What are your infertility treatment options, and how can a fertility clinic help you to become a parent? If this is your first experience with treatments, clinics, and the process towards parenthood, take a look at the top questions future parents have.
Is Infertility Common?
Simply stated—yes. If you're struggling to conceive, you're not alone. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 13 percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 49 struggle with this issue, and over 12 percent have used infertility services.
What Types of Treatments Are Available?
You have several treatment options. The most common treatments include medications, intrauterine insemination (IUI), and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Medications doctors prescribe to treat infertility (in women only) are clomiphene citrate, letrozole, human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), bromocriptine, and cabergoline. Some medications are used alone, while others are used with additional treatment methods.
What Are IUI and IVF?
Intrauterine insemination, also known as IUI, starts with specially prepared sperm. If the man's sperm is not viable or the woman who wants to get pregnant doesn't have a male partner, this procedure requires a donor. The doctor inserts the motile sperm into the woman's uterus. This procedure is done during ovulation. If the woman doesn't ovulate or doesn't have healthy eggs, IUI isn't an option.
Invitro fertilization (IVF) is a treatment women who don't ovulate regularly or don't have viable eggs can use. Women who do ovulate and have viable eggs but have other fertility issues may also use this method. Unlike IUI, IVF requires more than just the sperm to work. If the woman doesn't have healthy eggs (or any eggs), she may choose a donor. This allows her to get pregnant, carry a baby, and give birth.
The fertility specialist will fertilize the eggs with the sperm in a lab, creating embryos. When the embryos are ready, the doctor inserts one or more into the woman's uterus. You can also choose to freeze the embryos and use them later.
Which Treatment Is the Right Option?
The answer to this question depends on several factors. These include the reason for the infertility (if the doctor can diagnose a specific cause), the quantity and quality of the woman's eggs, the quality or presence of the man's sperm, past assisted reproductive treatment (ART), or other fertility treatment attempts, overall health issues, and the doctor's recommendation.
Contact a local fertility clinic to learn more.