No matter what the reason is for infertility, starting a family is not impossible. If you truly want to bring a baby into the world, you can beat infertility and start a family in your own way and on your own terms. The following outlines the causes of infertility and its various solutions:
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 10 to 15 percent of couples in the United States are infertile. Most doctors determine a couple is infertile if they’ve had regular unprotected sex for a period of two years and are still unable to conceive. In many, but not all, cases of infertility, physicians are able to diagnose the reason why.
The Mayo Clinic reports that approximately 20 percent of infertility issues are caused by a problem in the man, and approximately 40 to 50 percent are due to issues in the female. It’s very possible that infertility is due to problems in both the man and the woman. And, of course, there are couples for whom it’s biologically impossible to conceive, such as gay and elderly couples.
Infertility in Men
When Heather and Craig Dunbar got married in 2006, they didn’t expect to have to wait to start their family. They wanted children, but Craig was diagnosed with kidney failure and forced to go on dialysis while he waited for a transplant. It wasn’t until 2014 that he received an organ donation from a family friend. His life was saved and his good health meant the couple could start trying for a baby.
“When we did eventually decide to start a family, we soon discovered that it wasn’t going to be as easy as we thought,” Heather told the Huffington Post. She and Craig attempted IVF, but the procedure failed them five times. Health problems, especially serious conditions like kidney failure, are among the top reasons men can’t conceive naturally.
- Heavy alcohol use
- Environmental toxins, including pesticides and lead
- Radiation treatment and chemotherapy
In the case of Heather and Craig Dunbar, the solution was simple. They’d never be able to conceive and carry a child on their own, so they chose a surrogate to carry the child for them. Surrogacy is a good option for all infertile couples. The Dunbar’s surrogate, Christine, became pregnant on her second IVF attempt. And, when it came to giving birth, Heather and Craig were right by her side to welcome their baby girl into the world.
Infertility in Women
The most common cause for infertility in women is ovulation problems. A woman who doesn’t ovulate is not creating eggs; fertilization cannot occur without both sperm and eggs. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) are the two most common reasons for ovulation problems. PCOS is when hormones are out of balance and POI is when the ovaries aren’t working properly. Both are treatable.
For women suffering from PCOS, a healthy lifestyle can help improve their chances of becoming pregnant. It’s recommended to quit smoking, manage a healthy diet, and participate in regular exercise. Unfortunately for women suffering from POI, the treatment may be a bit more invasive. Hormone replacement therapy may be needed to replace estrogen and progesterone.
Other reasons include:
- Blocked fallopian tubs
- Uterine problems
- Uterine fibroids
- Heavy alcohol use
- Poor diet
- Poor athleticism
- Overweight or underweight
Women have a lot of options when it comes to overcoming their infertility. Intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, and lifestyle changes recommended by your doctor are all ways you can overcome your infertility. If those methods don’t work, egg donors are available, as are surrogates. Adoption and foster care also perfectly acceptable and fulfilling ways to start a family.