The Winding Road To Parenthood
Parenthood is a life goal for individual adults and couples alike. Some are excited to have their first child, while others want to grow an already thriving family. Starting or growing a family is easy for some, but for others, fertility challenges exist. Statistics show that 19% of couples have problems conceiving, with many diagnosed with infertility. After months or even years of trying without success, hopeful parents often call on fertility specialists for help. These medical experts understand the future parent’s needs and can present multiple options to help build a healthy family. This can sometimes be a long, winding road, but the result is often finally unlocking parenthood.
Common fertility challenges
Doctors define infertility as the inability to naturally conceive after at least 6-12 months of trying. Contrary to popular belief, infertility impacts men and women at equal rates. In some cases, both parties are impacted. Women often face challenges like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, or problems with egg development. Male-factor infertility can be traced to poor sperm count, sperm shape, or motility. Both men and women can also have hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases, or physiological changes to the reproductive organs. With help, most infertility patients can conceive, accounting for factors like age.
The role of fertility specialists
Fertility specialists are doctors and other experts who specialize in improving fertility outcomes. These specialists use tests, treatments, and techniques to improve the chances of starting or growing a family. Before taking action, the fertility team will perform a series of tests on the patients to understand the root causes of infertility. These tests include physical examinations, x-rays, blood tests, and assessing the health of sperm or egg. The results empower the team to suggest options to increase the chances of a live birth. The team also guides the patient through the process, providing services and medication to support the goal. Recommendations are based on age, hormonal profile, or an underlying medical condition.
Let’s begin treatment
If a patient has an underlying medical condition, like endometriosis in women or varicocele in men, a surgical procedure can help. Addressing the physical barrier to conception has been proven to improve outcomes. Some patients respond well to hormone medication. These drugs increase or optimize sperm or egg production, increasing the chances of conceiving naturally. If natural conception is still unsuccessful, the next step is assisted reproductive technologies (ART), a game-changer in fertility treatment.
The ART of reproduction
ART includes intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and other forms of these techniques. IUI involves medically inserting a prepared sperm sample into the cervix to assist with pregnancy. IVF, on the other hand, creates an embryo outside the body with sperm and egg samples. The eggs are extracted after the woman goes through a hormone medication protocol to produce more eggs. The best embryo is then transferred to the uterine lining using a non-invasive surgical procedure. There are also additional options, like intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), that can increase the chances of success.
Genetic testing, donors, and surrogates
What if there was a way to determine the viability of a hopeful parent’s embryo? With preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), the fertility specialists can do so. PGT looks for any genetic anomalies that can impact the success of pregnancy. The fertility can then select the best embryo during IVF or ICSI, which improves the chances of a live birth. There are rare cases where even these options fail to produce results. At that point, the couple can consider healthy donor sperm or egg or surrogacy. These options require additional discussions and support but often lead to fantastic results.
Unlock parenthood with fertility specialists
Fertility specialists can help when parenthood seems out of reach. The team’s expertise is not limited to ART or genetic testing. Many fertility specialists can provide resources, emotional support, and counseling to face the challenges of infertility. Fertility treatments are becoming more accurate thanks to advancements in research, medication, and skill. Those trying to start or grow families without success can tap into these experts. Hopeful parents should find the right clinic with an excellent track record. The possibility exists to build a family, even in the face of the many fertility challenges impacting people today.