A Quick Guide to Fertility Treatment Options

woman with fertility issuesTrying to get pregnant and having trouble conceiving can leave you feeling left out. Seeing women with baby bumps, cars with “Baby On Board” signs, and pregnancy announcements can be upsetting when you’re struggling with your own fertility.

But you’re not alone. According to the CDC, as many as 12% of all couples have infertility issues that prevent them from getting pregnant.

If you are concerned that infertility may be an issue for you and your partner, schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN to share your concerns and discuss your options. They 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.

Infertility treatments come in a wide range of forms, from oral medications to hormone injections that increase your chance of ovulation to in vitro fertilization (IVF).  Your OB/GYN can refer you to a fertility specialist to help determine which treatment option is best for you.

7 Common Fertility Treatment Options

Here is a list of seven common fertility treatment options.

1. Fertility Medications

The majority of fertility medications are designed to enhance your body’s ability to release mature eggs naturally. In most cases, this will mean releasing more than one egg, which increases your chances of multiple births. If they do not work, you may be referred to a fertility specialist for further evaluation and recommendations.

2. Artificial Insemination (AI) and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Also known as “artificial insemination,” this method means that 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 fertility medications.

3. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

With IVF, your eggs are retrieved after taking fertility medication, and then they are fertilized by your partner, or donor, sperm to create viable embryos. The viable embryos are then implanted into your uterus at a specific point in your menstrual cycle to increase the embryo’s chances of implantation and result in pregnancy.

4. Natural Cycle IVF

Natural cycle IVF is in vitro fertilization without hormone injections.  Your natural cycle will be monitored, and when you’re ready to ovulate, a single egg is retrieved and fertilized and is then transferred to your uterus.  You may want to consider this option if you would like to avoid hormones and rule out the risk of multiples.

5. Donor Eggs

Donor eggs are ideal for women with zero to very low ovarian reserves, whose eggs test positive for compromised DNA (which increases the chances of miscarriages or babies being born with congenital defects), or for older women whose chances of IVF success are compromised by age. If you are over the age of 35 and use a younger woman’s eggs regardless of your age, you benefit from the same success rate as women who undergo IVF in the egg donor’s age bracket.

6. Egg Freezing

Egg freezing is a process by which 10-20 of a woman’s eggs are retrieved using a procedure similar to IVF.  The eggs are then frozen and stored for later use.  The eggs are thawed, fertilized, and implanted in your uterus when you’re ready to get pregnant.  This option can be beneficial if you want to wait to have a baby or you have other health issues such as a family history of endometriosis, early menopause, or ovarian cysts.

7. Surrogate or Gestational Carriers

If you’ve tried many treatment options or have a physical impairment that prohibits pregnancy, 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.

If you are concerned you may require fertility treatments to help you have a baby, schedule a consultation with Women’s Health Associates.

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