I promise an update of my own soon, but between a crazy schedule, some bad news (not infertility related) and a couple days of Lupron induced headache/tiredness, its been difficult to get my brain together.

I joined the world of Twitter a few months ago in attempt to meet other infertility bloggers and maybe find some new followers. Recently I was contacted by Mindy Berkson (@infertilityhope on Twitter), an infertility consultant, who very flatteringly told me she found my blog inspiring and would like to contribute a guest post.

(A guest post! Someone asked me to write a guest post! Cool!!)

I’ve always been very open about our infertility experience – practically everyone in real life knows at least something about it, including anyone who happens to wander over to my blog from Facebook. The majority of my posts relate specifically to our journey and are not very factual. Though many of those in the trenches with me have probably been back and forth about which option to choose, I’m hoping perhaps this can be used to reach out to someone just starting their journey and are unaware of options, or simply to educate those who are curious:

Conceivable Options™

When The Pathway to Parenthood is Not Linear

by Mindy Berkson, Founder, Lotus Blossom Consulting, LLC

As children and young adults many of us were raised to grow up and become not just well established adults, but moms and dads.  It is often a natural progression to graduate school, focus on career, marry and raise a family.  Kids are the ultimate goal and accomplishment.

Today however, given the rise in infertility one in five couples today, or 7.3 million Americans struggle with infertility — the biological inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to full term.  Many factors can contribute to this staggering and continually growing statistic.  Most common are delayed child bearing, advanced maternal age, medical conditions, sexually transmitted diseases, obesity and environmental factors.  As women continue to work and delay having children, their needs with regard to infertility treatment, has also continued to grow.

The infertility diagnosis can be devastating and demoralizing. Unable to become pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term, women often feel inadequate, alone and depressed.  Infertility treatment is costly, and invasive. Success rates are not guaranteed and insurance benefits are often limited.  The emotional, physical and financial stressors associated with the infertility process are often challenging and overwhelming.

Age matters in many aspects of life and definitely in the creation of life.  Women are most fertile between the ages of 20 to 28 with their fertility decreasing in half by the time they reach 35 years of age.  By age 45, only a 1% chance remains each month of conceiving naturally. This is a startling fact considering the average age a woman has her first child has risen to a record high of 25.1 years with 20% of women waiting until they are 35 years old to begin their family.

An increasing number of women choose to delay childbearing due to further schooling, career choice, or are waiting to find their perfect partner.  Many individuals are choosing to be single parents.  While those choices are understandable and personal, as women naturally age so do their ovaries; affecting their fertility.  Oocyte cryopreservation, commonly known as egg banking, generally provides women up to the age of 38 a chance to stop their biological clock and effectively plan and preserve their fertility for the future.

Other treatment options to help overcome infertility include egg donation and surrogacy.  Egg donation involves retrieving eggs from a donor between the ages of 21 and 32.  Since success rates are linked to the age of the egg, using an egg donor can greatly impact the success rates for pregnancy after in-vitro fertilization treatments.  It is most common to use an egg donor in an anonymous arrangement.  Legal contracts are necessary to outline the roles of all parties and to have the egg donor relinquish all rights to offspring produced from the treatment cycle.

Surrogacy is another widely available option to help overcome infertility.  Over the past decade surrogacy has become more acceptable as the laws in certain states have enabled couples and individuals to establish parentage at birth or shortly thereafter.  The most prevalent form of surrogacy today is gestational surrogacy where the surrogate candidate is not biologically related to the offspring.

The pathway to parenthood is not always linear.  But understanding the treatment options available will help you to determine your emotional tolerances and physical endurance for exploring treatment and reaching the American dream of becoming a mom and dad.

About Mindy Berkson and Lotus Blossom Consulting

As one of the first infertility consultancies in the United States, Lotus Blossom Consulting, LLC was founded by Mindy Berkson in 2005.  With more than a decade of experience at physician’s offices, and egg donor and surrogacy agencies, Berkson assists individuals working through the often-challenging roadblocks of infertility, by providing the best information and resources available to them from around the world – all in one location.

Lotus Blossom Consulting works with individuals on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration clients’ emotional, physical and financial infertility issues and then develops an individualized, comprehensive plan, to help clients make informed decisions. Mindy is a sought-after infertility expert and has appeared on countless media programs and speaker panels educating audiences on the topic of infertility, egg banking and surrogacy.  For more information about Lotus Blossom Consulting, LLC, call toll free (877) 881-2685, email  mindy@lotusblossomconsulting.com or visit the web at www.lotusblossomconsulting.com or www.infertilityconsultant.com.

Thanks to Mindy for your contribution.