If you’re like many Canadians, chances are a majority of your reproductive years are spent trying to avoid an unexpected pregnancy. Once people decide they’re ready for kids, many people believe becoming a mom or dad will be as easy as 1-2-3.
Approximately 1 in 6 Canadian couples experience infertility. Couples are considered infertile if they don’t get pregnant after trying to conceive for one year. Although conversations about infertility have become more normalized, involuntary childlessness is still an emotional rollercoaster. It isn’t easy realizing that conceiving or staying pregnant might not be as simple as you dreamed it would be.
The good news is that continued medical advancements and new fertility treatments in 2020 mean more people can build the family they’ve always wanted. Those in LGBTQ relationships, single parents by choice and people with health conditions also utilize new fertility treatments in 2021 to help them conceive.
After all, the first IVF baby was born just 42 years ago. If the revolutionizing fertility advances in the past few decades have taught us anything it’s that some of the most significant breakthroughs in fertility are still on the horizon.
Read more to learn about the future of fertility treatments and new trends in family building.
New Fertility Treatments in Reproductive Medicine
Innovation in the Fertility Tech Space
The fertility tech market is rapidly expanding. Many experts believe that the research and innovation from many new fertility start-ups will impact reproductive medicine.
Fem tech, a term used to describe software and products that improve women’s health, often helps educate women about their menstrual cycles and reproductive health. Clue, a period tracker and ovulation tracker app, and Lilia, a start-up that streamlines the process of egg-freezing, are some examples of the advances of innovation in the fertility space.
In July 2019, a woman in her mid-thirties was the first in North America to give birth after receiving a uterus transplant from a deceased donor, which is a huge beacon of light for women experiencing uterine factor infertility (UFI).
Women with UFI either are born without a uterus or had their uterus removed, meaning surrogacy is currently the only option to have a biological child. This ground-breaking research trial conducted by the Cleveland Clinic might be a sign that women experiencing UFI may one day be able to get pregnant and give birth on their own with a transplanted uterus.
The thought of a “three-parent baby” sounds more complicated than it is. Let’s break it down.
Right now, 1 in 4,000 people lives with mitochondrial DNA disease. It’s only passed down by mothers and can affect people differently, resulting in issues with your liver, kidneys, brain or muscles or more. In more severe cases, it can cause developmental delays, organ failure and blindness.
Three parent babies are a result of mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT). This new form of “gene editing” is currently one of the most controversial fertility treatments.
Here’s how it works: A couple’s embryo is created through IVF. If the mother has unhealthy or faulty mitochondria, the parent’s nucleus is inserted into a healthy mitochondrial donor embryo. The donor’s nucleus is then removed.
While this procedure is still experimental and doctors don’t yet know it’s long-term effects on embryos, the potential of this fertility treatment lies in the possibility to correct abnormal genes and screen for diseases for healthier babies.
The Future of Family Building in 2021
Reproductive technology has redefined the possibilities of parenthood for millions of people around the world. Although we’re in the beginning stages of the new era of fertility tech and specialists are still learning about womb transplants and MRT, the future of new fertility treatments in 2021 is bright.
Below are three trends we expect to see in the future of family building.
Egg freezing will become more popular.
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, egg freezing has no longer been deemed an experimental procedure since 2012.
Nowadays, more Canadian women opt to freeze their eggs to preserve their chances of conceiving a biological child later in life.
Fertility clinics are also reporting a higher interest in social egg freezing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
People will continue to postpone parenthood.
A 2018 survey by BDO shows that one in five millennials decide to delay parenthood because of personal finances. According to Stats Canada, most Canadian women choose to start their families at around age 30 and have fewer children than before.
More moms and dads will become single parents by choice.
Learning about your reproductive health will help you to make more informed decisions about your fertility. For a growing number of Canadians, this means starting a family on your terms and becoming a single parent by choice. Studies also show that an increase in lone-parent families, which now make up 20 percent of families in Canada, might continue to normalize the trend of having a baby by yourself.
If you’re interested in learning more about different ways to begin your parenthood journey, downloading our patient referral form is the best place to start.