Starting or continuing a family is something increasingly more individuals and couples are choosing to do later in life. For many, careers, personal goals, or health-related issues may require delaying children. No matter the reason, fertility issues shouldn’t deter one from pursuing a family.
As we near our early 40s, our rate of infertility rises significantly. If you find yourself wishing to grow your family in your late 30s to early 40s, taking advantage of alternative fertility methods like traditional or donor egg IVF may be effective options for you.
While women are often on the receiving end of administered fertility treatments, men and women should both have an equal say in what methods are considered when growing their family.
Here are three things to consider before making your decision.
Should you choose IUI or IVF?
Studies show men over 40 are 30% less likely to father a child. While many factors can play a role in their reproductive health, the bottom line is male factor infertility directly correlates with conception success rates.
If male factor infertility is an issue, your best option may be to use Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). This method involves injecting sperm directly into the uterus during ovulation to decrease the travel time sperm must undergo. As a result, the likelihood of successful conception is greater because a stronger sperm specimen is injected closer to the fallopian tube, where the released egg will have an increased chance of being fertilized. The more times a couple or individual undergoes IUI, the greater the probability they have of conceiving a child.
If the mother is experiencing fertility difficulties, perhaps In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) will bring the most success. Where IUI is the process that directly injects sperm into the uterus, IVF is directly related to the stimulation of female eggs. IVF is the process where a woman’s eggs are retrieved, fertilized in a petri dish, and then reinserted into her uterus. When a woman undergoes IVF, it’s typically due to advanced age or issues with her reproductive organs.
In cases where both male and female infertility factors are an issue, IVF with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) may be performed for a greater chance of achieving pregnancy. Following the same process as IVF, highly trained technicians insert sperm directly into the egg before implanting them back into the uterus.
Whether individuals or couples find success with IUI, traditional IVF, or IVF using donor eggs and/or donor sperm, it is their baby they’ll be bringing into this world.
Men and women can live longer as parents.
In your early adult years, intermittent but consistent social interactions with others may have been enough. Now that you’re a bit older, those social interactions aren’t as frequent. Believe it or not, a lessening of social communication can have a lasting impact on your general health.
Studies show social interactions are vital to longevity and health as we age, and having children can be one way to increase your overall lifespan.
Why do parents live longer?
Parents are given more opportunities to have social communication through interacting at school, volunteering for extracurricular activities, meeting other parents with children, and so on. These occasions which put us around other people may help us enjoy an extended life. Additionally, as we age so do our children, and they’re consistently an important source of support as we navigate old age and a changing society.
With IVF and donor eggs, this enrichment of life is achievable for anyone wishing to have a family. With a growing database of egg donors available from companies like Donor Egg Bank USA, hopeful parents can identify and choose a donor with qualities most important to them. Whether parents are looking for a particular physical feature or for someone from a specific culture, databases have many different donors they can choose from.
Remember that it’s normal for alternative methods to take time.
No matter what alternative fertility treatment you choose, it’s important to be aware that getting pregnant may take time. It is normal for intended parents to undergo multiple tries before getting pregnant.
If you’re looking to use donor egg IVF, you will need to choose between fresh and frozen donor eggs. With fresh donor egg IVF, the donor’s menstrual cycle and the intended parent’s menstrual cycle needs to be synced. Timing for this is crucial, so if you don’t have a flexible schedule, you may want to consider frozen donor eggs as a considerably less time-intensive option. Using frozen donor eggs is not only more time efficient, it’s also more cost effective while boasting similar success rates to fresh – without the need to sync cycles. With frozen donor eggs, you can concentrate on your cycle, which is crucial for pregnancy success.
Understanding the nuances and steps of each route is imperative when selecting an alternative fertility method. Do your research and ask questions, even if they seem trivial. You need to feel confident this is the right path for you and your family.
Photo by Alicia Petresc