Can’t conceive? 4 other ways to become a parent

Want kids but can’t get pregnant? Take a look at these options to complete your family.

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It can be extremely difficult to watch your friends, colleagues and relatives fall pregnant, yet, those two blue lines just seem to elude you.

This will probably be a stressful and emotional time for you and at some point, you will realise that it’s time to consider other options.

Not every couple’s journey to parenthood looks the same. Some yearn for a child for before attempting fertility treatments. Others decide that adoption is the way to go.

So, what choices do you have when you can’t conceive naturally? We list them out for you.

Fertility treatment

For most couples who aren’t able to conceive, fertility treatment is an obvious option.

According to Dr Roland Chieng, medical director at Virtus Fertility Centre, couples who experience a delay in pregnancy should seek a fertility specialist’s advice. They will undergo a fertility assessment to determine the problem and learn what treatments are available to improve their conception chances.

Dr Chieng says that in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is the most effective method for treating infertility. “The procedure addresses complex issues related to fertility and offers a good success rate of having a baby.”

In IVF, embryos are created when sperm fertilise the eggs in a laboratory dish. The embryos are incubated in the dish for three to five days before being transferred to the woman’s uterus for implantation. One IVF cycle will set the couple back around $15,000.

Another option is a Gamete Intra-fallopian transfer, or GIFT, where fertilisation takes place inside the woman’s fallopian tubes instead of a laboratory dish, Dr Chieng notes. “This pin-hole surgery is performed after two or three eggs are mixed with the sperm in a catheter, and the mixture is then inserted into the fallopian tube for fertilisation. After fertilisation, the embryos move into the uterus for implantation,” he explains.

Artificial insemination, a simpler and less invasive procedure, is when prepared sperm are inserted through the neck of the womb and into the uterus, close to the time of ovulation.

In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is the most effective method for treating infertility.

Adoption

In Singapore, couples can adopt a child from their relatives, friends or other parties. A signed consent from the child’s birth parents is required.

They can also adopt a child under State via the Ministry for Social and Family Development (MSF), although a home study has to be completed first. A home study is also needed when a couple adopts foreign children.

Both married couples and singles who are Singaporean citizens or permanent residents can adopt a child, under Singapore’s Adoption of Child Act.

The adoptive parents have to be at least 25 years old, and at least 21 years but less than 50 years older than the child. Single males are not allowed to adopt a girl, unless special permission is granted. Exceptions may be made if the child is related to the adopter by blood.

The adoptive child has to be under 21 years old. It generally takes about five to seven months for the adoption process to be completed, longer if the child is adopted from a foreign country.

Couples who want to adopt will first need to attend a compulsory pre-adoption briefing conducted by an MSF-accredited adoption agency. After this, a home study will be carried out, if needed. When a suitable child has been identified, the birth parents will be required to give their signed consent, while the adoptive parents will have to obtain the child’s identification documents. If the child is born elsewhere, they will need to apply for a Dependent’s pass.

Once these are completed, the application will be submitted to the Family Justice Courts. A hearing will determine if the adoption is successful.

While it’s illegal to pay the birth parents for giving the child up for adoption, the adoptive parents can pay for the prenatal and postnatal expenses, as well as the hospital delivery cost. Those who find a suitable child via an adoption agency can expect to pay fees of around $30,000.