Today, about one in six couples are facing infertility. Fortunately, there are now a large variety of solutions that can help those suffering from fertility issues to finally fulfill their dream of having a child. Read on to explore these options.
What can cause infertility?
Many things can lead to infertility. In about a third of cases, infertility is due to the male partner alone. Another third of cases are the result of issues experienced by the female partner. The last third is due to problems encountered by both sexes, or unexplained infertility.
For men, this inability to conceive can be the result of poor-quality semen (lack of sperm, low sperm count, abnormal shape or motility), problems with the testicles, ejaculation disorders as well as a vasectomy.
As for women, causes of infertility include ovulation disorders, cervical mucus problems, fibroids, endometriosis, scar tissues, or pelvic inflammatory disease. For both males and females, chemotherapy or certain conditions such as autoimmune diseases can also affect their ability to conceive.
Additionally, being overweight or underweight, as well as leading certain lifestyles or maintaining bad habits such as smoking or eating unhealthily, can all lead to infertility.
What are the solutions available to finally start your family?
Good news: there are now several treatments and solutions to help you complete your family. As the methods depend on the cause of your inability to conceive, it’s crucial to consult a specialist that will recommend the right option for you. If you’re under 35, you should pay a visit to your GP after a year of trying to get pregnant. Don’t wait more than six months if you’re a woman over 35.
Getting pregnant via sperm donation
Does the fertility issue lie with the male partner (for instance, he has been diagnosed with low sperm count, lack of spermatozoa or he carries a genetic disease that could be passed on to the baby)? In this case, one option would be to use donor sperm to conceive via a fertility treatment such as artificial insemination or IVF. Single women and lesbian couples can also conceive with donor sperm to start their family.
If you’re considering sperm donation, you should know that today there are a variety of ways to select a donor. Of course, you can purchase sperm from a sperm bank, but now you can also pick a known donor online, on social network sites or platforms that connects donors with wannabe parents.
If you decide to use donor sperm, make sure that the facility you’re choosing is reputable. Don’t hesitate to read the user reviews. It’s also important to take the time to understand the process of donation. Ask yourself the right questions such as how do they collect sperm at a sperm bank? How does the sperm bank screen the donors? Should I use a known donor or a sperm bank? Do you wish your future child to know the donor? etc. There are many things to look into beforehand.
Using egg donation or donor embryos
Another solution is to utilize donor eggs (sometimes, donor embryos) through IVF treatment. Egg donation is, in fact, an option that is more and more popular, especially amongst women over 40, as well as those using a surrogate mother.
Your doctor might recommend egg donation if you have a premature ovarian failure; diminished ovarian reserve; a genetic disease that could be passed on to your baby; or if you have undergone chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.
Artificial insemination is often the first fertility technique that specialists suggest. In short, sperm is placed via a catheter directly into the woman’s cervix, uterus, or fallopian tubes. The most common technique is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), which is when sperm (donated or from the partner) is inserted into the uterus.
In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF, is another fertility technique that can help couples conceive. This method involves the retrieval of eggs and the collection of sperm under laboratory conditions. The two are then combined to facilitate fertilization outside the body. The resulting embryos are finally transferred into the woman’s womb.
Your doctor might suggest IVF if you or your partner are diagnosed with:
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- For men: low sperm count or abnormal shape or movement of sperm
- For women: issues with the fallopian tubes or uterus, problems with ovulation, premature ovarian failure, or endometriosis
- Genetic conditions
- Unexplained fertility problems
Boosting your chances of becoming pregnant
We know that if you’re struggling with infertility, you’ve probably read dozens of blogs about how to improve your chances of getting pregnant. However, it’s always useful to have a little reminder, whether you’re undergoing fertility treatment or not.
First, make sure you know the date of your ovulation (which occurs about 14 days after the first day of your last period if you have a 28-day cycle) to program when to have sex to get pregnant. Several ways can help you pinpoint your most fertile window, such as using an ovulation predictor kit or measuring your basal body temperature every morning.
Additionally, what you eat is fundamental. Accordingly, you and your significant other should adopt a varied and balanced diet, all while keeping a healthy body weight. On top of that, you should exercise regularly, quit smoking (of course!), ensure that you get enough sleep and do your best to reduce stress. Fingers crossed!