Many couples make the decision to start a family and they assume that pregnancy will happen without any problem. However, this is not the case as about 1 out of every 6 couples will experience infertility. If you are thirty-five years or older and have been doing everything possible to get pregnant for a year without success, then you should talk to a specialist for infertility diagnosis and treatment. Read on below to find out the most common fertility treatment options.
If you are having ovulation problems, you are more likely to benefit from fertility treatments. The first step in treating infertility in most cases is to deal with the underlying cause. For example, if you have thyroid disease and this is causing hormone imbalances, the medication for the thyroid disease might help to resolve your infertility issues.
To identify your problem, the reproductive endocrinologist is going to do a full evaluation of both you and your partner. The tests are likely to include ultrasounds, hormone level assessments, and sperm analysis. When your doctor identifies the cause of your problem, you will get recommendations for the fertility treatments that you can consider.
Most Common Fertility Treatment Options
The following are some of the most common options available:
Ovulation Induction: If you are not producing enough hormones or they are not working properly, your doctor might suggest some fertility medications that can help your reproductive system. In the event that your infertility trigger is not known, your doctor might start with an ovulation induction. There are medications such as Clomid that can stimulate your ovulation and used along with various other procedures. You might get injectable medicines if the oral ones fail.
Surgery: If you are experiencing certain physical problems like tubal blockages, endometriosis or fibroids, surgery might be recommended. If this helps to correct the problem, your doctor can boost your chances of getting pregnant.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): This treatment often comes to mind when most people think about infertility issues. IVF is a viable option to consider if other methods are not successful or if you did not qualify for IUI or ovulation induction. For this treatment, the basic idea is for the sperm and egg to form a union and an embryo is transferred after being placed inside the uterus in the laboratory of a fertility clinic. Simply put, your eggs will be fertilized by your partner’s sperm inside a laboratory and the resulting embryo(s) will be transferred at the optimal time to your uterus in hopes that conception will take place successfully.
The IVF procedure involves three distinct stages:
1. Egg retrieval: In this process, the ovaries will be stimulated in order to release some mature eggs to be used later in the fertilization stage.
2. Fertilization: The doctor will take a sperm sample from your partner, and used it in the lab for fertilization. If fertilization is successful, the new embryo will continue to develop and divide for about three to five days inside the laboratory.
3. Embryo transfer: The embryo will be transferred after three to five days.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): This treatment is used to help produce an embryo by sidestepping the common factors that usually cause fertility issues. For this treatment, fluid will be taken from an egg that contains ovarian follicles. An embryologist will examine this fluid microscopically. The retrieved eggs will be combined with the sperm from your partner or donor to create the embryo in the laboratory. This embryo will then be transferred to your womb in a procedure called In Vitro fertilization or IVF.
The Assisted Reproductive Technologies typical use medications which includes Gonal-f that replaces or supplements the FSH hormones that a woman produces naturally. This helps the mature eggs as the development of multiple egg follicles are stimulated. In addition, some other medications might be used in order to control the reproductive cycle time.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): This is the least complex of the ART or Assisted Reproductive Technologies, and it involves the preparation of sperm that will be placed directly into your uterus. Your doctor can do this procedure without anesthesia inside the office by inserting a needle or catheter inside the cervix to deliver the sperm to the right location. It is less expensive than the other ART procedures and it’s less likely to result in multiples.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): This technique is used during the fertilization process. It basically involves the injecting of one sperm into one egg with specialized instruments and a microscope. It is used more often in severe male infertility cases and might be used if the infertility cause is not known.
Gestational carriers: If you have had recurrent miscarriages or physical limitations which prevent you from carrying a child, a gestational carrier might be the best option. This will be an individual who has no biological link to the fetus and will carry the pregnancy to full term. In this case, the gestational carrier will have a baby who is related genetically to just you or to both you and your partner.
You can talk to a fertility specialist if you need help to understand the most common fertility treatment options.