Fertility Treatment Options at a Glance
Wondering about the latest fertility treatment options? Fertility treatments are commonly used to help women get pregnant when nature isn’t cooperating.
Many women today are postponing childbearing until the late 20s to late 30s while they seek higher education, career choices or other life objectives. Other women find out at an early age that pregnancy will not come easily. Yet no matter what your age or situation, it’s not too soon to discuss fertility treatment options with your doctor.
Fertility drugs as infertility treatment
Fertility drugs are commonly used as infertility treatments in an attempt to temporarily override the fertility problem and facilitate ovulation.
All fertility drugs increase the stimulation of the ovary by increasing the concentration of gonadotropins available to stimulate the ovary.
Clomiphene citrate (CC or Clomid), a commonly used fertility drug, causes a release of the body’s own gonadotropin stores and indirectly stimulates the ovaries. This extra stimulation can cause ovulation to occur and make a pregnancy possible. The injectable gonadotropins stimulate the ovaries directly.
One of the drawbacks of all fertility drugs is that they tend to work in only one cycle (month).
Can surgery help?
Surgery is often necessary to treat female infertility, especially if you suffer with blocked or damaged fallopian tubes. Sometimes surgery is necessary to reduce scar tissue associated with endometriosis or to remove fibroid tumors or ovarian cysts.
For men, surgery may be necessary to repair varicocele. This is a cluster of varicose veins around the scrotum that some believe is linked to male factor infertility.
Assisted reproductive technology (ART)
ART is the transfer of fertilized human eggs into a woman’s uterus, including procedures that use some form of in vitro fertilization (IVF). These infertility treatments include IVF, GIFT, and ZIFT, and associated procedures such as ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection).
With IVF, the oldest assisted reproductive technology, retrieved eggs are fertilized outside your body in a laboratory setting where they are mixed with your partner’s (or donor) sperm. The fertilized eggs (embryos) are transferred back into your uterus through the cervix.
IVF is used as a treatment option for both male and female infertility, including conditions such as endometriosis, cervical factor, immunologic, male factor, and unexplained infertility
Male factor infertility treatments
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) can be used as a fertility treatment in many cases of male factor infertility. IUI improves the number of sperm reaching the site of fertilization as the sperm bypass the cervix, the main site of sperm antibody production. IUI is used in conjunction with fertility drugs to increase their effectiveness.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a successful fertility treatment among couples in which the male has an extremely low sperm count. ICSI is used in conjunction with IVF and bypasses many forms of male infertility, offering success that would be impossible with other procedures.
Other fertility treatment options
Egg donation is increasingly being used as an option to achieve parenthood. With egg donation, eggs from a younger “donor” female are placed in the older woman, increasing the chances that the older woman conceives and has a baby.
Sperm donation is yet another fertility treatment for single women and lesbian couples who want to have children. Sperm donation is also used for heterosexual couples when the male partner’s sperm is unable to fertilize the woman’s egg.
With all the options available today, you can certainly find one that allows you to conceive and have a baby. Talk with your doctor about your infertility problem and see which fertility treatment may be best for your situation.Sources
American Pregnancy Association: What is Infertility? American Pregnancy Association. Infertility Medications. American Society of Reproductive Medicine. Infertility: An Overview: A Guide for Patients. American Society of Reproductive Medicine: Frequently Asked Questions About Infertility. Resolve: Intrauterine Insemination. American Society of Reproductive Medicine. Age and Fertility: A Guide for Patients.