A recent article at WebMD explored the newest trends in infertility options, including a discussion of how new advances and their success rates have changed the way that many specialists approach treating infertility. Options and advice that were once the accepted norm are now often viewed as conservative, while more aggressive options with higher success rates are becoming more common. A quick overview of the traditional advice and the ways that new infertility options have become more common and accepted can help those who are just starting to explore the range of infertility solutions available.
Traditionally, doctors advised women under the age of 40 to start exploring reasons for not becoming pregnant after 12 months of unsuccessfully trying to conceive. Women over the age of 40 were advised to start looking after six months. These days, it’s generally accepted that sooner is better. Many women over the age of 40 benefit from moving on to other methods of conceiving and bearing children after three months, while women under the age of 40 start exploring after six months. These figures assume, however, that the doctors or the woman don’t already know about an underlying problem. For many women, such as those who have been battling endometriosis and other reproductive problems for much of their lives, there is no reason to put off attempting other, more aggressive strategies.
The most popular “aggressive” strategy to overcome infertility is in vitro fertility, or IVF. In traditional IVF, a doctor “harvests” healthy eggs from the mother, combines them with sperm – often contributed by the woman’s partner – outside the woman, then inserts them into the woman’s womb where the fertilized egg will hopefully attach itself to the walls and grow into a healthy baby.
The success rates for IVF are high, especially when the egg donor is healthy and young, and traditional IVF is the one of the most common infertility options used when a woman has healthy eggs, but there is a structural reason that the eggs don’t reach the uterus, such as a previous tubal ligation. This infertility solution is not, however an option for women who have trouble carrying a pregnancy to term, or for women who cannot produce healthy eggs. There are, however, variations of IVF that can still help those who want to bear children under those circumstances.
Of these, one of the most popular infertility options is gestational surrogacy, a type of surrogate motherhood where the surrogate carries a child who is genetically the child of the actual, intended mother. In gestational surrogacy, the egg donor is the intended mother – the mother who will raise the child. The surrogate most commonly has no genetic relation to the child at all.
Finding the right surrogate for such a pregnancy is vital – her health and her habits will obviously affect the growing baby, and for many parents, it’s important that they know and feel comfortable with the woman who will be providing their baby’s “starter home.”
If you’re exploring infertility options and want more information about gestational carriers and surrogates, your best source of information is one of the many infertility centers in the country that help prospective parents meet and choose a surrogate mother they can trust to provide the best environment in which their new baby can grow.