For couples considering fertility treatment to improve their chances of conceiving, a suitable treatment for their condition can make their dreams come true.
If you and your husband are considering to undergo fertility treatment in order to get pregnant, you will want to know which treatment is most suitable for you. Will you require IVF (in vitro fertilisation), or even the more complex procedure of ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection)? What about donor eggs or donor sperm?
Unfortunately, no online article will be able to determine your suitability. There are many different causes for infertility. Infertility can be caused by hormonal imbalances, poor sperm quality, physical defects in the genitals, infections, ovarian cysts, anovulation, blocked tubes, the woman’s age etc. The list goes on. Only an experienced fertility specialist is able to assess your situation and discuss what type of treatment is suitable for you.
With that being said, it is also important for couples to know of the available fertility treatment options so that they can be prepared for the outcome and have a better understanding of what they will have to go through.
Overview of fertility treatments
- Hormone medication: These drugs release hormones that help the woman stimulate egg production and also prepare the uterus lining for implantation. Hormone medicine can also help men improve their sperm production. Hormone imbalance is one of the most common causes of infertility and these medications can help to improve your chances of getting pregnant without having to undergo more complex procedures. However, hormone medication does not treat women who have blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, or other physical causes for infertility.
- IVF (in vitro fertilisation): One of the most common forms of fertility treatments. IVF involves extracting healthy-looking eggs from the wife and mixing it in a petridish with healthy-looking sperm from the husband, cultured in an incubator, where conditions are conducive for fertilization to take place. Three to 5 days after fertilization, the fertilized egg (embryo) will be transferred directly into the wife’s uterus. This method is commonly used when the husband’s sperm quality is good.
- ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection): A more advanced technique in IVF, this procedure involves the embryologist selecting and injecting a single healthy-looking sperm directly into a mature egg to increase the chances of fertilisation. Three to 5 days after fertilization, the fertilized egg (embryo) is then transferred to the uterus similar to IVF. This procedure can be used for cases where the sperm quality is poor, or poor fertilization was obtained in a previous IVF cycle attempt
- Artificial insemination: This procedure involves processing the husband’s sperm and injecting it directly into the wife’s uterus. This procedure is suitable for men with normal sperm. It can also be used if the woman is unable to have intercourse.
- Fertility surgery: Infertility can be caused by the existence of ovarian cysts or scar tissue in a woman’s uterus, as well as blocked fallopian tubes or blocked vas deferens (the tube that transports sperm from the man’s testicles). In these cases, there could be surgical options that help to clear the blockages or scar tissue from the reproductive organs. The use of minimally invasive (also known as laparoscopic) techniques for these kinds of conditions tend to have better results and higher post-surgery pregnancy rates. However, there is a certain degree of risk for all surgeries and there may be significant recovery periods before the couple is able to get pregnant.
- Donor eggs/sperm: These may be cases where the man or woman is no longer able to produce healthy eggs or sperm. Donor eggs or donor sperm may be an option if one of the parents is carrying a genetic disorder that they do not want to pass to their baby. However, there are few cases where couples have opted to use donor eggs or donor sperm as they may have mixed feelings about the process or ethical opinions of the procedure. Babies born from donor cycles will have a genetic relationship to one parent.
To find out what fertility treatments are suitable for your condition, make an appointment with one of the experienced fertility specialists at ACRM today