman + sex = a baby. Right? Well, that’s what the textbooks tell us. What they also say, that most people gloss over, is that a healthy couple with no fertility issues has a 25% chance each month of conceiving a baby. We tend to gloss over this fact, because knowing such science can make conceiving a child feel rather clinical, rather than the spontaneous moment you wish for it to be. A 25% chance to conceive each month doesn’t sound like much, does it? But it’s the reality of trying for a baby.
A couple that is actively trying to conceive is a couple that is full of excitement, anticipation and nerves. Every month, there is a huge build up to ovulation and then another build up for the two week wait for a period to arrive. When that does arrive, the feeling of failure starts off as a small pinch and ends up in a knife wound to the heart. Trying to conceive for a child is supposed to be fun and life-changing, but when twelve cycles have passed by and nothing has happened, it can be concerning. Getting pregnant naturally is supposed to be easy, and it is soul destroying when nature has other ideas for you. Understanding your options when you aren’t pregnant will mean research is your friend and trying to conceive becomes a mission rather than something that feels natural.
If you are struggling to conceive, the first thing that you should do is speak to your doctor. There are tests that need to be carried out to check the fertility of you and your partner. There could be nothing wrong, and you’re just missing out on catching the egg. But there could be something there that means you need to consider your options for conceiving your child with a little help. In some cases, the tests coming back to tell you something is wrong can make you feel crushed, but it can also provide you some much needed answers. With answers come solutions, and below we have some of the solutions that are available when you need a little injection of science into nature.
Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is the procedure where a doctor washes a sperm sample and places the sperm directly into the uterus of the woman. This helps the sperm to bypass making it through the cervix and gives them a technical head start. It’s less invasive than other options, and it’s more commonly used when the issue is due to low motility or low sperm count. It’s also a choice for couples who get the news that their fertility is unexplained, or there is a problem like a hostile uterus killing all the healthy sperm. IUI is not always cheap, but it is a supportive option and more gentle than others.
In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF, is science stepping in and taking over the entire process of conception. You have to research everything from how eggs are extracted before they are mixed with sperm and implanted back into the uterus, to the IVF lab air quality in the clinic of your choice. Embryos are created in a petri dish and inserted back into your uterus at the right time of the medication cycle you are put onto. Ideally, an embryo will latch onto the wall of the uterus and the IVF is successful. This is an option that comes with an awful lot of medication and injections that you have to do yourself. It’s not an easy or cheap road to go down, so don’t feel bad for finding the process difficult. Those with genetic disorders, male factor infertility and even women with fibroids tend to go for IVF as it’s a careful way to ensure that a created embryo gets where it should go. It’s a major head start, but it’s one that will need some careful thought before the beginning.
When IVF and IUI haven’t worked, surrogacy can be an option. This is the process of finding someone else who is willing to carry the embryo for you. It’s a huge decision to make, and it’s not one that will be easy. There are two types of surrogacy: traditional, where the surrogate’s eggs are used, and gestational surrogacy, where your embryo is created and then inserted into the womb of the surrogate. It’s a very long process, and using an agency is the best way to go. With pregnancy being such a sensitive issue, it has to be absolutely right before you go ahead. After the baby is born, a parental order is made for the biological parents to take over the parentage of the baby carried by the surrogate. Using an agency can ensure that the biological parents are protected at every step of the way.
Lastly, going through the process of adoption is a consideration. The child may not be biologically yours but is still a child who needs love that you can give it. There are hundreds of thousands of babies and children of various ages that are looking to be adopted both in your home country and across the globe. It’s a long, expensive process, with a lot of vetting checks that are done with social worker involvement. Adoption takes some time, but once you have the baby that you’ve been so desperately craving, nothing else will matter. Adoptive parents have all the rights and responsibilities that biological parents do, and the centre of the adoption process is love.
Infertility is tough. It’s difficult and saddening and it makes you feel like something is missing. There are ways to help Mother Nature get a leg up, though, and research is key to ensure that in the end you get what you want.