Single by choice or by circumstances, it should never stop women from experiencing motherhood. As ART has been transforming the way human reproduction process takes place, it has brought a new ray of hope to a number of women and childless couples.
Picture a smart, independent woman in her mid-to-late 30s, professionally successful, who hasn’t come across the perfect guy yet but wants to have a family with healthy kids she can love. For a woman who wants to take the future into her hands, and act decisively towards achieving her goal of motherhood, ART has been able to successfully provide her with the “choice” to be single and unapologetic.
“ART has been more than just a treatment option, but a source of empowerment to single women, whether they want to become a parent now or choose to wait till they are completely ready, women are now devoid of any societal constraints to get married or have children before the biological clock ticks out, “says Dr Gautam Allahbadia, an IVF consultant in Mumbai and head of the Millennium Medical Centre (MMC) IVF Dubai.
What are the different fertility treatment options for single women?
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is an out-patient procedure, in which the sperm is placed in a woman’s uterus while she is ovulating using a catheter. “The treatment is stacked right on top of the patient’s regular cycle,” Dr. Doyle says, adding “They should be able to have one try each month. The treatment begins within the first few days of your menstrual cycle with a baseline pregnancy test and ultrasound.”
In-vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Dr Gautam Allahbadia talks about how IVF helps older single women conceive through sperm donation via Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGTA). “IVF has helped single women conceive when they think is it right to have a baby,” he says. As women age, so do their eggs and along with ageing the eggs have chromosomal abnormalities. In older single women above the age of 38-39, PGTA is now used as a tool to screen normal embryos.
Treating hundreds of patients over his 25 years of expertise in Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART), Dr Gautam Allahbadia Mumbai advises that it is a sensible decision for women to get their fertility checked even at a younger age. “A woman’s egg will have more genetic or chromosomal abnormalities as she ages, due to deterioration of egg quality and quantity. So with assisted reproductive technologies, when you know that your ovarian reserve is borderline, you can always bank your eggs and complete your family whenever you want,” he opines.
Egg Cryopreservation overcomes several factors that might cause hinderance in pregnancy, such as early menopause or premature ovarian failure. Being able to use their own eggs and have biological children is an enticing prospect for most women.
Through the Assisted Reproductive Technique of egg freezing, the issues about age-related fertility decline have been mitigated. It has helped women push boundaries of family planning, and move ahead in their life endeavors with confidence. The process of egg freezing follows a progressive range of medical activities where the ovaries of a female are hormonally stimulated, followed by transvaginal egg retrieval and subsequent storage of the female’s eggs (known as oocyte cryopreservation). These eggs can then be thawed as per the patient’s discretion.
Women who go through fertility treatment have an option to get their embryos frozen. The supernumerary healthy frozen embryos after their own family is complete can be donated to older or single women who want to build a family for themselves. This is a suitable option for patients who do not have viable eggs or have a genetic predisposition to health conditions.
For single women considering the possibility of becoming a single parent, ART provides a range of treatment options depending on when and how you plan to become a parent. Single women have also been given a chance to preserve their fertility and get pregnant when they want through the living field of ART.