Some disorders that cause infertility can be treated with surgery, lifestyle changes, or medicine, allowing pregnancy to take place. But for others, more advanced treatments may be needed to conceive a baby.
Fortunately, there are many options available. Hormonal medicines, insemination procedures, and advanced reproductive technologies have led to the births of more than a million babies in the US.
Types of infertility treatment cycles
Professional Involved: RE | Technology: Low | Cost: Low – Intermediate
In OI, hormonal medications are commonly used in two ways: 1) to help induce ovulation in a person who does not ovulate regularly; or 2) to stimulate the ovaries to produce more than one follicle per cycle, leading to the release of multiple eggs. Depending on a couple’s needs, the first type of OI may be be combined with timed intercourse or intrauterine insemination (IUI) as an initial infertility treatment.
The second type of OI is also called controlled ovarian stimulation (COS). COS is a step in most IVF treatments.
There are many medications that can be used in ovulation induction. Two of the most known are:
- Estrogen-blocking oral medications usually given to stimulate follicle growth
- Gonadotropins, injectable medications that promote the development and maturation of one or more follicles
Others are available and may be recommended by your doctor depending on your situation and needs.
Professionals Involved: RE, Andrologist | Technology: Low | Cost: Intermediate
In this in-office procedure, high-quality sperm are placed in the cavity of the uterus using a fine catheter passed through the cervix. This positions the sperm closer to the egg, increasing the chance of fertilization.
IUI ensures accurate timing of sperm in the uterine cavity and bypasses any hostile effects of cervical mucus on the sperm.
Professionals Involved: RE, Andrologist, Embryologist | Technology: High | Cost: High
ART refers to procedures that occur outside the human body, involving both eggs and sperm or embryos, with the purpose of conceiving. Following female hormonal stimulation, sperm and eggs are collected, combined, and fertilized in your clinic’s lab, outside of the female body. A potentially viable embryo is then transferred into a woman’s uterus, usually 3-5 days after fertilization. Remaining embryos can be cryopreserved (frozen).
In-vitro fertilization is the most common ART procedure, but other options may be more successful for some people.
Depending on your fertility challenges, one or more of these treatments, in sequence, can help you achieve pregnancy. Some people begin with the low-cost, basic treatments and advance to more aggressive therapies if needed. For others, advanced treatments may be recommended from the start because of their infertility diagnosis or age.
Talk to your doctor to determine which course of treatment is right for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions—creating a discussion guide can help organize your thoughts and keep you on track during your appointment.
Up to 90% of infertility cases are treated with conventional medical therapy such as medication or surgery
Know your options for stateside infertility services, and how to preserve your fertility before deployment.
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