Your journey to parenthood may have been easy. But for others specifically 1 in 8 people, struggle to conceive for various reasons.
One thing I’ve learned over the years as my husband and I were trying to conceive is that this TTC (trying to conceive) community is continually growing and supporting each other.
It is no longer a lonely journey as when we first underwent IVF (in vitro fertilization) more than 10 years ago. You do not need to feel alone and isolated. Talking about infertility or our IVF process is no longer a taboo subject for us – feeling ashamed of our diagnosis.
There are so many support groups, in person or online, that can help you make the journey less stressful or depressing. You can seek comfort and feel supported, however you decide to grow your family. Just getting some info to help make sense of it all can do wonders.
With the advancement of science and technology, there are so many options these days. Trying to conceive whether naturally or through assisted methods is a unique and special process for anyone.
Infertility in a woman is not getting pregnant after trying for at least a year. For woman over 35 years old, she may be diagnosed with infertility if she has not become pregnant after 6 months of trying.
For men, their sperm health dictates if their sperm is able to fertilize an egg.
However, having the diagnosis of infertility is not the end of your hopes of becoming a parent. Or your dreams of one day being called mommy or daddy.
When we first received our diagnosis of uterine polyps and low sperm count, we thought we had no chance of having children of our own. We soon learned that was not the case.
Trying to conceive for many years, dealing with different fertility clinics and doctors, all the medications and surgical procedures we had to endure…it was definitely a long and difficult road to parenthood.
So if you are in the same situation – dealing with infertility and trying to figure out your options with your fertility doctor – here’s more info to help you. So many terms and abbreviations to learn, it can be so confusing and overwhelming.
As always, it is best to consult your doctor sooner rather than later, to determine what your best option is to conceive.
Your fertility specialist may recommend IUI or IVF to conceive.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, is a fertility medical procedure that is used to treat some cases of infertility.
During IUI, specially washed and concentrated semen is placed directly into the uterus around the time a woman is ovulating. It can significantly increase the chances of conception because the goal is for more sperm to reach a woman’s fallopian tubes for fertilization.
IUI provides the sperm an advantage by giving it a head start but still requires a sperm to reach and fertilize the egg on its own. According to APA, it is a less invasive and less expensive option compared to in vitro fertilization.
APA defines in vitro fertilization as an assisted reproductive technology (ART) commonly referred to as IVF. IVF is the process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus.
This process requires more medications and is more expensive, but success rates are better than IUI. It all depends on the reason(s) behind the infertility.
I highly recommend reading IVF A Detailed Guide: Everything I Wish I Had Known Before Starting My Fertility Treatments by Bianca Smith – an author who underwent IVF treatment herself. It reads like a girlfriend fertility coach helping you along the way. Lots of tips to help you ask the right questions of your fertility doctor/clinic, understand the many tests/surgical treatments, and just make sense of the whole process.
If you are need of sperm or eggs, donor sperm or egg may be your path to parenthood. This would be needed if a man has little to no sperm or a woman does not ovulate or have a womb. The donor sperm and egg would be fertilized to become an embryo then implanted via IUI or IVF treatment as mentioned above.
The donor can be anonymous/unknown or from a known person. These are options you can discuss further at your chosen fertility clinic.
Surrogacy may be needed if a woman cannot get pregnant and carry a baby due to medical problems with the uterus. Or for same sex couples who want to have children. Legal rights differ from state to state regarding surrogacy, so be diligent in your research if this is your option.
The Unexpected Mother: A Surrogate Mother, Caught Between Science, the Law, and Humanity by Susan Ring is a powerful and chilling true story of one surrogate mother’s 9-month journey. It is so captivating you won’t want to put the book down until you’re done reading.
For some, being a foster parent or adoption may be their path to parenthood. There are many children, all ages and backgrounds, who are in need of forever homes.
If you can provide love and stability for these children, who may have endured some heartbreaking struggles, your goal of becoming a parent can be fulfilled.
Your local foster or adoption agency can give you more info and the requirements. I truly believe it takes a special person to open their hearts and lives to these children.
The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by authors Karyn Purvis, David Cross, and Wendy Sunshine. This book is said to be a bible of sorts if you’re planning to foster or adopt – it gives many helpful tips and advice to help welcome children from all backgrounds into your family.
Single Parent/Same Sex Parents
You may decide to have a child on your own or with your same sex partner. Parenthood could be through donor insemination or surrogacy. Or even through foster care or adoption. There are many options now should you chose to become a parent.
The physical, emotional, and financial toll is all the same. So seek support and do your research. Ask questions if you are unsure or don’t understand something. Have courage to face any adversity that may come your way.
Modern families come in all different shapes and sizes – these books give hope to others who may be contemplating, but feeling afraid to go through parenthood alone or with their same sex partner.
Going Solo: My Choice to Become a Single Mother Using a Donor by Genevieve Roberts is an empowering and uplifting story of one woman’s choice to become a single mother.
Determined To Be Dad: A Journey of Faith, Resilience, and Love by Steve Disselhorst chronicles his journey of his acceptance of his sexuality, marriage to his husband, and adoption of his children.
Road to Parenthood
No matter what option you take to become a parent, it will be a roller coaster ride with wild twists and turns. But nothing is guaranteed…only time will tell if the highlight will be the fulfillment of a child to call your own. Keep the faith and may you never feel alone.
Lots of faith, hope and love is what got us through our IVF journey. Today marks our 18th wedding anniversary. Half of that time was spent trying to conceive. As we think back to those days, we wonder how did we survive it all? We were fortunate to have two healthy babies. But I know that is not the case for everyone who embarks on this journey. I count my blessings everyday.
Everyone’s journey is unique and special to them. May everyone be kind along your path – they don’t know the storm you are struggling through.
I hope you can avail of some of the resources I provided to help you along the journey. And I hope I gave you valuable information to help you decide what is best to grow your family.
You are braver and stronger than you think you are and your TTC (trying to conceive community) is here for you always.
Please share your thoughts and comments below. Would love to hear from you!