Unintentionally childless – what now?
Have you been wanting a child for a long time and the blessing of children just doesn’t want to happen? Then you have probably already contacted your doctor and had the organic causes clarified. Ninety percent of all couples who do not want to have children have physical reasons for not having children. A shock, which of course does not make the desire to have children any less. Families are the cornerstone of our society, so it’s no wonder we all want to experience this wonderful interplay of generations. Unfortunately, when nature does not allow a couple to do this, then modern medicine comes into play. Carrying and giving birth to your own child using artificial insemination is an alternative to adoption or foster parenting.
How does in vitro fertilization work?
In artificial insemination, the fertilization of the egg does not necessarily take place outside the body. It only means that sexual intercourse between the partners is absent in the process. By means of intrauterine insemination, sperm can also be brought into the uterus during the woman’s fertile days with the help of an injection. Ultimately, this is also always a medical intervention in the human body. If the sperm quality is not sufficient for fertilization to be possible in the woman’s body, science helps and carries this out outside in the laboratory. To create the basis for this, hormonal stimulation of the ovaries is often initiated in advance to allow several eggs to mature at once. Since the female body normally only provides one egg per cycle, only one fertilized egg could be implanted at a later time, thus reducing the likelihood of pregnancy. The eggs are removed from the woman after stimulation. When this procedure is performed, doctors refer to it as in vitro fertilization. In Vitro (“in the glass”) fertilization of the egg cell thus occurs on a special culture medium. Either the sperm previously obtained through a sperm donation can fertilize the egg on its own, or the doctors perform this in an intracytoplasmic injection (ICSI). This is especially the case when the sperm are severely limited in their motility. If the sperm cannot be obtained by masturbation, puncture of the epididymis by the doctor is also possible. If the cells are finally fertilized, they are inserted into the woman’s uterus after about forty to fifty hours, and a two-week period of anxiety and waiting begins for the expectant parents. However, usually only several treatments lead to success. The chance of giving birth to a child after artificial insemination is only about 30 percent. Couples are only too happy to accept this risk, even though it is an enormous psychological burden to have to endure multiple setbacks. Success therefore also depends on personal circumstances, i.e. the cause of the infertility, the type of artificial insemination and irrefutably also the age.
The permissive parenting style – parenting with little control
IvF is not that easy!
In addition to the physical and mental stresses, there are also legal hurdles to overcome. For example, only married couples are allowed to undergo artificial insemination. The egg cell must also come from the mother herself; egg cell donations are legal in the USA or Spain. Sperm donation, on the other hand, is possible, but never anonymous. This is because it is enshrined in the Basic Law that everyone has the right to know their parentage. If the sperm comes from the spouse, it is a so-called homologous insemination. If an outsider was the donor, it is called heterologous or donogenic insemination. So, for example, if lesbian couples living in a rainbow family want a child from an anonymous donor, they have to go abroad. Furthermore, regulations state that both parents must be HIV-negative, and the minimum age of the parents is 25. In turn, the maximum age must not exceed forty for the mother and fifty for the sperm donor. Rubella protection of the expectant mother is obligatory. If these conditions are also met and there is a serious possibility of pregnancy, the statutory health insurance will pay half the costs for up to three attempts. Even then, it is still an enormous financial outlay to have artificial insemination performed. Not all couples can afford these funds to fulfill their desire to have a child.
In addition, the Embryo Protection Act prohibits the implantation of more than three fertilized eggs at a time. This is because the risk for mother and child increases rapidly with multiple births. It is also not permitted to use preimplantation techniques to determine in advance whether any genetic defects are present. And last but not least, eggs that have already been split may not be frozen.
Despite all the difficulties, about two percent of all newborns are the result of artificial insemination. This gives hope to many couples. At a time when our society is aging, it is desirable that health insurance companies or the state recognize the opportunity to provide for offspring in our ranks in this way as well and to once again fully cover the costs of artificial insemination. After all, today’s children are also tomorrow’s parents.
[Please note: Our items cannot replace the advice of a doctor. If you have health problems, please always consult a doctor you trust!]