Infertility is not something we usually think about having to face until we have to face it. Unfortunately, the rate of infertility among Australian couples is quite high and it can be devastating for many couples to find they are unable to conceive a child naturally.
If you and your partner are having trouble conceiving, you may be surprised, and comforted, to know that you aren’t alone.
According to the National Infertility Survey, one in six couples fail to conceive after a year of trying. So, for those who can’t fall pregnant naturally, what are the options available?
Natural infertility treatments
Couples coming to realise that getting pregnant isn’t as easy for them as it is for many others often turn to natural infertility treatments as a first option. Natural treatments can include chiropractic options, acupuncture, Chinese herbs and traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy and naturopathy. A wide range of natural infertility treatments have been shown to be effective in many cases and this is often the least stressful, least invasive and least expensive option for lots couples struggling to conceive naturally. Natural treatments tend to focus on getting the whole body well and in sync.
Assisted reproductive technology (ART)
Most often referred to as IVF (in vitro fertilisation), ART covers a whole range of medically-based reproductive treatments, which include IVF. Other ART treatment options available to couples include ICSI (intracytomplasmic sperm injection), IUI (intrauterine insemination) and egg or sperm donation. The type of treatment undertaken depends on a couple’s specific circumstances. ART treatments are relatively complex, invasive and expensive and it can be a stressful and lengthy process. In general, success rates for ART procedures range around 30 to 50 per cent.
Couples choose to adopt for many reasons. Some choose adoption over ART procedures, while others turn to adoption as a last hope when all other treatments have failed. Couples have the choice of adopting locally, referring to a child born in Australia, or to adopt a child from overseas. During 2010–2011 there were a total of 384 adoptions in Australia. Interestingly, more than half of these adoptions were from overseas. The three most popular countries Australian couples adopted from during this period were China, the Philippines and Taiwan. Adoption can be a very lengthy and expensive process, but also very rewarding. However, not all couples feel that adopting a child is the right option for them.