Many couples dream about starting a family together one day. They have long conversations into the night chatting about what their children might look like and grow up to be, who they’ll take after and how they’ll behave.
Fortunately, for most couples, getting pregnant is easy. They make the decision that they’re ready to have kids, start trying, and within several weeks or months, they receive the happy news.
For one in six couples in the USA, though, it doesn’t happen this way. Infertility is on the rise in the western world, and while there are some possible causes, there’s no cold, hard reason that wins out beyond age demographics.
Possible Causes of Infertility
An increase in harmful chemicals in the environment, the after-effects of the birth control pill, and sexually transmitted diseases, like chlamydia – these are all possible causes behind the rise in infertility.
Some experts believe that an increase in DDT can effect estrogen levels in women, so you’re strongly advised to consume only organic products. Another possible culprit is parabens. When a couple is trying to conceive, it’s recommended that you abstain from using certain hair dye products, body scrubs, soaps, and beauty products containing parabens.
If you don’t know by now, parabens are a type of preservative used to prevent the growth of bacteria. According to some fertility experts, they also have the ability to take on the characteristics of estrogen, which means that you could be getting too much of it. When your hormones are out of balance, your chances of creating healthy eggs or creating healthy sperm is reduced.
How do you know if a product has parabens in it? Well, unless it’s illegal, it will be listed on the label. Don’t be fooled into thinking it doesn’t contain parabens if you don’t see the exact word on its own. Sometimes it can be part of the word – like propylparaben, ethylparaben, and so on.
Since you’re reading Organic Lifestyle Magazine, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’re pretty well informed on the negative effects of parabens by now and that you don’t use these types of products, anyway. But you should also be paying more attention to the house paints you use, the food you consume, and the artificial sweetener you put in your coffee. All of these have the power to throw your hormones out of whack and lead to temporary infertility, so look for natural sweeteners, organically grown food and fresh produce, and don’t eat anything from a can.
Delaying Childbearing Until Later in Life
It’s depressing but sadly true, as a woman, your chances of conceiving drop off dramatically after the age of 35 and a little bit more every year after that. With more and more women studying for a postgrad degree or wanting to climb their way up the career ladder, many delay having children until later on. Some couples cite an unstable economy, lack of job certainty, or contract positions without insurance benefits as reasons to hold off on starting a family. You would probably never find the right time to have kids if you over-analyzed it though. And you do have to face the cold, hard fact that the ticking biological clock is more than just a myth.
Dealing With Your Emotions
If you’re part of the demographic of would-be older parents experiencing problems with a low egg supply, you might try IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization). But IVF doesn’t always work for every couple. If you’ve been told that your own eggs aren’t viable for whatever reason, it’s a tough pill to swallow.
For a woman to find out she’ll never be able to conceive using her own eggs is one of the biggest blows she’ll ever have to deal with in life. Before you can even begin to contemplate the idea of using donor eggs, you’ll need to go through a lengthy period of dealing with your emotions.
Many women feel grief over the children that they will never have. The may even feel rage, envy, anger, or depression. Worrying about whether using a donor egg will make the child feel less like your own is also common. If you are suffering from infertility, you’re not alone and you do have options available. But dealing with your emotions first is vital, and this means being open with your partner at all times. You may find professional help and counsel useful, or techniques like mindfulness, meditation, and yoga to process and deal with your feelings, and prepare your mind and body for the next step.
Using Donor Eggs
There have been enormous advances in the field of modern fertility, which mean that you can now safely and comfortably use a donor egg for procreation. While your child won’t share your DNA, you can decide to use your partner’s sperm and select a donor with similar physical traits to yourself. If you’re worried about the child not feeling like yours, don’t; the bond between mother and child begins in the womb.
You’ll be carrying your child for nine months, feeling him grow and kick and even hiccup inside of you. You’ll give birth to him and nurse him. This child would never exist if it weren’t for you, so you’ll never have to feel as if he isn’t yours.
Using donor eggs is far from a new concept. In fact, it’s been around for more than three decades now, although the traditional procedure is changing. Until fairly recently the process was carried out with fresh donor eggs, but now using frozen donor eggs is gaining in popularity.
Thanks to new thawing protocols and “flash freezing” techniques, the success rates of the procedure with frozen donor eggs are now becoming higher. Flash freezing minimizes the chances of ice crystals forming on the eggs and therefore prevents them from getting damaged.
Fresh or Frozen Donor Eggs?
There are a few differences between the two which will help you decide whether you’ll choose fresh or frozen donor eggs. The largest factor will probably be the cost, and the second largest is time. Which is ironic really, seeing as the people who have the most money generally have the least time.
You might be wondering, if success rates are higher using fresh donor eggs, then why would you consider using frozen donor eggs? Well, beyond the fact that frozen eggs are starting to achieve results similar to that of fresh donor eggs, here are a few things you need to know:
Fresh Donor Eggs
Frozen Donor Eggs
|A cycle of fresh donor eggs usually runs at around $28,000, including agency fee, medication, and IVF.||A cycle of frozen donor eggs is around half the price, at $12,000 to $14,000.|
|Donor and recipient’s menstrual cycles need to be synched up to receive the donor egg at the right time||Any problems with cycle synchronization are removed, as it only depends on the recipient’s cycle.|
|Donor needs to be chosen locally, so that she can go into the clinic for treatment and transfer.||There is a wider selection of donors to choose from due to removed time pressure and national donor bank of samples.|
|Higher success rates (85%)||Lower success rate (65%)|
You and your partner will need to decide which option is going to work better for you. Choosing fresh donor eggs may slightly increase your chances, however some frozen donor egg clinics are now offering money back guarantees, as well as financing plans to encourage couples to choose frozen donor eggs as their fertility option.
If you’re suffering from infertility and thinking about researching national egg donor programs, the good news is, you have a lot of options available to you. Whichever option you choose, you’ll need to visit your local fertility clinic with your partner and participate in a pre-screening process, to discuss your medical history and your expectations.
Choosing frozen donor eggs will give you more options, and you can select your donor online and decide according to the factors that are important to you (such as eye and hair color, ethnicity, and even education levels). All donors are extensively medically screened to rule out any infectious diseases or medical problems.
You don’t always have control over the way things happen in life or the hand you’re dealt, but thanks to the modern age that we live in, you and your partner don’t have to give up on your dream of starting a family.
- DDT General Fact Sheet – National Pesticide Information Center
- 8 Household Products to Avoid When TTC – Fit Pregnancy and Baby
- Almost One in Six Couples Face Infertility: Study – Reuters
- Infertility is a Rising Problem – Daily Mail UK
- Overview of the Egg Freezing Process – Frozen Egg Bank USA