The concept of egg donation is novel to many. For most women over 40, it is difficult to conceive. Some undergo infertility treatments with their own eggs but these days, many conceive through the use of an egg donor. Since it is a private matter, most women do not share the struggles of conception, making it a taboo subject. The invention of egg donation as a procedure was revolutionary in terms of helping couples, who for varying reasons would never have had the ability to create a family. Technology will continue to advance, creating new options for families looking for solutions. But in the meantime, we can all help by staying informed and sharing each others' stories in hopes that one day, fertility troubles will be an issue of the past.
Despite the fact that one in six couples in North America has difficulty conceiving, infertility is still something with a lot of stigma attached to it. Few people openly discuss their fertility struggles, and many people experience shame. As an infertility counsellor, I see many women whose identity, body image, and self-esteem erode as they struggle to conceive while, seemingly, everyone else gets pregnant with ease around them.
Once ovulation is over, pregnancy is not possible. Ovulation, when an egg drops from the ovary into the fallopian tubes, occurs once a month roughly 7-10 days prior to a woman's period. To become pregnant, a sperm must meet the egg during this 24-48 hour timeframe. Couples should have sex prior to and during ovulation as sperm can survive in the reproductive tract for 72 hours.
When I finally got married at 37, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get pregnant. But it happened in a flash on our honeymoon and we had a son. I was one of my only friends who openly wanted a second child. So began the trying; a summer of love. Which then turned into a fall of resentment. Now my sister and I are in the waiting cubicle of an IVF suite in downtown Toronto.
Are you and your partner having difficulty conceiving? Do you feel like she isn't the same woman you married? Does she seem obsessed? Emotionally fragile? Always sad? Angry? As an infertility counsellor, one of the things I find myself doing most often with heterosexual couples is reassuring both husbands and their wives that her extreme reaction to infertility is norm.
There is a fantasy surrounding pregnancy portraying it as a blissful state when women glow with health and the miracle of life. Yet, when a woman has experienced miscarriage and/or infertility, a pregnancy can be filled with fear and anxiety. We are not women who will ever experience that radiance that is supposed to accompany pregnancy.
There is nothing less romantic or erotic than getting busy with the end goal of producing something that wears poopy diapers. "Trying" is really, well, trying. Anyone who thinks it's "the fun part" has never had to turn it into work -- relentless, scheduled, no-matter-how-tired-you-are, get-up-at-5:30a.m.-before-you-go-to-work, work -- which is then charted on graph according to basal body temperature.
As an infertility counsellor, I see a lot of clients who are using third-party family building strategies. This includes using sperm or egg donation and/or a gestational carrier. One of the many concerns these individuals have about family building using these methods is what they will tell their child.
As barriers to adoption increase, egg donation is becoming a more popular option for couples who are unable to use their own eggs. Because it is illegal to pay for eggs in Canada, it is often difficult for a woman to find a donor, so they head to the U.S. Many of the egg banks do not yet offer open ID donor programs and this causes a bit of an ethical dilemma. Should these individuals, desperate for a child, and without other options, not proceed with what is often the most accessible and affordable means of getting a donated egg because their hypothetical child may want to know the identity of his or her biological mother?
It's no secret that women today are waiting longer to have children. This naturally decreases the opportunity for spontaneous pregnancy, especially for women in their mid- to late-thirties, leaving many couples seeking treatment for infertility. Fortunately, there are viable, safe, and effective natural options to support and boost your fertility.