Have you and your partner decided to take the next step in your marriage? Starting a family is an amazing (and slightly scary) milestone.
You may think that getting pregnant is the easy part. However, more than 5 million couples struggle to naturally conceive in the United States alone. It may be even harder if you are older or have certain health conditions.
But don’t worry – natural conception isn’t the only option anymore. There are now several alternative ways to have a baby that you may not have heard of before.
Do you want to know what they are? Keep reading to discover 10 alternative ways to have a baby when you’re having trouble conceiving.
1. Try Artificial Insemination
When you think about your other options for having a baby, you may want to keep things as natural as possible.
Artificial insemination is a common term that you’ve probably heard of before. But what exactly is it? Basically, it’s the process where sperm is medically injected directly into the fallopian tubes, cervix, or uterus.
This procedure can work for men who have low sperm counts or sperm that are too weak to swim to uterus themselves. Injecting the sperm directly into the target area helps the sperm find an egg to fertilize. This can also help women struggling with endometriosis or unreceptive cervical mucus.
2. Consider In Vitro Fertilization
So, what can you do if artificial insemination doesn’t work?
In vitro fertilization may be the next step. The doctor will take an egg and a sperm from you and your partner. They will then fertilize them in a lab and place them in the mother’s womb.
This may sound a little scary, but a child conceived this way will still result in a natural pregnancy with both parent’s DNA (although donor sperm or eggs could also be used). In some cases, the doctor will ask the mother to go through hormone therapy to increase your chances of conceiving.
3. Use Frozen Embryos
Have you just been giving a diagnosis that could cause infertility in the future? You may be worried about your ability to conceive when you’re ready.
If you find out early enough you can take premeditated steps to help avoid this. Freezing your embryos is a great option. By taking your egg and your partner’s (or a donor’s) sperm, a doctor can fertilize them and free them for later use.
If you are having fertility problems and didn’t freeze any embryos, there are other ways of having a baby using frozen embryos.
Many women freeze embryos as part of their quest to conceive. Leftover frozen embryos are sometimes donated to the clinic and put up for “adoption.” You may use one of these embryos to undergo in vitro fertilization.
4. Try Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection
Has the father’s sperm still had trouble finding an egg through artificial insemination? Sometimes the sperm injections have to be even more direct. But what can be more direct that injecting it into the uterus?
The answer – injecting it directly into the egg. Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (also called ICSI) is the process of taking one live sperm and injecting it into the cytoplasm of an egg.
With this procedure, the sperm doesn’t have to search for an egg at all. Instead, it can focus its energy on fertilizing the egg it was injected into.
5. Research Cytoplasmic Transfer
You may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to carry a baby if you’ve already tried everything else.
The good news is, yes – there are still other artificial ways to get pregnant. Cytoplasmic transfer is very similar to ICSI. In this procedure, a sperm and the cytoplasm of a donor’s egg are taken and injected into the cytoplasm of the mother’s egg.
This may be an option if you and your partner have several failed in vitro fertilization attempts or if the mother is older.
6. Get a Surrogate
Have you tried several different ways to conceive and were unable to get pregnant or bring the baby to term? Sometimes the problem doesn’t lie within the eggs, but within in womb. If the mother is struggling with infertility, a surrogate can be a good option.
When using a surrogate, parents may undergo in vitro fertilization in which their sperm and egg are fertilized in a lab. Instead of placing the fertilized egg back into the mother, they may opt to have it placed in a surrogate who will bring the baby to term and give birth to a child that has no genetic link to her.
Trusting a surrogate with your child at such early stages can be scary. There are many reputable companies, such as the Egg Donor and Surrogacy Institute, that can answer your questions and match you with a good surrogate.
7. Look for a Donor
Do either of your fertility issues stem from problems with the egg or sperm itself? If this is the case, you may have trouble conceiving using any of these methods.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any artificial ways to get pregnant that will work. The next step may be looking for a sperm donor, an egg donor, or both. Any of the above procedures can work with a donor.
While the child won’t be genetically linked to both parents, it can give the mother the chance to carry a child to term and give birth. This experience gives parents a closer bond with their child as they are there to witness every step of the process and feel their baby growing inside the mother.
8. Give Naturopathic Medicine a Shot
Are you looking for different ways to get pregnant but aren’t sure you’re ready to try expensive and invasive treatments yet? While every treatment varies in cost, some may be as much as $38,000!
Before you spend that kind of money, you may want to try naturopathic medicine. This focuses on using different means of stimulating your body’s natural healing process, which can help many things from improving your mental health to getting pregnant.
Acupuncture, yoga, and special herbal teas are some things that may help with some infertility issues. Even if you’re a little skeptical, it can’t hurt to try!
Just be careful – some naturopathic medicine treatments can get pricey. You’ll want to do your research and find a treatment that’s in your price range.
9. Adoption Is an Option
Have you tried all the possible options and are still coming up short? This can be a very frustrating and emotional time for you and your partner. But, there are still options out there for you.
Adoption can be one of the best options for having a baby. While the child won’t genetically be yours, and it won’t be brought to term by the adopted mother, it’s still your child.
There are different kinds of adoption, so be sure to do your research on which option is best for you. The first thing you’ll have to decide is if you want a closed adoption (birth parents have no contact with the baby) or an open adoption (birth parents have some contact with the baby).
By going through an adoption center, you may have the option to learn about the birth parents and find out if there is a family history of things like cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.
You may even have contact with them while the birth mother is pregnant. This means that, while you may not be able to carry the child, you’ll be able to see ultrasounds or feel the baby kick.
10. Care for Foster Kids
While many people opt to adopt newborns, there are thousands of older children in the foster care system waiting for a family. They may range in age from 1 or 2 years old all the way up to teenagers.
There are many myths about raising foster kids. Perhaps the most damaging is that all foster kids have behavior problems. While some do have these problems, it’s not true for all. However, you should be prepared for an adjustment period as your foster child gets to know and trust you.
You can specify the gender and age you want for your foster child, and they will work to match you with the right child. You may opt to have a foster child (or a few foster children) stay with you for a short period of time or keep them longer.
If you’re looking to eventually adopt a foster child, some parents choose to foster a younger child. Not only will it give you the chance to watch them grow and go through milestones that you would miss by adopting an older child or teenager, but you may have an easier time connecting with a younger, more trusting child.
Alternative Ways to Have a Baby
If you and your partner have been struggling to conceive, you may begin to feel hopeless. But, don’t worry! There are many alternative ways to have a baby.
What works best for you and your parent will depend on a variety of things, such as you age, specific infertility issues, and expectations. Some of the best options include artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, and adoption.
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