Fertility Options: An Introduction

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For couples facing a diagnosis of infertility, the array of options can be staggering. Not only are you trying to deal with a maelstrom of emotions, you’re faced with technologies, costs, and possible drug regimens that could confuse the best of us. The purpose of this article is to introduce you to some of the options available to have a child. Although childlessness is an option, that will be dealt with in a separate article.

One of the first but often ignored decisions to consider is whether or not you want to actually carry and give birth to a child, or do you simply want a child?

For those who may not be as concerned with the personal experience of pregnancy, adoption and third party surrogacy both present themselves. A wide selection of adoption programs now exists, depending on whether you would like to adopt a baby, an older child, or a child from overseas. Costs will also vary widely according to the program, as will the selection criteria.

Surrogacy may involve someone carrying a child that is genetically yours (in instances where a woman has problems carrying a fetus to term), or a child that is the result of a donor. As with adoption, costs and legal restrictions vary according to state and situation so be sure to do your research.

For many women though, the desire to experience pregnancy itself means that they wish to consider one or more of the multiple technologies now available. Perhaps the first method tried by many couples is the use of fertility drugs such as Clomid. These drugs are designed to hyperstimulate the ovaries, with the intended result being that more eggs are released, thus increasing chances of fertilization. Fertility drugs may be orally administered or injected. Side-effects vary to nonexistent to severe bloating and nausea.

The use of donor sperm or eggs is always an option, depending upon a couple’s desire to experience pregnancy versus the desire to carry a child that is one’s own genetically. Egg donation is now widely practiced. The donor eggs are matched with the sperm in a lab, implanted and closely monitored to see if successful, and thus a pregnancy will result.

Obviously, laboratories play an increasingly significant role in the pursuit of a modern pregnancy, as is evidenced by the use of IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization), ZIFT (Zygote Intra-Fallopian Transfer), and GIFT (Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer). Which of these processes will be used depends upon the functionality of the woman’s own reproductive system and the advice of a medical specialist.

None of these options can be discussed at great length within this short article. However, this should give you a cursory idea of just some of the options available to you. As always, your best bet is to discuss your options with a medical professional, your partner, and any other support networks before you make your choice. Research, research, research, and the best of luck!


Fiona Young-Brown is a Life Coach, specializing in guiding women and couples through the emotional rollercoaster of infertility. She has carried out extensive graduate research into the personal fertility experience, and can provide a supportive, outsider perspective. For further information, visit her at http://www.fionayoungbrown.com.

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