The path to parenthood isn’t always an easy one. According to the NHS, “around 1 in 7 couples may have difficulty conceiving” with common causes of infertility including poor quality semen, lack of regular ovulation, and endometriosis.
If you’re currently struggling to get pregnant, please know that you’re not alone. And rest assured that there are several other ways you can welcome a new addition to your family.
Here, we explore three alternative paths to parenthood that you can consider if you’re unable to conceive.
In vitro fertilisation, often referred to as IVF, is a type of fertility treatment that’s suitable for a wide range of people who are struggling to get pregnant.
Typically, the process involves taking medication to suppress the menstrual cycle as well as fertility hormones (called follicle stimulating hormones (FSH)) to increase the number of eggs the ovaries produce.
Eggs are then extracted from the ovaries during a minor procedure and taken to be fertilised with your chosen sperm. After several days, the embryos will be transferred to your womb via a catheter.
The success rates for IVF depend on several factors, but statistics from the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority say the “average IVF pregnancy rates using fresh embryo transfers for patients aged 18-34 were 41% per embryo.”
IVF is a great option to consider but there are risks involved, so it’s important to speak to a medical professional about whether this option would suit you.
Another option is surrogacy, which involves another woman carrying and giving birth to a baby for you.
There are a couple of different surrogacy methods, one of which is partial or traditional surrogacy. The surrogate would donate one of their eggs and be artificially inseminated with the intended father’s sperm.
Another method is full or gestational surrogacy, which is when the sperm of the intended father and the eggs of the intended mother are used (or those of a donor). Typically, this is done through IVF and the embryos are placed into the surrogate’s womb.
If you decide this is a path you want to pursue, it’s important to understand the legal processes and regulations for surrogacy in the UK. You can find out more about this on the government website, including the risks, financial implications and the importance of setting up a surrogacy agreement.
You could also welcome a little one into your family through adoption. It’s a wonderful way to become a parent, giving a child the loving family they deserve.
There are several steps to take if you decide that adoption is right for you. This includes finding an adoption agency, taking part in evaluations and assessments, and filling out application forms.
If the agency decides you can adopt, they’ll start the process of finding and matching you with a child. For the adoption to be legal, you’ll need to apply for an adoption court order which gives you parental rights and responsibilities.
The journey can be long and tricky to navigate, so it’s worth seeking expert help from specialist children’s solicitors. They can guide you through each step of the process, providing important information, organising legal documentation and much more.
It will give you the peace of mind that you and your child have the legal protection you need and have complied with the necessary rules and regulations to start the next chapter of your family life.
There are many different paths to consider when starting your family, including IVF, surrogacy and adoption. Take some time to research and speak to your healthcare professional about which would be the best route for you.