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What's Next If I Can't Get Pregnant?

Photograph by Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

Roughly 6.7 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States struggle with infertility issues, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you've charted, calculated, tested and tried, tried, tried to no avail, you're likely wondering, "What happens next?" While there's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, you have options that range from medical intervention to adoption.

Baby Steps

The first step, if you haven't already done so, is to seek medical advice. Most couples won't receive an actual infertility diagnosis until they have been trying to conceive for at least a year, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Discuss your options with your doctor, who will need to examine you, test your hormone levels and test your husband as well. After conducting a full medical workup for both of you, your doctor will create a treatment plan that is medically sound.

Non-Invasive Measures

If you're not ready to get poked and prodded just yet, your doctor may suggest that you start with the least invasive medical intervention. Fertility drugs offer an option to women who with a diagnosed hormonal imbalance, according to the website Baby Center. Commonly used fertility drugs that your doctor may prescribe include clomiphene, human menopausal gonadotropin, follicle-stimulating hormone, metformin and bromocriptine, according to Womenshealth.gov. The drug that your doctor prescribes will depend on the reason for your infertility. Clomiphene stimulates ovulation in women who don't ovulate or have polycystic ovarian syndrome, while metformin is used by women who have high levels of male hormones. Only your doctor can prescribe a drug therapy.

An Invasive Alternative

If the problem is the lack of healthy sperm, drug therapies haven't worked or you have a blocked fallopian tube, another an option is in vitro fertilization, a procedure in which a doctor surgically removes your eggs, mixes them with sperm and inserts the fertilized eggs directly into the uterus. You may also need to use a donor egg or donor sperm, depending on your medical diagnosis, to have the best chances of getting pregnant. The success of an assisted reproductive technology procedure depends on many factors, such as your age, your husband's age and whether the fertilized eggs—or embryos—are fresh or frozen. Younger women typically have a higher likelihood of conceiving through this process.

Adoption Route

Whether you aren't having success with a medical approach or you simply don't want to go in that direction, adoption is an option for many women who can't get pregnant. Each state has its own procedures and policies, according to the U.S. Administration for Children and Families. Options include adopting from the foster care system, a domestic infant adoption or an international adoption. You and your spouse or partner must undergo an in-depth assessment, called a "home study." The adoption process may take years to complete and often includes emotional ups and downs.

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