Not Quite What You Expected

In an ideal world, a couple wanting to start a family would simply attempt to conceive and get pregnant immediately. However, fertility is not so black and white. More than 13% of couples struggle to conceive, with many ultimately diagnosed with infertility. Couples often aren’t prepared for this diagnosis. The overwhelm, stress, and uncertainty of infertility can place a strain on relationships. Some couples even give up hope. Older individuals and same-sex couples may also need support on the parenthood journey. Thanks to advancements in science and medicine, there are alternatives to parenthood. In vitro fertilization (IVF) was once a rare occurrence. Now, this innovative form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) is more accessible, acceptable, and achievable.


Breaking down traditional expectations

Having a child is expected to be a linear, natural process. Rising cases of infertility, however, are signaling that fertility is not a predetermined path. There is also additional pressure from family and friends to continue with the norm of natural pregnancy. These unmet expectations can strain relationships and family dynamics and increase stigmas as couples continue to age. A consultation with a reproductive specialist can help identify the underlying fertility problem. In some cases, the issue is unexplained infertility. Based on the type of infertility or treatments attempted, IVF is a viable path to success.

An alternative path

In vitro fertilization is an innovative procedure that creates embryos outside the body. Infertility means the union of egg and sperm to create a healthy embryo is interrupted in some way. By extracting both eggs and sperm, a fertility lab can help to re-create the natural process of creating an embryo. The most viable embryo is then transferred to the woman’s uterus in a simple medical procedure. The remaining embryos are cryopreserved for additional IVF cycles in the future. IVF helps to circumvent the challenges that prevent natural conception. Over the years, the success rate of IVF has improved, with close to 50% of couples attempting IVF achieving a live birth.

Why is IVF becoming so popular?

Due to health challenges, environmental dangers, dietary issues, and a rise in chronic disease, more young adults are struggling to conceive. While some lifestyle changes can help, the damage is often severe, making IVF an invaluable tool. Additionally, older couples and women who delay pregnancy for work or business pursuits may also struggle to conceive. IVF allows for storing eggs and sperm for future use or for singles to achieve parenthood. The IVF route is instrumental for the LGBTQ+ community, too, with same-sex or transexual couples now able to start or grow a family. Factors like reduced cost, increased awareness, and accessibility have made IVF a more acceptable choice.

Other paths to parenthood

While IVF is an excellent option with high success rates, the process is not a magic pill. In many cases, IVF requires several cycles for a successful pregnancy. The procedure can also reveal other potential causes of infertility that are difficult to navigate. Should IVF treatments fail, there are other avenues to explore. Surrogacy, for example, increases the chances of pregnancy. Donor eggs, sperm, or both might be needed in the event of repeated failure of embryo transfers. Some individuals or couples also consider adoption as a viable way to finally start or grow a family.

An unexpected but hopeful option

There is an expectation and social narrative that pregnancy is a simple process. However, some couples struggle for months or even years without success. Rather than throw in the towel, there is a route that can finally help with pregnancy. As IVF continues to evolve, the process will become a go-to choice for many couples. Don’t be afraid to explore alternative options if infertility is an ongoing challenge.

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