Listen Up to Your Family Building Options


This week is National Infertility Awareness Week and we at Progyny are excited to remind those who have been diagnosed with infertility issues that there are many ways to become a parent.

This year’s NIAW theme is “Listen Up!” and given that infertility issues affect 7.4 million women, this is a terrific week to raise your own awareness and listen up to all of the options you have available to you. They are:

Artificial Insemination: A doctor inserts sperm directly into a woman’s cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus. The most common method is called “intrauterine insemination (IUI),” when a doctor places the sperm in the uterus.

In Vitro fertilization (IVF): In Vitro Fertilization is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) commonly referred to as IVF. IVF is the process of fertilization by retrieving eggs, attaining a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus.

IVF plus Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD): The IVF process and PGD involves removing a cell from an IVF embryo to test it for a specific genetic condition (cystic fibrosis, for example) before transferring the embryo to the uterus.

IVF plus Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS): The IVF process and PGS tests for the overall chromosomal normalcy in embryos. PGS is not looking for a specific disease diagnosis – it is screening the embryo for normal chromosome copy number.

Donor eggs: Egg donation are eggs (oocytes) provided from a woman who has healthy eggs to make pregnancy possible for women who might not otherwise be able to get pregnant using their own eggs.

Donor sperm: Donor sperm can be used when the husband/partner has no sperm, a very poor semen analysis, or when there may be a genetic concern which could be inherited from the male. Single women or lesbian couples can also use donor sperm as an option.

Reciprocal IVF: This is an option for lesbian partners in which one partner provides the eggs and the other partner carries the pregnancy.

Freeze All Cycles: In a traditional in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle, eggs are fertilized the day of the egg retrieval and the fertilized eggs (embryos) grow in the laboratory until the best quality embryos are transferred three or five days after the egg retrieval.  This is referred to as a “fresh” transfer. A “freeze all” is when the good quality embryos that are produced are frozen using vitrification and stored until they are transferred at a later time.

Frozen Embryo Transfer: The thawing and transfer of a previously frozen embryo.

Adoption: There are three different kinds of adoption: international, domestic and foster.

Surrogacy: Surrogacy is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for the couple who want to have a child. Usually this is done with one woman being the gestational carrier and a separate woman providing the egg.

Egg Freezing: This is when a woman’s eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen using vitrification, and stored. In the future, the eggs can be thawed, fertilized, and transferred to the uterus as embryos.

Of course, it’s up to you, your partner, and/or your doctor to decide what is the best course of action and what you feel comfortable with. It can also be a challenge to pursue any of these pathways if you can’t afford them and/or if you do not have coverage through your employer.

Since this is National Infertility Awareness Week, if you found this blog helpful and informative, help us spread awareness and share with your friends, family, and coworkers!