A Quick Guide to Fertility Treatment Options
August 28, 2015
Feel like you’re the only couple on the planet who aren’t sporting a baby bump or boasting a “baby on board” sign? Believe us when we say that you are not the only ones having a hard time getting pregnant. In fact, the CDC states that as many as 12% of all couples have some type of infertility issue that prevents them from getting pregnant. Are you concerned that infertility may be an issue for you and your mate?
Schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN as soon as you can to have your concerns heard and determine the next course of action. She may recommend the use of infertility treatments if you:
- Have been trying to conceive for more than 12-months.
- Are over the age of 35.
- Have an existing condition – like endometriosis or PCOS – that is known to interfere with fertility.
If you are under the age of 35 or have been trying to get pregnant for less than 12-months, read Timing Matters – How to Increase Your Odds of Conception to make sure you are timing intercourse correctly.
Infertility treatments range from oral medications or hormone injections that increase your chances of ovulation to in vitro fertilization (IVF), which requires the assistance of a fertility specialist.
7 Common Fertility Treatments
Here is a list of 7 common fertility treatments, in order of how they are (typically) recommended. If you are diagnosed with certain types of infertility, your doctor may want to jumpstart your treatment.
- Reproductive surgery. If your infertility diagnosis is the result of an anatomical issue, like endometriosis, scar tissue, blockages, etc., your doctor may be able to perform a reproductive surgery to increase your chances of a natural conception and/or to increase your odds of a successful fertility treatment.
- Fertility medications. The majority of fertility medications are designed to enhance your body’s ability to release mature eggs. In most cases, this will mean the release of more than one egg, which increases your chances of multiple births. Even so, these treatments are typically prescribed by your OB/GYN. If they don’t work, you will probably require the assistance of a fertility specialist.
- Artificial insemination. These days, fertility clinics call this “intrauterine insemination” (IUI) and it means that the technicians inject sperm directly into the uterus to make sure sperm get closer to where they need to go. IUI is often done in conjunction with the use of fertility medications, but doesn’t guarantee that fertilization will occur.
- Sperm donation. While all of the focus tends to be on women, it turns out that men are equally responsible for infertility, due to low sperm count, low-quality sperm or anatomical abnormalities that restrict sperm from being ejaculated. In this case, your best option is to use a donor whose sperm will be used for IUI or IVF treatments.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF). With this method, your eggs are retrieved after taking a fertility medication and they are fertilized by your partner’s sperm or donor sperm to create viable embryos. The embryos are implanted into your uterus at a specific point in your menstrual cycle in the hopes that the embryo will implant and result in a successful pregnancy.
- Donor eggs. If you opt for IVF, your doctor may recommend the use of donor eggs. Donor eggs are ideal for women who have zero to very low ovarian reserves, whose eggs test positive for compromised DNA (increasing the chances of miscarriages or babies born with congenital defects), or older women whose chances of IVF success are compromised by age. Review IVF success rates and you’ll see what a big difference age makes. However, in most cases, if you use a younger woman’s eggs, you benefit from the same success rate as women who undergo IVF in the egg donor’s age bracket.
- Surrogate or gestational carriers. In some cases, you may opt to use a surrogate or gestational carrier. Surrogate carriers are typically used for women who do not have eggs of their own and/or cannot carry a baby full-term for whatever reason. The surrogate serves as the egg donor and is impregnated via IUI or IVF. Then, she carries the baby for you. Gestational carriers agree to donate their womb – via IVF – using a separate sperm and egg. This is also a popular option for same-sex couples.
Are you concerned you may require fertility treatments to help you have a baby? Schedule a consultation with Women’s Health Associates. If we feel you may be battling infertility, we can refer you to successful IVF clinics in our area.