Millions of Americans experience infertility each year, requiring extra assistance in order to become pregnant. The emotional struggle of infertility can be hard to handle; however, science and medical treatments improve with every year that passes. With new techniques, more couples are conceiving each year. These popular fertility options may be the right choice for you and your partner:
1. Fertility Drugs
These treatments are often taken orally but they may also be injected, inducing ovulation with the help of hormones. This treatment increases egg production and creates a more hospitable environment in which an embryo can develop. This option is great for women who do not ovulate as regularly as others or for those who have partners who simply do not produce high-quality sperm consistently.
2. Artificial Insemination
Artificial insemination is a process in which sperm is prepared and then inserted into the uterus with a catheter. This method of fertility treatment is the most common; however, many women opt to use drugs at the same time to improve their chances of conception. This is a great option for women with partners who have healthy sperm that moves slowly or who have partners with a low sperm count. This is also great for women who naturally produce antibodies to sperm or who do not produce enough mucus to facilitate transportation of the sperm. The downsides to artificial insemination include the chances of multiple births.
3. Donor Sperm
This process uses sperm from another man rather than the woman's partner alongside artificial insemination or an IVF procedure. This process works well for couples who experience male infertility or for couples in which the male carries a disorder they do not want to pass on to the child. Single women and lesbian couples also consider donor sperm as an option.The benefit to using this method is that it prevents genetic disorders and allows partners without fertile men to have children. There are few downsides to using donor sperm. The main cons are emotional. Some couples are uncomfortable with the idea of having a donor who is not the father.
4. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In vitro fertilization, also known as IVF, consists of several steps. First, the female partner's eggs are extracted then fertilized in the laboratory using the selected sperm. Once the sperm and egg become embryos, they are implanted into the uterus. Additional embryos may be stored for future use, if desired. This is a popular procedure for older women or those who have damaged or scarred fallopian tubes. It also works well when the male partner has low sperm quality or if a doctor cannot determine a cause of infertility.
5. Donor Eggs
When a couple uses donor eggs, they typically obtain eggs from another woman who is younger and fertile. The donor egg is fertilized by the male partner's sperm. The donor recipient will then receive the eggs in her uterus. This option works well for women who have experienced damage to the ovaries or who have poor egg quality. It is also a viable option for women who do not want to pass on genetic disorders.
In a surrogacy, the couple has another woman carry the pregnancy to term. The surrogate typically becomes pregnant via artificial insemination or IVF. In some cases, the surrogate uses a donor egg as well. Women often choose this option if they have a condition in which their health would not be sustained in the event that they became pregnant. It is also helpful for women who are infertile or have undergone a hysterectomy.
Thanks to advancements in science and medicine, there are more choices now than ever before for those looking to conceive. For more information, consult with a professional at an OB/GYN clinic.