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Hope for Infertility – Fertility Options on the Path to Parenthood

Hope for Infertility – Fertility Options on the Path to Parenthood

Paths to ParenthoodIn the past, an infertile couple’s only chance at having children was to adopt (which is still a great way to make a family). We live in an extraordinary time, where ever-advancing technologies and expert help can make an infertile couple’s dreams to have a baby come to fruition.

We understand that being diagnosed with infertility can be extremely overwhelming. After all of the information and testing you are given, it is easy to feel confused and uncertain of which direction to take. Lucky for you though, we are here to help you sort all that out. A large part of the work we do here at is educate our followers and clients about their best options for realizing their dreams of having a child of their own. While we wholeheartedly feel that natural fertility options should be utilized as your foundation for achieving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy, we also realize that achieving pregnancy naturally isn’t always possible for all people.

Even in circumstances we feel that natural options are best tried first, we value a “plan B”. Being open to change is being adaptable and, in the end, will leave you more satisfied and happier when working toward achieving your goals. Should you try and fail, with a “plan B” in place, you know you can fall back on that and move forward in a new direction. Without a “plan B” in place to fall back on, you may be left frustrated and confused on what your next steps could be.

The following information is designed to help you to start thinking towards your future. What are you willing to consider in order to achieve your goal of becoming a parent? There are many paths to parenthood, and not all options are for every couple, but they are there to help you, should you need assistance. Some you may already know about; others, you may not even realize were an option. The goal here is to provide you with the information you need to get started on formulating your personalized path to parenthood.

Natural Fertility Treatment Options

When it comes to natural fertility options, we’ve got you covered. Every day we are discussing natural fertility therapies to help you achieve your dreams of becoming parents. We provide extensive information on alternative and complementary methods such as dietary changes, acupuncture, and herbal remedies which can help pave your path to parenthood. We even have a private consultation program for more detailed guidance.

Sometimes all it takes is understanding more about the world around you (both the good and bad in terms of toxins/nutrients) and becoming more in tune with your own cycle. You might be surprised at how effective focusing on these simple things can be in reaching optimal health, boosting fertility, and achieving pregnancy.

For those couples who cannot achieve pregnancy naturally, we want to express the importance of utilizing natural fertility therapies as a way to prepare for upcoming parenthood, regardless of how you get there. You may be thinking, why? Well, a healthy body is more likely to respond positively to medical treatments. Thoughtful, natural preparation often tips the scales in a couple’s favor, especially when it comes to preparing for IUI, IVF, and surrogacy.

No matter what path to parenthood you take, stress levels are likely to become elevated. There are important steps you can have in place to help you prepare your body and mind for becoming a parent. It is also important to have healthy dietary habits in place prior to becoming a parent, so you can pass these good habits on to your child/ren. Good dietary and lifestyle habits will help ensure your child has a healthy life.

Medical Fertility Treatment Options

As committed as we are to natural health remedies, we are the first to recognize that for some infertile couples – there is a need for integrative medical treatments as well. Western medicine has a plethora of options available to those who need a little assistance in trying to conceive. Starting with medicated cycles that will assist in ovulation, and going all the way to In Vitro Fertilization (where eggs are combined with sperm in a lab and healthy embryos are then transferred directly to your uterus), there are medical interventions which can typically improve your chances of conception a great deal. Once the root cause of your infertility is understood, a reproductive endocrinologist can discuss the best treatment options for your particular situation.

Egg and Sperm Donation

Over the last 30 years, sperm and egg donation has become a viable option for those who are unable to contribute these biological materials on their own. For some, past illnesses or medical treatments may have rendered one or both partners sterile, and for others, life circumstances – such as being single or in a homosexual relationship – may mean that only one half of the genetic equation is available. In these circumstances, sperm and egg donation can help to create the child that otherwise would not have been able to exist for an infertile couple.

There are several sperm banks throughout the country, with most shipping purchased vials of sperm directly to your clinic location. These banks offer hundreds to thousands of options in terms of choosing a donor. Should you choose to use a sperm donor for your conception efforts, your clinic can put you into contact with the banks and you will be granted access to browse their donor profiles. These profiles typically include information about a donor’s interests, hobbies, and physical characteristics. Baby pictures are sometimes also available, and you have the option of seeking out “Open ID” donors: those donors willing to have contact at some point in the future should your child decide they want to know who their biological donor was.

