The inability to get pregnant can be frustrating and stressful. The good news is that there are more options for treating infertility than ever before using assisted reproductive technology (ART). Options in fertility treatment include medication, surgery, and lifestyle changes. The team at the Center for Reproductive Health provides guidance and support throughout the process of seeking a solution to infertility challenges. So, which fertility treatment is most effective?
Diagnosing the Cause of Infertility
Before recommending options in fertility treatments, it’s important to look into the cause. When a couple is struggling to get pregnant, the cause could be female, male, or the couple together. The first step is a comprehensive evaluation which includes a physical exam, medical history, and bloodwork to identify hormone abnormalities. The health and motility of the sperm are analyzed as well as the health of the uterus and fallopian tubes.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
If no issues are found with the sperm or the female reproductive system, the most effective fertility treatment is often in vitro fertilization (IVF), which is the fertilization of the egg and sperm outside the body. Before trying IVF, some women respond to taking oral medication that’s prescribed to stimulate ovulation and are able to get pregnant just from taking this medication. A more effective form of fertility treatment is to combine fertility medication with IVF.
Fertility treatment with IVF may be an option for couples with a variety of challenges such as:
– Uterine fibroids
– Polycystic ovary syndrome
– Low sperm count
– Blocked fallopian tubes
If IVF is determined to be the best option, injectable hormones are given to induce several eggs to grow. An outpatient procedure is done under anesthesia to remove these eggs. IVF can also be done using eggs or embryos from an anonymous donor.
The eggs are fertilized with sperm provided by the patient’s partner or by a sperm donor in a lab environment. Once the eggs have been fertilized, they remain in the lab for a few days and are incubated as they develop into embryos. One or more embryos are then placed back into the woman’s uterus in a short outpatient surgery that doesn’t usually require anesthesia. Embryos that aren’t implanted can be frozen to be used in the future. Pregnancy happens if one or more embryos successfully implant inside the uterus.
How Effective is IVF?
While IVF is the most effective fertility treatment, it doesn’t work for everyone. Some couples are able to successfully attain pregnancy after one cycle of IVF. More than one cycle of IVF may be needed before pregnancy is attained in other couples. Women who are over 40 may have more difficulty attaining pregnancy than younger women, and using donor eggs may help increase the chance of success. Poor lifestyle choices can reduce a woman’s chance of success with IVF. Examples include smoking and excessive use of alcohol and caffeine.
Working closely with the fertility experts at the Center for Reproductive Health is the best way to find out whether you’re a good candidate for IVF or if a different form of fertility treatment would be better for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.