Fertility options can be overwhelming for those who are interested in expanding their family, whether single or in a romantic relationship. There are numerous ways to become a parent. This article will not only point out some popular fertility options but also options you may have never considered. With that in mind, let’s dive into the wonderful world of conception.
If you happen to be born with a vagina and have a menstrual flow, then you may have the option of being impregnated with sperm from a partner, friend, or donor and hopefully become pregnant.
However, if you’ve tried the “natural” way of becoming pregnant with no luck, there are other ways to produce a child.
If you or a partner are struggling with infertility, you can visit your doctor for an evaluation. From there, the doctor can determine if you would benefit from types of medication that are meant to stimulate the production of sperm or increase the number of viable eggs.
If you’re not a candidate for the medication or this option isn’t successful, there are other forms of medical intervention you can try to achieve your pregnancy goals.
Sperm, Egg, or Embryo Donation
Malfunctioning eggs or sperm does not have to be the end of your conception conversation, there are plenty of other options that can offer some assistance such as:
- Sperm donation – For individuals or partners that either don’t have a sperm-producing partner or they face complications with their sperm, a sperm donor is a helpful option. You can either visit your choice of sperm bank or ask a willing friend to donate their sperm to you for the purposes of child conception.
- Egg donation – Like a sperm donor, an egg donor can help those who either can’t produce eggs of their own or those whose eggs are infertile. In this instance, you can visit a local egg donation facility or ask a friend who might be willing to donate their egg to you. Once there is an egg to be fertilized, your doctor can fertilize it with your partner’s sperm or another sperm source.
- Embryo donation – If each person in the relationship has fertility struggles with both eggs and sperm, an embryo can also be donated and inserted into the partner that will carry the pregnancy.
Assisted Reproductive Technology
Partners with fertility struggles may also opt for what’s known as assisted reproductive technology. There are several types of (ART) procedures that may be performed including:
- ICI (Intracervical Insemination) – This is the most popular method for those looking to impregnate themselves at home and is also known as the “turkey baster method”. The process involves filling a syringe with sperm and injecting it directly into the cervix. This can be done by yourself or a partner to create a more intimate experience.
- IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) – IVF is the most common among folks looking to reproduce with the help of medicine. This process involves harvesting an egg and sperm from each partner. Once the egg is fertilized with the sperm, it’ll create an embryo and be implanted into the egg-producing partner.
- ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) – Typically, this method is used when the sperm-producing partner is the one experiencing fertility challenges. Like IVF, a single sperm will be removed from the individual and placed into the egg for fertilization.
- IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) – For some individuals, harvesting eggs may not be necessary. In this case, your doctor will prepare the sperm by removing the seminal fluid and injecting the sperm directly into the uterus.
- SO IUI (Super Ovulation and Intrauterine Insemination)– A process that involves medicines being given to the egg-producing partner to produce maturation and ovulation in multiple ovarian follicles. This is followed by intrauterine insemination as mentioned above.
If you produce healthy and fertile eggs but cannot carry the child for health reasons, or if you have a donated egg or embryo, but you are an individual without a uterus, surrogacy makes a great choice. This process involves a fertilized egg being placed inside a surrogate’s uterus. The surrogate will carry out the pregnancy for the parents.
Fostering occurs when a child is placed in your care temporarily. The criteria for becoming a foster parent or (an approved resource family as termed in California) varies based on your state of residence. There are three different types of foster options:
- Foster Care – A child can be placed with you for the duration of time that their case is tried in family court. This is usually temporary and can be anywhere from 9-18 months.
- Emergency Foster Care – A child can be placed with you for a short amount of time from a few weeks to a few months. After this, a child may reunite with their family or be placed with a new foster family.
- Fostering to Adopt – While all foster care starts as temporary, you may have the option to adopt. If a child has been placed with you for a while and you’ve decided that you’re interested in adopting them, there are numerous ways that you can apply to adopt the child. This process will also vary by state.
If carrying a child isn’t for you or you are unsuccessful with other methods, adoption can be a beautiful way to bring a child into your life. Again, the process for bringing home a child from an adoption agency will vary based on your state. However, the general steps include but are not limited to:
- Attending an info session
- Attending adoption prep classes
- Completing a background check
- Completing the necessary paperwork
- Completing an intake interview
- Child search and placement
*The above steps are in no order and may each contain different requirements and definitions based on your state.
Mentorship is another opportunity to bring a young person into your life and build a personal and influential relationship with them. There are many youth mentorship programs that you can join to help change the life of a young person.
They may not reside with you, but the relationship you build with them can last a lifetime. You can find mentorship programs through your social networks, religious spaces, or a general web search. Parenthood isn’t always about sharing blood or living together, sometimes it’s the family you choose.
Childfree or Fur Babies
Lastly, you may decide that children are not in the cards for you, and that’s ok. An alternative to a human child is a fur baby such as a dog or a cat. Heck, maybe it won’t even have fur. Maybe it will be a lizard or snake.
The point is animals can offer you a hefty amount of emotional support, love, and tenderness. They need to be tended to and cared for. The best part is they don’t talk back, and they’ll never leave the nest and go off to college.
Whatever you decide, remember that the choice is yours! Do not allow the outside pressures of society or loved ones to make you feel like you are less than human because what works for them may not work for you.
*Please note: This is not a complete list of all the options that are available to you. If you’d like to be fully educated on your reproductive options, please visit your doctor for more in-depth information.