Some women are blessed with a healthy reproductive system; they can conceive at the first try if they wish. Others may not be so lucky. Unlike men, women have a deadline on their 'biological clock', the window of opportunity where it is most optimal for them to get pregnant. It is an unfair physical disadvantage, especially when you want to build a successful career or enjoy some kid-free time with your spouse a little longer. Prospective mothers have to go through a lot of emotional and financial hurdles to reach their goals. There\u2019s nothing more disheartening than seeing a negative result on your pregnancy test after trying for so many months. The Challenges of Conception Many factors in a woman\u2019s life will affect her fertility. It\u2019s not just hormones. Stress, diet, genetics, and certain medical conditions (like endometriosis) all affect a woman\u2019s fertility. However, the most defining factor that reduces the chances of a successful pregnancy is probably age. A woman\u2019s fertility declines after she reaches 35. Any egg she produces has a higher chance of containing genetic abnormalities. Another problem is timing. Women ovulate for about only 12 to 14 days before the start of the new menstrual cycle. However, this can be hard to keep track of naturally. So, some women actually monitor and track their ovulation cycles to increase their chances of conceiving. It\u2019s not uncommon as well for one or either spouse to not be in the mood when these windows of opportunity do open up. This just adds another roadblock in a prospective mother\u2019s pregnancy efforts. Intercourse by its very nature is often spontaneous so it\u2019s hard to be intimate when it\u2019s planned. Some couples may even experience performance anxiety in anticipation of the event. Finally, and through no fault of her own, a woman may have trouble getting pregnant if it\u2019s her spouse that suffers from fertility issues. Male infertility accounts for 30% of failed pregnancies. Problems like unhealthy or mutated sperm, low sperm count and erectile dysfunction all decrease a woman\u2019s chances of conceiving. Fertility Treatments: Cost, Efficacy and Side Effects Preliminaries Many prospective mothers who have failed to conceive on their own within the first year (or sooner) will most likely go to a fertility specialist. The consultation usually begins with a fertility test before any treatment. Both couples may be tested or just the female spouse\/partner. Once the problem is identified, the doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatment. Treatments The cheapest fertility treatment you can get is probably fertility medication like Femara or Clomid. This is of course if your main problem is irregular ovulation. If it\u2019s not, then the next course of action is either IVF (in vitro fertilisation) or IUI (intrauterine fertilisation). IUI is much cheaper than IVF, which will cost you upwards of RM10,000. But an IUI will only cost you about RM3000+. Not many people talk about IUI when it comes to artificial insemination, which is much cheaper than IVF and far, far more affordable. Instead of using expensive, high-tech science to inseminate the egg in a petri dish, the sperm is deposited directly into the woman\u2019s uterus. While not a popular method, it will most likely be a first option before the doctor even thinks about recommending IVF. These IUI and IVF treatments usually require fertility medication too which may come in the form of shots or pills. Common side effects include nausea, hot flashes, dizziness, and mood swings. But doctors may also forego the hormone supplements and just harvest your eggs when you\u2019re naturally ovulating. Finally, you can opt for mature oocyte cryopreservation, or more popularly known as 'freezing your eggs'. This method allows you to harvest and store healthy, viable eggs while you\u2019re young to be inseminated at a later date when you\u2019re ready. However, even if you do use your eggs, it\u2019s not very likely that you will able to carry them yourself. Especially after reaching a certain age. The eggs may still be viable but your body may have reached a point of no return by the time you\u2019re ready to have kids. This will most likely result in you needing to hire a surrogate, which will cost you more money. The Struggles of Prospective Mothers As you can see, a prospective mother has to jump through a lot of expensive hoops to get a baby. Many couples who fail to reproduce at the first and second try will usually just adopt a child. It\u2019s important to note that while fertility treatments do exist, not everyone can afford them. Malaysia has recently allowed couples to withdraw their EPF savings for fertility treatments which is great news for couples. However, you may not necessarily want to dry up all your retirement money just to get a baby when there are easier, cheaper and nobler options. The worst part is, even after spending so much money on the fertility treatments, there\u2019s no 100% guarantee that you\u2019ll get pregnant. So, while they may not yet be mums, do celebrate the prospective mothers in your life. They are trying hard to be mothers, and deserve to be celebrated too. Who knows, it may just be the magic spark that will finally help them. Mummies, don't miss out on your chance to get limited Motherhood.com.my vouchers today by casting your Motherhood Choice Awards 2022 votes here! For more insightful stories and fun recipes, stay tuned to Motherhood Story!