Infertility is a disease characterized by the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months. It is not uncommon, as infertility affects 1 in 8 couples. If you or someone you know is having trouble getting pregnant, there are several options if you decide to seek medical intervention. Approximately 85-90% of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy or surgical procedure. Less that 3% need advanced reproductive technologies such as IVF.
There are many reasons a couple may struggle with infertility. Before starting a fertility treatment, an assessment of general overall health, ovarian function, and hormonal balance should be conducted. The diagnosis and treatment of conditions, such as thyroid disease and metabolic abnormalities, can improve or restore reproductive functions in women. Women with irregular ovulation can take medication to aid in egg development. It is important to discuss all of your options with a fertility specialist.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the placing of sperm into a woman’s uterus when she is ovulating. Once an assessment has been completed on each individual, your doctor may recommend IUI. This treatment is only for couples with unexplained infertility, minimal male factor infertility, and women with cervical mucus problems. IUI may also be done in conjunction with ovulation-stimulating drugs.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a technique where a woman’s eggs and a man’s sperm are combined in a special laboratory in order to create an embryo. IVF has been proven to be highly successful, but it much more invasive than other treatments, such as the ones above. This type of treatment is for those with absent or damaged fallopian tubes, desire for preimplantation genetic testing, severe male factor, or unsuccessful attempts with less invasive treatments.
Infertility does not always mean IVF. Make sure to speak with you doctor or fertility specialist about less invasive options and if they are right for you.