The process of using an egg donor is slightly different, in that more information is typically available and the cost can be a great deal more expensive than purchasing sperm. This is because the procedure for extracting eggs is fairly invasive, and donors are required to inject themselves with hormones in the month leading up to the egg extraction. There are donor agencies throughout the country that will grant you access to their donor profiles, which are typically more in-depth than sperm donor profiles and often include recent photos. With egg donation, donors usually wait to begin their donor cycle until after being selected, so that a fresh egg IVF cycle can be completed with either you or a surrogate. If you are the one who will be carrying the baby, you will often be on a hormone regimen of your own at the same time as your donor.

Sperm and egg donation are typically done on an anonymous basis, with no face-to-face contact and all communications taking place either through the bank or agency.

Embryo Donation

There are two types of embryo donation options. With the first option, embryos are donated from couples who have completed past IVF, and now have surplus embryos; this is referred to as “embryo adoption”. The second option, sometimes referred to as “double donor” embryo donation, utilizes embryos created from two separate anonymous donors; one sperm donor and one egg donor.

Embryo donation scenarios can have varying levels of openness, with complete anonymity in some cases, and regular contact in others. For an infertile couple, this option provides the ability to still carry a child for those who are willing to forgo the genetic link.

There are many legal and psychological aspects to be considered in this type of conception. Fertility clinics providing this service often require and offer services to educate couples in these areas prior to going through their program.

Surplus Embryos
When couples have remaining embryos after completing their own IVF cycles, they have three options for how to proceed with those embryos. They can either:

    1. Save them for future cycles.
    2. Destroy them.
    3. Donate them to other infertile couples.

Most clinics have a waiting list for donated embryos, and unlike donated eggs or sperm – there can be no money exchanging hands for these donations. Studies show that couples who used a screened donor (egg or sperm or both) are more likely to donate their surplus of embryos.

“Double Donor”
Not as well-known as the first type of embryo donation discussed, this type of donation allows infertile couples to choose an embryo created from two separate, anonymous donors. Couples can specify specific criteria for their choice of donors, such as age, ethnicity, religion, physical description, health history and geography. This type of embryo donation is much easier and requires less wait time finding a match.


Under certain circumstances, it is not safe or possible for a woman (or either partner in the relationship) to carry a baby. When this is the case, surrogacy can still provide the possibility of a genetic child and the ability to feel invested in the pregnancy from beginning to end for an infertile couple. Surrogates agree to carry a child for the duration of the pregnancy, allowing you to attend doctor’s appointments and abiding by your rules in terms how you would like the pregnancy to be maintained. This can offer infertile couples some level of the control they have lost, while still providing the opportunity for that genetic connection. Surrogacy agreements are typically fairly pricey, and it can be important to have a lawyer involved to ensure that all parties are protected. But when having a genetic link to your child is important, this can be a viable option for creating the family that may otherwise seem impossible to build.


For some individuals and infertile couples, the goal is simply to have a child, and the genetic connection feels minor in the pursuit of that goal. In those cases, adoption can often provide the road to family building that you have been seeking. There are several options in terms of adoption, including foster care adoption, domestic adoption, private adoption and international adoption. While many people hope to adopt infants from birth, there are also thousands of older children currently in our foster care system looking to find the right home, for those willing to open their hearts to less traditional adoptions. Barriers to adoption can sometimes feel difficult to overcome, including steep expenses and the fear of a birth family changing their mind after placement, but no two adoption scenarios are the same and there are usually accessible options available for every family hoping to pursue this path to parenthood.

Closing Thoughts

No matter which path to parenthood you decide on, natural fertility treatment options will be a healthy foundation for pregnancy preparation and beyond. Not only will natural fertility treatments increase your chances of success, they will help you to build life-long positive health habits such as improved diet choices, stress reduction techniques and alternative medicine choices for daily health maintenance.

We are here for you no matter what direction your path leads. Contact us for further guidance, should you find you need support.


Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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