Know your options when it comes to infertility treatments
Infertility is a complex issue, with causes and circumstances that vary with every couple. However, it is a common condition, affecting about 1 in 10 couples in the US. Thankfully, infertility treatments can help people conceive.
Here is a basic outline of infertility treatments, beginning with the simplest and least intrusive options.
Fertility drug for infertility treatments
For women: The most common drugs for women include clomiphene and gonadotropins. Clomiphene is typically the first medicine that fertility doctors will prescribe to stimulate a women’s egg production. If clomiphene by itself doesn’t work, gonadotropins can further regulate the woman’s cycle by triggering ovulation. These drugs significantly increase your chance of conceiving.
For men: Men can take antibiotics if there is an infection, medication for erectile dysfunction or hormone therapy. These medicines only improve conception if there is a problem directly affecting fertility.
Surgery to treat infertility
For women: Surgery can correct fertility problems in women. Surgical procedures can open fallopian tubes that are blocked, remove endometriosis tissue, eliminate fibroids, and treat PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Your doctor will determine the appropriate type of surgery for you, based on your condition.
For men: Surgery for men can reverse a vasectomy, repair an obstruction in the vas deferens, correct a varicocele, or extract a sperm sample if you cannot produce a sample otherwise.
IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)
Doctors use IUI when medications alone don’t work. IUI is the process of inserting the father’s (or male donor’s) sperm sample directly into the uterus of the intended mother.
For women: The woman takes medications to regulate her cycle and ensure the optimal moment for inserting the sperm. A medical professional performs the insemination with a catheter to effectively place the sperm.
For men: The man will provide a sperm sample either by normal ejaculation or by surgical extraction.
IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)
IVF is one of the specialized infertility treatments. If medicines and IUI did not work, IVF is often the next step. It further controls the conception process by combining the egg with the sperm in a lab.
For women: The woman will take medicines for ovarian stimulation. Instead of fertilizing the eggs inside her, the doctors will sedate her and retrieve the viable eggs. The team will then combine the eggs with the sperm in a lab. If and when successful fertilization occurs, the eggs become viable embryos. The doctor then transfers an embryo back into the uterus.
For men: Men undergo no additional medical treatments for IVF, but fathers still experience stress with their wives and provide physical and emotional support.
IVF with ICSI – One of the infertility treatments
IVF can correct most infertility issues, especially if the cause of infertility is unknown. However, IVF can still fail to result in pregnancy. ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) can overcome male infertility or sperm issues. ICSI requires fertilizing the egg with the male’s sperm in the lab. It is a delicate process where a special needle is used to inject the sperm directly into the egg.
Neither the woman nor the man does anything different for this procedure, but it is an additional cost.
Donor Eggs, Sperm and Embryos
Sometimes infertility is caused by the mother or the father not being able to produce an operable egg or sperm sample. In this case, you can use a donor. If neither partner in a relationship can contribute the genetic material, then you have the option of using a donor embryo as one of the infertility treatments.
In gestational surrogacy, a surrogate mother will carry the embryo to full term and give birth to the child. A legal process is followed so that the intended parents will have full legal custody of the baby.
Surrogate mother: The surrogate mother takes medications to regulate her cycles so her uterus can accept the embryo at the proper time.
Intended mother: The intended mother may have to be on medication or undergo egg retrieval if she is providing the eggs for the pregnancy.
Intended father: The intended father will provide sperm unless a donor is needed.
Surrogacy is an important and innovative option for those intended parents who simply cannot carry the child. It involves significant cost and legal contracts, so it’s important to choose a reputable and experienced surrogacy agency to help facilitate this process.
Contact us to learn more.