Infertility Treatments to Consider When Having Trouble Conceiving
Infertility affects many couples around the world. In the United State alone, about 10% to 15% of couples are infertile or have not been able to conceive even after a year of regular, unprotected sex according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
If you and your partner are struggling to get pregnant, don’t worry there are many options available for treating infertility. In this Baby Care Weekly article, we will discuss some of the common treatments and the important factors you should consider when choosing the best option for you.
Treatments for Infertility
There are many possible causes of infertility and fortunately advancements in science have made it possible to overcome the challenges that infertile couples face. At least half of couples who seek professional help experience success.
Here are some of the treatments you can consider. Take time to learn about these options and discuss them with your partner and health professional:
Clomiphene is one of the most common medication taken by women who have trouble ovulating. An estimated half of women who take this drug get pregnant within three cycles. Clomiphene may be a good idea if:
- Your ovulation is irregular
- You have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- You have unexplained infertility
Your doctor might prescribe the fertility medication Gonadotropins if you tried taking clomiphene without successful results. This drug can help you ovulate and may be considered if:
- Your body is unable to adequately produce the ovulation hormones FSH and LH
- You are about to undergo intrauterine insemination (IUI) or assisted reproductive technology (ART)
In Vitro Fertilization
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) involves collecting mature eggs from your ovaries which are then fertilized by sperm in a laboratory. The fertilized egg or eggs are then implanted in your uterus. IVF is considered to be the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology. More than 3 million babies are born annually around the world through this method.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection
Defective sperm function is the top cause of human infertility and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is used to treat men who have low sperm count or low sperm motility. It involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg.
Surgery for Blocked Fallopian Tubes
Scars in your fallopian tubes can prevent eggs from being released. These scars may be a result of endometriosis or from pelvic infections or previous surgeries. During the surgery, doctors will take out the scar tissue causing the problem and thus increase your chances of conceiving.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is one of the most common procedures for treating fertility issues. It works placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus and thus facilitate fertilization. The objective of this fertility treatment is to increase the amount of sperm that make it to the fallopian tube and thus subsequently boost the chance of fertilization.
Fertile women who are thinking of undergoing IUI may consider finding a sperm donor. Success rates for pregnancies using this procedure are well above 80%.
You may opt to use donor embryos from couples who have finished the IVF procedure. This option costs less than the standard IVF process.
Surrogacy involves finding another woman who will agree to be a gestational surrogate. Surrogacy may involve natural or artificial insemination of the surrogate mother.
Factors for Choosing an Infertility Treatment
Choosing the infertility treatment that is right for you and your partner will depend on a variety of factors. Here are some of the most important considerations to make before you make your choice:
Some infertility treatments are expensive and may require a series of complex procedures and several visits to the specialist. IVF, for example, has a high success rate but it is also quite expensive compared to other treatments. You and your partner should discuss your budget for the treatment so you can narrow down your options.
Possible shifts in hormones plus the stress can take a physical toll on you and your partner. Fertility medications also have possible side effects. Make sure to ask your doctor about the physical effects of the procedure or drug that you are planning to take.
You and your partner should also ask yourselves the following questions:
- How many times are we willing to try the procedure?
- Are we prepared for the risks and/or side effects?
- Are we aware of our fertility clinic’s success rates?
- Can we commit to the procedure and consultations
Fertility treatments are not just physically demanding, they can also be emotionally overwhelming. The pressure that builds as you wait for the outcome can be stressful and it can put a strain on your relationship.
Be honest enough to discuss your struggles and concerns with your partner. Identity possible stress triggers, challenges and come up with healthy coping mechanisms.
Ask yourselves the following questions:
- Are we emotionally prepared to handle the risks?
- Do we have a support group that can help us go through the process?
- Are we aware of the things we have control over and the things that we cannot control?
Dealing with infertility will require more than just medical attention. You and your partner will need to be as supportive and positive for one another during this sensitive time. It can get stressful but always have hope and take courage in the fact that there are options available for you.
Here are some of the most common myths about infertility: