As we advocate inclusivity and destigma in reproductive health care, it is important that we normalize the many ways that people may or may not become parents.
Conception is a tricky word that can evoke so many emotions, questions, and stories. Conception is the beginning of a new person, and the way people get there is becoming more accessible. We’re here to discuss the many road concept trips.
The old fashioned way
I am sure you know what that looks like. A tried and tested method is the penis in the vagina. If the timing is right and the stars are aligned, you may get pregnant while pregnant ovulation when you have sex.
For heterosexual couples with cis sex, estimated 84% will successfully conceive through sexual intercourse within the first year of trying without contraception.
That percentage decreases with age as someone nears menopause, but there are numerous other reasons someone can have Difficulty receiving from stress to a disorder like Endometriosis.
How someone approaches fertility problems is their own choice. Some may take a more holistic approach using tools like acupuncture and functional medicine. Or through integration into other pharmaceutical methods.
If someone has signs of infertility or has difficulty conceiving, they may choose to use it medical assistance such as fertility drugs or surgery that can correct any conditions that can lead to infertility. This may include procedures to repair scars or blockages in the fallopian tubes, remove cysts caused by endometriosis, or remove fibroids.
For men and people with penises, there are procedures that can clear blockages that may prevent sperm from being released.
As we advocate greater inclusion in reproductive health, we must acknowledge that not all couples who seek to reproduce have a penis and a vagina. Regardless of the gender configuration of potential parents, they should have access to and understanding of the decisions they make about procreation.
With that in mind, not everyone who wants to have a baby has a partner. That’s cool too! Singles should also have access to and education on the same services that couples provide when they are planning to have a baby.
We are all in favor of expanding the ways families can look.
What about IVF?
When it comes to fertility treatments, the first thing most people think of is IVF or in vitro fertilization.
Depending on the dynamics of the couple or the person trying to conceive, IVF is often viewed as a last resort. Not only is it expensive, but the process can be lengthy and involves the use of fertility medications, which can be physically demanding.
Scientific advances are sure to be incredible! The in vitro process means fertilizing the egg outside of the body and then implanting it either in the gestational parent or a surrogate.
Here’s what it looks like: After fertility tests, the pregnancy parent takes fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries to release multiple eggs. Then, during ovulation, they will have a small operation called a surgery follicular aspiration to get said eggs. Donor eggs can be used if necessary. These eggs are then fertilized with sperm and implanted back into the womb, where they will hopefully develop and grow successfully.
A report of 2017 Fertility Clinic Success Rates from the US Center for Disease Controlfound that out of 284,385 * Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) cycles performed in 448 clinics in the United States, 68,908 resulted in live births.
Again, one of the biggest deterrents to IVF is price. A single cycle costs an average of $ 15,000 without the help of insurance. Given that it is often done after other less expensive measures and can take multiple cycles, the price can increase dramatically, as can the emotional burden.
Unfortunately, that price tag makes IVF inaccessible to many people, but it’s not the only option.
Let’s talk about IUI
Another cheaper option is IUI or intrauterine fertilization.
IUI is usually a much simpler procedure than IVF and can be done with or without the use of fertility drugs.
People would turn to IUI when they cannot or do not want to have sex with a male partner, or when their male partner is suffering from infertility. It can be used as a stepping stone before resorting to IVF but after other fertility enhancement measures have been used, whether holistic or pharmaceutical.
Many queer parents use IUI as a means of conception by using donor sperm.
A single cycle is a much cheaper option than IVF and costs around $ 1,000.
Another benefit of IUI is that it doesn’t have to be done in the harsh hospital environment. Many midwives offer IUI as part of their services, and they may even be able to do it from the comfort of their own home. Make the whole experience so much more intimate.
There are options
Focusing on inclusivity means talking about all possible options. Not everyone on the road to parenting becomes pregnant.
Conceiving is not just about getting pregnant. It is the beginning of a new phase of life, no matter what it looks like. For some people and partners, their trip involves promoting parenting, adoption, or even the use of a surrogate.
No matter what your conception journey is, you deserve your community’s love and support and the tools you need to become the parents you are meant to be.