Many factors influence a couple’s chances of conceiving a child, ranging from medical conditions to environmental factors and even lifestyle choices. The first step to successfully treating infertility is always to diagnose the underlying problems that are stopping a couple from conceiving. Once a doctor has made an accurate diagnosis, he or she can help patients determine which treatment option will best meet their needs.
Nervous about heading in for an evaluation? There’s nothing to be scared of or embarrassed about, given that around 15% of couples face fertility problems when they try to conceive. Read on to find out about ten of the most popular treatment options for infertility and when they are appropriate.
Many lifestyle factors can influence a couple’s fertility, including substance use, strenuous physical labor, body weight, and others. Exposure to certain environmental pollutants can also cause both male and female infertility.
In many cases, lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking or drinking, losing weight, or abstaining from extreme exercise are enough to improve couples’ odds of conceiving if there are no additional underlying medical problems. In some cases, though, additional treatments will still be required. Couples can see more at mcrmfertility.com about how fertility problems are diagnosed and treated.
Surgeries for Men
When malefactors such as varicocele or vas deferens blockages are to blame for a couple’s infertility, surgical intervention may be required. Men can have blockages surgically removed or correct the widening of the veins in the scrotum to make it easier to conceive. Some fertility clinics have specialized surgeons on staff, while others can offer referrals to other offices if men need surgical treatments.
Getting Rid of Infections
Certain types of infections can influence male fertility rates. Research has shown that infections as diverse as Chlamydia, trachomatis, hepatitis B, tuberculosis, Streptococcus faecalis, and even mumps can all influence male fertility rates. The good news is that many of these infections can be treated with common antibiotic or antiviral medications.
Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction
Men with erectile dysfunction face several barriers when attempting to conceive with their female partners. Medications are available to treat some forms of erectile dysfunction. Some men also find that counseling is a more efficient and less invasive way to handle problems with sustaining an erection or problems with ejaculation.
Fertility Drugs for Women
Women who experience decreased fertility due to hormone imbalances or ovulation disorders may benefit from taking fertility drugs. Commonly-prescribed female fertility drugs include clomiphene citrate, which is prescribed for ovulation disorders; ganirelix acetate, an injected drug designed to prevent early ovulation; cabergoline or bromocriptine, which are both used to target pituitary tumors causing ovulation problems; and injected hormones to trigger ovulation. In some cases, these drugs are prescribed in conjunction with other fertility methods.
Women suffering from endometriosis or blocked fallopian tubes may require surgical intervention if they want to become pregnant. Surgical treatment for endometriosis involves removing any uterine tissue growing outside of the uterus.
The intervention for blocked fallopian tubes, known medically as a salpingostomy procedure, involves repairing the blocked tube to increase a woman’s chances of resuming healthy ovulation. In some circumstances, a surgeon might instead recommend a bilateral salpingectomy, or full removal of both fallopian tubes, to improve a woman’s chances of success using other fertility techniques like in vitro fertilization (IVF).
In Vitro Fertilization
During this much more involved procedure, a fertility specialist will remove eggs from the female member of the couple and sperm from the male member and combine them in a lab setting. Once the egg has been fertilized, it is allowed to grow in the lab for up to five days before being implanted directly into the woman’s uterus.
IVF is the treatment modality of choice for women with diminished ovarian reserve, tubal factors, or endometriosis. It is also recommended for couples with severe malefactors and those with multiple combined factors.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) isn’t as well-known as IVF, but it’s a common procedure and is often recommended, especially by insurance companies, before IVF. It involves collecting sperm and placing it directly into the uterus during ovulation. It’s most appropriate for situations where women are experiencing cervical factors that influence their fertility or men have low sperm counts or motility.
It’s important to note that other coexisting female factors can impact the success rates of IUI. Women with endometriosis, ovulation dysfunction or problems with their fallopian tubes don’t generally respond as well to IUI.
Ovulation induction is used to treat women with ovulation dysfunction. It involves using a prescription medication, either taken in pill form or injected, to induce ovulation under controlled conditions. Women who are not suffering from a diagnosable ovulation disorder may benefit from ovulation induction, as well, as it allows them to induce multiple ovulation, which increases their chances of producing a viable egg.
The Bottom Line
The first step toward finding the right treatment for infertility is always to schedule an appointment with a specialist. Both male and female members of couples must undergo testing, as the results of those tests will give doctors the information they need to make an informed recommendation.
It’s normal to be a little nervous before heading in for fertility testing, but don’t take the results personally. The point of testing isn’t to place blame on one member of the couple over the other. It’s to determine the underlying causes of infertility so that they can be adequately treated.