Unfortunately, not every couple will be visited by a stork delivering a baby to them. Sometimes, conceiving a baby naturally just isn’t an option for various reasons. This is, of course, a very concerning and distressing issue for some couples, especially those that have tried for a baby for a number of years.
Thankfully, though, there have been many scientific developments over the past couple of decades that now make it possible for doctors and other fertility specialists to intervene and help couples conceive a baby. In some cases, it’s possible to have a child without any scientific intervention at all!
Are you starting to think about your alternative options when it comes to having a baby? Here are some routes that you might want to consider.
IVF stands for in-vitro fertilization and is the most common type of fertility treatment for couples who are unable to conceive naturally. This is a process that uses the mother’s eggs and the father’s sperm, so the baby that is produced will be biologically related to both. That’s probably why this option is so popular! This treatment is also widely available on most public health insurances, so it is often the cheapest option. However, there are some drawbacks. The success rate isn’t particularly high, and it starts to decline as women age. For instance, women under 34 who have IVF have a 40% chance of a live birth. However, with women who are aged between 38 and 40, that chance is cut to 21%.
Another option that will result in a baby that is biologically related to both the mother and the father is IUI, or intrauterine insemination. During this process, the man’s sperm is physically placed into the woman’s uterus. A concentrated amount of the sperm is used and transplanted into the uterus using a catheter. Before this occurs, though, the woman will have to go through a phase of some fertility drugs in an attempt to make the whole IUI process more successful. Sometimes, though, these drugs increase the chance of a couple conceiving twins. There are some other side effects, such as breast tenderness and cramping. IUI is often cheaper than IVF but there isn’t much public funding for it, so you will have to fund this treatment yourself in most cases.
If the woman has particularly low levels of fertility, it might be worth thinking about looking for a surrogate mother. There are different ways that surrogates can be used. One option is to use the father’s sperm to impregnate the surrogate woman. The main downside to this, though, is that the baby won’t be biologically related to its mother. The other option is to try and create an embryo using the mother and father’s sperm and egg outside the womb, much in the same way as IVF. The embryo is the transplanted into the surrogate mother’s uterus so that she can carry it till full term. As well as heterosexual couples who are having fertility issues, this method of having a baby is often used by homosexual couples. Some couples ask friends or relatives if they would be willing to be a surrogate mother, but most people find their surrogate through an agency. The one thing to bear in mind with this process is that you won’t be instantly given parental rights - you will still have to go through a process much like adoption in order for the baby to be legally yours.
Sperm / Egg Donors
If there is a problem with either the mother’s eggs or the father’s sperm, it is always possible to get donor sperm or eggs. These donated cells will then be used with the health sperm or eggs to create an embryo. Once the embryo has been created, it will then be safely transplanted into the mother’s uterus. One of the advantages of using donor sperm is that many single women are now able to have babies even though they don’t have a partner. Thanks to this, now many women are able to have babies while they are still of childbearing age, and they don’t have to worry about waiting too long to use their eggs. Donor sperm and eggs can be used in both IVF and IUI methods of fertility treatment.
If none of the above scientific methods of contraception work, then there is always one option you can fall back on - adoption. Each year hundreds of children are put up for adoption for numerous reasons. It could be because their parents are unable to look after them or because they are orphans. But whatever their reason for being up for adoption, every one of these kids needs a good family home to go to. However, if you do decide to adopt, you need to be ready to put in a lot of time and effort as the process is quite drawn out and not a very easy one to go through. You will be expected to attend a number of interviews so that the authorities can determine whether or not you will make a suitable parent. You will also have to have your home inspected to make sure it is the ideal place to bring up children. Once you are granted permission to adopt a child, you will then have to go through the process of being matched up with the perfect child. This can also take some time as well. But, once you are at the end, you will be the legal guardian of a new son or daughter! You might also want to think about fostering some kids too - this is when you invite a child into your home for a short period of time. So, they won’t be yours legally, it’s just like you are their temporary parents for a month or two.
Don’t worry if you are having a hard time conceiving - as you can see, you have quite a few different options that you can choose if you are desperate to welcome a child into your home.