Alternative Routes to Parenthood

I sometimes think about when I was a little girl, and hearing my mother and aunts talking about some poor woman. “Isn’t it ashamed….”. There really was nothing anyone could do except, if they were lucky, adopt (sadly, that’s not much of an option these days except for international adoptions–and they’re so terribly expensive), or just adapt to the fact that they would be childless. And, it was always seen as the woman’s problem. No one realized that male factor problems even existed.

Now at least we have options. While they’re expensive, at least we have them.  Additionally, for many, it’s really the hope and dream of becoming pregnant, carrying that precious baby, and then giving birth.  If that is your dream, don’t give up on it.  That dream has become a reality for many of us over 45, over 50, and a very few in their 60’s.

Of course, there’s the old fashioned way.  But for many over the age of 45, and sadly many under that age as well, that way doesn’t work as well as we’d all like.   Fortunately, there are safe and effective infertility treatments.  IVF with one’s own eggs has little improvement in rate.  DE/IVF has changed the game for older mothers.  The rate of success is more related to the age of the donor than other factors.  It takes some getting used to, giving up on the direct genetic link to the child, but in many ways it’s a great option.  If you think about your family genetics, are there some things like heart disease and cancer risk you’d like to improve on.  Then there’s epigenetics.

You need to read a bit about epigenetics to understand–the woman who carries the fetus–her body is the “environment” for that growing fetus.  It has an effect on which genes are turned off and on.  In fact, the child born from a husband’s sperm and a donor egg and carried by you would be a completely different child than if the donor had carried it.  Then there’s the environment you provide after birth……

Hopefully, by the time our children grow up, this will all be a normal part of everyday healthcare.