Many couples have children as soon as they look at each other in a certain way, or so it seems. Lots of couples do have problems conceiving children. There are several possible reasons for this and several possible solutions to the problem.

Gone are the days of Britain’s Henry VIII who chopped off his wives’ heads if they failed to produce a child within a year. Nowadays people realize that this is a difficulty that is a shared one. If specialists find that one of the partners’ reproductive system is not working as it should then that person will need substantial support from their partner.

Most men do not have the Henry VII approach. Most will be willing to have tests done to determine a sperm count and to check on the activity of the sperm. This is usually the first step in determining the reason for lack of conception of a child because production of the sperm sample is very simple and certainly does not require invasive surgery.

Sperm counts can sometimes be increased by hormone supplements. Be aware that increasing testosterone levels will also cause increased aggressiveness in social situations. I knew a guy once in this situation and all his workmates breathed a sigh of relief when he announced his wife was pregnant.

Investigating the female reproductive system is much more complicated. That’s why there are gynaecologists for women and no equivalent for men. I am not going to go into the many vagaries of the menstrual cycle here. Following the advice of a gynaecologist will help many women to become pregnant.

There are other alternatives even after the specialist’s advice hasn’t worked. Test-tube babies are very common. I used to teach a teenager who was the UK’s first test-tube baby, she was just like every other girl in the class.

Eggs are removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilized with her partner’s sperm, usually in flat petri dishes, rather than test-tubes. One of the fertilized eggs is then placed inside the woman’s uterus, where it will hopefully attach itself and develop normally. The rest of the fertilized eggs may be frozen, in case of failure the first time.

If the man’s sperm count or activity cannot be raised the couple could have a baby using sperm from a donor. Couples may also find a surrogate mother, either to host the fertilized egg, or to provide the egg to be fertilized by the male partner’s sperm.

In short there are many routes out of this common predicament that a loving couple can use to have the children they have set their hearts on.

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