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If your reaction to having a difficult time getting pregnant is ‘why did we wait?’ — join the club

URA Physicians

The Waiting Game

First-time parents-to-be: Our apartment’s too small. We haven’t traveled. We haven’t saved enough money. None of our friends have started a family. I’m up for a promotion. We haven’t had enough time to just “be us.”

Second-time parents: We’ll have two in diapers. I’m still exhausted from the first one. Let’s space them out so we only have one in college at a time. We still haven’t traveled. We’re going to have to move — again.

A sage (who undoubtedly had children) once said, “if you wait until you feel completely ready to become a parent, you’ll never have kids.” Deciding to take that leap together is a life-changing decision that stirs up emotions, ranging from doubt What if I’m not good at this? — to superhero confidence  — We’re gonna be awesome parents! And for those couples who already have a child, it’s sometimes as basic as What if we can’t handle two?

Of all the considerations for finding “the perfect time,” few couples imagine that they will have a difficult time conceiving. Why should they? They’re healthy and in their prime. So, when they don’t get pregnant right away, panic sets in. Intense, overwhelming, debilitating panic. For heterosexual couples, the doubts become all-consuming What if I can’t do this? added to feelings of inadequacy What’s wrong with me? Same-sex female couples may struggle over who gets to carry the child Am I really a mom if the baby doesn’t come from my body? Two men wanting to be dads may not agree on the right surrogate Are we sure that she’s the one?

Even though couples’ circumstances are all different, facing the frustration of being unable to conceive leaves everyone feeling isolated and a bit lost. TV is chock full of happy families doing fun things — that’s why they call them sitcoms. And what you see on Instagram and Facebook feeds are carefully curated snapshots of joy — no one is sharing the fact that they’re infertile.

You are not alone.

Here are the facts. One-third of U.S. adults say they have either used some type of fertility treatment or know someone else who has. Over the past 25 years, more than 1 million U.S. babies have been born with the help of fertility procedures. To date, more than eight million children have been born through in-vitro fertilization (IVF). In 2019 alone, 2.1% of all infants born in the U.S. were conceived with the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART). And that doesn’t include the many other reproductive procedures and medications that are available.

Welcome to Personalized Fertility Medicine

These statistics are dizzying, but they don’t represent you, because you are not a number. Every situation is unique, including that of you and your partner. What you need is a path to fertility that is specifically designed for your personal needs and challenges.

Personalized fertility medicine is the unique approach that sets University Reproductive Associates (URA) apart. Many clinics and hospitals push IVF (in-vitro fertilization) on all patients, often garnering them a reputation for being “IVF mills.” URA carefully evaluates the patient’s health history, as well as their partner’s, in order to ascertain the specific cause of their infertility. Then they map out a plan that is personalized to work the best for each couple’s circumstances because they recognize that fertility treatment is not one-size-fits-all.

Your initial telemedicine appointment is a chance for URA to learn about family medical history, you and your partner’s health history, and your firsthand experiences of how you’ve been attempting to conceive. This is followed up with thorough examinations at one of URA’s three NJ offices. Then, together, you and your physician can choose the course that is right for you. At URA, more than half of pregnancies over the past two years have been the result of treatments other than IVF, including intrauterine insemination (IUI), medical treatments, and surgical procedures.

When should we start considering fertility treatment?

The recommendation for women under the age of 35, is to try for a year on your own. For women over 35, the suggested wait time is reduced to six months. With the help of a fertility specialist, plenty of women even in their 40s have been able to get pregnant.

What about the LGBTQIA+ community?

Fertility treatment for same-sex male couples typically involves the use of donor eggs as well as a separate gestational carrier, or surrogate to carry the pregnancy. Depending on which partner’s sperm will be used to inseminate the eggs, one or both men will undergo semen analysis. Your URA physician will assist in selecting a suitable egg donor, either through a donor agency (“fresh egg donor”) or through a donor egg bank (“frozen egg donor”). URA will then help the couple connect with agencies to find a gestational carrier.

Fertility treatment for same-sex female couples starts with deciding which partner will carry the pregnancy. She will undergo basic blood work and ultrasound to assess her ovarian reserve, followed by a hysterosalpingogram (dye test) to make sure the fallopian tubes are open. If all testing is normal, the next step typically is the selection of a sperm donor by the couple. We then proceed with intrauterine insemination (IUI), a technique that utilizes a small catheter at the time of ovulation to place the sperm directly into the uterus.  Alternatively, IVF is also an option for these couples. Under certain circumstances, the couple may decide that one partner will provide the egg while the other partner will carry the pregnancy.

Conceiving the Future, 365 Days a Year

URA never closes — not even on national holidays. From IVF to egg freezing to third-party reproduction (donor gametes and gestational carriers), URA’s board-certified OB/GYN and fertility specialist team is available to provide a personalized treatment approach based on your needs and goals. It all starts with a conversation. Call us at 201.288.6330 to set up an initial telemedicine consult. Let’s start conceiving the future together.

Author
University Reproductive Associates

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