Every couple who has ever had to grapple with infertility knows how complicated and frustrating fertility treatments can be; however, the reward is certainly worth all the effort. Still, choosing the right procedure can be tricky, especially if you are new to the terminology. Not sure what all of your options are? Consider this your fertility treatment guide:
Hormone treatments: From polycystic ovary syndrome in women to low testosterone in men, hormonal imbalances can cause fertility woes. Luckily, with hormonal treatments, your doctor can correct out-of-whack hormones and help you get back on track. There are several hormonal treatments available, but the first step is for both you and your partner to have your hormones tested to learn what your levels are.
In vitro fertilization (IVF): IVF is a procedure in which the woman’s eggs and the man’s sperm are combined in a lab, after which the embryos are placed into the woman’s uterus. IVF is most successful if performed in women under the age of 35; however, it has been performed for women over 40 successfully.
Sperm donors: Sperm donors can play an invaluable role in the lives of couples who are unable to conceive on their own. In today’s technological era, you can even check out sperm donors online and select which qualities you want in your donor.
Artificial insemination: Artificial insemination can be an invaluable fertility treatment for couples who are experiencing infertility due to low sperm count or poor sperm motility (which is a fancy way of saying his sperm aren’t able to travel far enough to make it to the egg). With artificial insemination, couples are able to conceive without turning to sperm donors, and chances of success range anywhere from 5 percent to 20 percent.
Surrogacy: If you are unable to bear a child yourself, you might consider surrogacy as a viable option. Surrogate mothers carry babies for women who cannot do it for themselves, and these surrogates include the parents-to-be throughout the journey from the first doctor’s visit to the day of birth. While surrogacy can be costly, it is growing in popularity. Actors Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker used a surrogate, as did singer Ricky Martin, and both families spoke highly of the experience.
Gestational carriers: Gestational carriers are also a wonderful option for women who cannot carry their own children. Gestational carriers differ from surrogates in that the couple’s own eggs and sperm are used, and the gestational carrier actually has no genetic material in common with the baby. Gestational carries are growing in popularity as well — celebrities from Dennis Quaid to Vanessa Williams have used this option to help add to their families.
As you can see, there are numerous treatments for infertility that can help you and your partner create the family you so desire. Whether you are trying for your fourth child or still working on your first, be sure to investigate all your options and talk to your doctor about any concerns you might have. Parenthood is wonderful, but the road there isn’t always easy, which is why we are so lucky to live in a time with such amazing fertility treatments and ever-increasing options.