Infertility is more common than you think. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), about 11% of the reproductive age population is affected by infertility. That’s 6.7 million women in the United States. Luckily, infertility isn’t the end; there are alternative methods, medications, and procedures that can be utilized to build a family.
In vitro fertilization, also known as IVF, is a process where a woman’s eggs are removed from her ovaries and combined with her partner’s or donated sperm in a lab to create an embryo. The embryo is then transferred to the woman’s uterus. Women using IVF are asked to use a drug called Gonadotropin, which stimulates the production of a woman’s eggs. This drug may have side effects which include headaches, mood swings, swellings, and rashes. IVF costs upwards of $12,000.
ICSI is a supplementary procedure to IVF treatment, designed to assist male fertilization. In ICSI, a single sperm is drawn from the male’s testicle via a microscopic needle. The sperm is injected into a single egg to create an embryo, which is then transferred to the woman’s uterus. This procedure adds about $1,500 to the IVF procedure for a total cost of approximately $13,500.
With similar IVF technology, a woman can use an egg or embryo donated from another woman. Women using another person’s egg or embryo need to take medication to prepare the uterus for conception. While some women fear they will experience a feeling of detachment having a child not genetically related to them, it still gives them the opportunity to carry and give birth to the baby. A fresh donor egg IVF cycle can cost approximately $20,000 to $30,000, while using a frozen embryo from a bank generally ranges from $5,000 to $9,000.
IUI involves the use of a catheter that transfers sperm (from a donor or the intended parent) into a woman’s uterus. This procedure may involve the use of fertility drugs like Gonadotropin and clomiphene (a drug to treat infertility by inducing ovulation), and may result in Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, or OHSS. Though IUI is among the cheaper alternatives to pregnancy, it has a markedly low success rate of about 4-5% without fertility drugs.
Sometimes the main cause of infertility is biological, and can be solved through surgery. One operation, called a laparoscopy, uses a fiber optic camera to view a woman’s abdomen and make small incisions to diagnose any hidden defects such as scar tissue, endometriosis, fibroid tumors, and other issues with the reproductive system. A laparotomy is a similar procedure, although the incisions are much larger and are made to gain access to the abdominal cavity. These incisions will help a doctor determine any hidden problems within the reproductive area. Other surgical procedures may open up blocked fallopian tubes or treat specific conditions (such as polycystic ovarian syndrome). This can cost anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000.
With growing public acceptance and rapidly developing technology, surrogacy is quickly becoming the go-to alternative for creating a family. In gestational surrogacy, the intended parents contract with a gestational carrier, or a surrogate, to carry the baby. The embryo is created from one or both of the intended parents, or from donated sperm or eggs. Keep in mind, surrogacy requires a significant financial commitment, and requires a great deal of trust in the surrogate to carry the baby to term. Make sure you do your research and consult with ConceiveAbilities when considering surrogacy.
As modern family advocates, we believe surrogacy is an ideal form of alternative reproduction. Not only does surrogacy allow for previously infertile parents to have their own genetically related offspring, but it also has a proven track record and far higher success rates compared to egg freezing, adoption, and other pregnancy alternatives. Above all, surrogacy creates unique bonds between the surrogate and the parents that can last a lifetime.
To find out how surrogacy can help you, check out our page on the official ConceiveAbilities website.
To learn more about the pros and cons of surrogacy from a parent's perspective, be sure to read this blog post.
To apply for a surrogacy match, click on this registration link.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.