Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest Post: Infertile Couples: Options, Alternatives and Treatment

Many couples that are unable to conceive due to some form of infertility feel an overwhelming sense of shame and failure. But infertility is a far more common problem than many people know. In fact, the CDC estimates there are 7.1 million women ages 15-44 throughout the U.S. with some form of fertility impairment. One of the most common causes of infertility in women is polycystic ovary syndrome, which results in a failure to ovulate. This and other forms of fertility problems are most often treated with drugs or surgery. There are a number of surgical options for infertile couples looking to start a family.

Drugs – For those women infertile due to ovulation disorders, fertility drugs are the preferred treatment. These medications function as natural hormones to control or induce ovulation. There are a number of different drugs on the market all designed to combat various fertility problems. There are drugs available to treat polycystic ovary syndrome, pituitary issues, infertility due to insulin resistance and drugs that stimulate egg follicles. To find the appropriate course of fertility treatment, a woman should consult her personal physician.

Surgery -- Depending on the cause of infertility, a doctor may recommend surgery as a viable option. Surgery is especially common when the fallopian tubes are blocked or otherwise impaired. Modern surgical methods, such as laparoscopic techniques, have become so advanced that fallopian surgical procedures have become less invasive than in years past.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ARS) – For women who have a healthy uterus and regular ovulation cycle, ARS is a viable option to conceive a child. The most common form of ARS is in vitro fertilization (IVF). This is a process that involves harvesting healthy and mature eggs from a donor and fertilizing them with viable sperm in a lab. Thousands of babies throughout the U.S. are born each year via methods such as IVF.
There are a number of ARS options for men as well. Electric stimulation helps men who can’t achieve ejaculation (possibly due to a spinal cord injury) to produce semen. Surgical sperm aspiration is another technique that retrieves sperm from various parts of the male reproductive tract, such as the vas deferens and testicle, when the ejaculatory duct is otherwise blocked.

Adoption -- For those who aren’t interested in going the drug or surgical route, there is always adoption. Despite initial apprehensions and misconceptions, many infertile couples that choose adoption find the experience to be greatly rewarding. Over half a million adoptions occur each year throughout the United States. That is a lot of needy children being placed in the hands of loving parents.
Couples who are interested in this alternative should be aware of the basics. There are two different types of adoptions: open adoptions and closed adoptions. Open adoptions are ideal for those couples and mothers who want to be in contact with one another, either for the short or long term. In a closed adoption, on the other hand, the birth mother and adoptive parents do not have contact nor do they have any information about one another. Laws vary from state to state regarding whether or not closed adoption records can be unsealed after a certain amount of years. But no matter the state, couples considering adopting through an agency can expect to face a rigorous screening process.

Foster Care – Couples who are unsure about taking the permanent step of adoption have a more temporary alternative in foster care. While foster care is primarily a crisis intervention service for children who have oftentimes been neglected and/or abused, it can also be the first step towards adoption. But the primary goal in most foster family scenarios is to eventually return the child to his or her birth parents. This means foster parents must be prepared to provide love and support to the child, and also to let the child go if need be. The statistics regarding adoption and foster care are similar, with over 500,000 children in foster homes throughout the U.S. And like adoptions, laws regarding foster care vary from state to state. That being said, most states offer help in the form of training and financial assistance.

It’s important for any individual experiencing fertility problems to consult a physician sooner rather than later. Early detection of medical problems related to infertility allows for more effective treatment options. Dealing with infertility isn’t easy for anyone, especially those looking to conceive. But throughout the treatment process there are a number of therapy options in the form of counseling and support groups that can help ease the burden of the fertility struggle.

Daylan Jones researches and writes on topics related to donor sperm, artificial insemination, and donor sperm banks for Cryobank


Swidget 1.0