Getting pregnant is probably not as easy as you’d imagine. The general concept is that conception is simple. The truth is, however, that trying to conceive even for the healthiest couple is a process that can take months or years to come to fruition. As there are a lot of factors that could play a role in the inability to conceive right away, knowing that you have options to create the family you’ve always dreamed of is enlightening.
The Natural Way
The most common method of getting pregnant is naturally. To conceive naturally, the sperm must travel through the cervix to the uterus and then into the fallopian tubes. If successful, the sperm must then fertilize the egg when then travels to the uterus and attaches itself to the uterine wall. This process, though it seems simple, can take time to occur.
It can take a healthy couple anywhere from 3 months to a year to get pregnant. If after a year of unprotected sex and no pregnancies, you may need to consider other factors that could be playing a role including diet, emotional health, and physical health. Your doctor can run a series of tests to discern whether you’re able to conceive naturally; if not, other options which will be discussed below are available.
For couples who are having a difficult time trying to get pregnant or for those who wish to use a sperm donor, intrauterine insemination or IUI is often the first option. For this procedure, the fertility clinic will schedule the insemination during the woman’s ovulation period. When the eggs are released from the ovaries, the sperm is collected, cleaned, and inserted into the uterus. The sperm with less road to travel must then fertilize the egg and if the egg attaches to the uterine wall, pregnancy begins. Though IUI is less expensive, it does not have a high success rate and should be discussed with your doctor to determine if it is the right alternative for you.
In Vitro Fertilization
If couples are unsuccessful in getting pregnant with IUI, In Vitro Fertilization or IVF is another option. The woman is given medication that must be taken to stimulate the development of ovaries. During ovulation, the eggs are retrieved and fertilized with the collected sperm in a lab. Once embryos are formed (sperm fertilizes the egg successfully), the embryos are placed back into the uterus to implant. If the implant is successful, a pregnancy begins. This option is often costlier, but also the most successful method for getting pregnant. There are IVF resources you can review to discern whether this procedure is ideal for you, what the costs will be, and what to expect.
- Donor Eggs – IVF is also a great method for women who do not produce their own eggs anymore. Women with healthy eggs donate them to infertile women during IVF. The donor egg is fertilized with the father’s sperm and implanted into the mother. This process can also be done for men who cannot produce healthy sperm. Donor sperm would be used to fertilize his partner’s eggs and implanted back into her.
- Embryo Adoption – There are couples where both the man and woman are unable to produce healthy sperm and eggs. In this instance, they would adopt an embryo, and have it implanted in them through IVF. The embryo adoption process is much like a traditional one and the adoptive parents go on to raise the child as their own.
Once You Get Pregnant
Most couples can get pregnant through one of the above-mentioned processes. Now that you’ve gotten through the hard part, you’ll need to sustain a healthy pregnancy. Below are a few tips on how to have a healthy pregnancy:
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Abstain from drinking or smoking
- Take your prenatal vitamins
- Keep your doctor’s appointments
- Drink lots of fluids
- Exercise in moderation
- Get plenty of sleep
- Be mindful of over the counter medications
The road to pregnancy is not as picture perfect as you might have imagined. There may be bumps along the way and even obstacles that you must overcome, but with effort and the support of your doctor, there is hope that you can conceive. Whether you get pregnant the natural way, with IUI, IVF, or with the help of a donor, the joy you’ll experience when you see their precious face will far outweigh the struggle it may have taken you to get there.
About the author: Katherine Smith (Kat) is a San Diego based freelance writer who enjoys writing on a wide variety of fitness and entertainment topics. In her free time Kat enjoys the beach and playing volleyball with family and friends.