Pregnancy: Tips for Trying to Conceive

Quick GuideBoost Your Fertility: Ovulation Calculator, Pregnancy Planning and More

Boost Your Fertility: Ovulation Calculator, Pregnancy Planning and More

What is the treatment for infertility?

If you are having fertility issues, your doctor can refer you to a fertility specialist, a doctor who treats infertility. The doctor will need to test both you and your partner to find out what the problem is. Depending on the problem, your doctor might recommend treatment. About 9 in 10 cases of infertility are treated with drugs or surgery. Don't delay seeing your doctor as age also affects the success rates of these treatments. For some couples, adoption or foster care offers a way to share their love with a child and to build a family.

Some treatments include:

Drugs: Various fertility drugs may be used for women with ovulation problems. It is important to talk with your doctor about the drug to be used. You should understand the drug's benefits and side effects. Depending on the type of fertility drug and the dosage of the drug used, multiple births (such as twins) can occur.

Surgery: Surgery is done to repair damage to a woman's ovaries, fallopian tubes, or uterus. Sometimes a man has an infertility problem that can be corrected by surgery.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI, artificial insemination): Male sperm is injected into part of the woman's reproductive tract, such as into the uterus or fallopian tube. IUI often is used along with drugs that cause a woman to ovulate.

Assisted reproductive technology (ART): ART involves stimulating a woman's ovaries; removing eggs from her body; mixing them with sperm in the laboratory; and putting the embryos back into a woman's body. Success rates of ART vary and depend on many factors.

Third party assistance: Options include donor eggs (eggs from another woman are used), donor sperm (sperm from another man are used), or surrogacy (when another woman carries a baby for you).

Finding the cause of infertility is often a long, complex, and emotional process. And treatment can be expensive. Many health insurance companies do not provide coverage for infertility or provide only limited coverage. Check your health insurance contract carefully to learn about what is covered. Some states have laws that mandate health insurance policies to provide infertility coverage.

What other options are available if a couple can't conceive?

Adoption

If infertility is a problem for you, another option may be adoption. Adopting a baby or child can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. So many babies, children, and adolescents in the United States and around the world need a family. Some of these are healthy infants, and many are children with special needs, including physical, emotional, or mental disabilities. If you do adopt a child with special needs, there are both federal and state sources of financial assistance available to help you afford the child's care.

There are two types of adoptions:

  1. Open adoption: The birth mother, and possibly the birth father, know something about the adoptive parents. They might even meet and exchange names or addresses.
  2. Closed adoption: The birth mother and adoptive parents do not meet each other or know each others' names.

The laws of each state differ on whether, after a period of time, the files of a closed adoption can be opened later to reveal this information. State laws also differ on whether adoptions can be handled by an adoption agency or independently (such as through a doctor, lawyer, counselor or independent organization). Most adoption agencies carefully screen and study the adoptive parents. You can learn more about adoption through the resources at the end of this section.

Foster care

Another option for couples who have a lot of love to share with a child is foster care. Unlike adoption, foster care is a temporary service that responds to crises in the lives of children and families. But it also can be the first step to adopting a child. Many foster children have been abused or neglected, or removed by a court order. Foster families are people who take these children into their homes to provide day-to-day care and nurturing. Children in foster care may live with unrelated foster parents, with relatives, with families who plan to adopt them, or in group homes or residential treatment centers. Even though foster care is viewed as a temporary service, many children have to stay in foster care for long periods of time.

Each child in foster care should have a plan that will let him or her grow up in a permanent family. For many children, the plan is to return to the birth parents. In these cases, foster families may work with the birth parents and the child to help them both learn the skills they need to live together again. Foster parents need to be able to love the children who live in their home, and let go of them when it is time to send them back to their parents. For other children, going back to their parents will not be possible, and the foster parents may become adoptive parents. Or they can keep other kinds of formal or informal ties with the children they parent.

Every state has its own rules about foster parenting. But, the chances are good that you can be a foster parent in your state. There are many more children in need of care than there are foster parents available. To fill this gap, states are looking for people who want to help children and can share their time and their homes. States also give foster parents many different forms of support, like training and financial assistance.

Counseling and support groups for help

If you've been having problems getting pregnant, you know how frustrating it can feel. Not being able to get pregnant can be one of the most stressful experiences a couple has. Both counseling and support groups can help you and your partner talk about your feelings and help you meet other couples struggling with the same issues. You will learn that anger, grief, blame, guilt, and depression are all normal. Couples do survive infertility, and can become closer and stronger in the process. Ask your doctor for the names of counselors or therapists with an interest in fertility.

SOURCE: Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Trying to conceive." Updated: Feb 01, 2017.
<https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-get-pregnant/trying-conceive>

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/30/2017

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