Fertility Treatments Options for Men and Women

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FERTILITY TREATMENT OPTIONS

In today’s environment, more and more couples have to opt for fertility treatments in order to start their family. With both members working in stressful jobs, and pollution levels on the rise, lifestyle issues and diseases have not only crippled physical health but have also affected the fertility of couples. However, there have been significant breakthroughs in the field of medical fertility and there are many options now available to such couples.

Best Treatments Available for Infertility

Couples have access to several treatment approaches for infertility. Some of them are,

1. Fertility Drugs

Possibly the most common method to treat infertility, these fertility drugs are the most commonly used option to combat infertility.

How Does It Work?

Fertility drugs are usually prescribed in order to ensure that one or more eggs are released in each ovulation cycle. These drugs usually contain gonadotropins or clomiphene. These drugs are usually the first fertility treatment that women will undergo and is tried anywhere from three to six months before another treatment is considered.

Success Rate

Of the two fertility drugs, clomiphene enjoys a better success rate. Almost 80% of women who take clomiphene end up becoming pregnant. Of this number, 30-40% will become pregnant by the third treatment cycle. Fertility drugs that contain gonadotropins enjoy a success rate of 15% when coupled with timed intercourse.

Pros 

It is completely un-invasive, the drugs may have side-effects but they do not require hospitalisation and these drugs, while expensive compared to other options, are the cheapest method to treat infertility.

Cons

There are some side effects to taking fertility drugs in order to conceive. These drugs will increase the chances of conceiving twins. Clomiphene is known to cause mood swings, hot flashes, pelvic pain, ovarian cysts, breast tenderness, headaches, thick and dry cervical mucus, mild depression, nausea, and visual symptoms. Gonadotropins also have multiple side effects like hot flashes, mood swings, abdominal bloating, headaches, breast tenderness, rash or swelling at the injection site, and OHSS.

Cost

Amongst the list of infertility treatments, fertility drugs may prove the cheapest short-term option. However, this treatment may last longer, which may offset the cost. This hugely depends on the person and the effectiveness of the treatment.

2. Surgery

If there is any issue with either the man or the woman that can be corrected easily with surgery, then your doctor will recommend that you get the corrective surgery. This method of treatment can help with issues like PCOD, endometriosis, genetic defects, obstructed fallopian tubes, and fibroids.

How Does It Work?

The most common type of surgery for increasing fertility includes laparoscopy and laparotomy. The former is less invasive than the latter with the use of a light camera and thin instruments with a small incision.

SURGERY

Success Rate

The success rate for this type of treatment is dependent on the type of condition and the corresponding surgery required. This is also largely dependant on how you respond to the procedure itself. Nearly 40% of women who have had the laparoscopic surgery done to treat endometriosis can become pregnant in the next year, these odds are still extremely dependant on the patients themselves.

Pros

The biggest benefit of surgery is that it can help increase the odds of pregnancy and can be used in combination with drugs to help make the treatment more efficient.

Cons

The biggest con of getting a surgery done is that it is deeply invasive, while some surgeries can be less invasive, there is always a need to cut the skin open which can cause damage. There can be post-surgical complications that cause pain or infections as well.

Cost 

As with most surgeries, the cost depends on the procedure but expect it to be considerably expensive, especially considering some, if not most, insurance agencies may not carry coverage for a particular procedure.

3. Intrauterine Insemination

A procedure known as intrauterine insemination is one of the few primary infertility treatments, this procedure is common when the woman is infertile or if the man has slow sperm.

How Does It Work?

This procedure involves extracting sperm from your partner and directly inserting it into your uterus, in ideal circumstances, the sperm is highly concentrated in one area to increase the odds of pregnancy.

Success Rate

This treatment can be slightly unpredictable, for unexplained infertility the rate of pregnancy can be as low as 7%. This is, however, one of the higher rates of success for extreme and unexplained infertility.

Pros

This treatment is not extremely invasive and the pain would largely be abdominal and would last approximately a day.

Cons

One of the biggest cons of this treatment is that it is not only expensive but the odds of success aren’t great. Considering the types of fertility treatments available on the market, this should be considered a last resort before surgery.

Cost

The cost of this treatment can go as high as a surgical procedure, for more accurate information on if you are covered for this treatment by your insurance provider, contact them. Costs for non-covered patients can be higher and depends on the hospital.

4. In-Vitro Fertilization

One of the most popular and successful methods of treating infertility, In-vitro fertilization or IVF is recommended and considered one of the best ways to treat infertility.

How Does It Work?

In this treatment, your eggs are extracted from your ovaries and in a laboratory, they are fertilized with your partner’s sperm. If this process succeeds, then embryos are formed, these embryos are then transferred into your uterus to be nurtured and slowly develop into foetuses.

IVF

Success Rate

IVF is considered the most successful method of treating infertility, the rate of success like for other treatments depends largely on the individual and the response of the egg to the sperm in an artificial setting. For IVF, age is a major factor. For women under the age of 40, the average success rate is nearly 40%, this lowers as you grow older and by 43 the success rate drops to nearly 5%.

Pros

The biggest pro is the extremely high success rate of this procedure. Apart from that, IVF is also largely not surgically invasive.

Cons

There is a realistic chance that IVF could work too well, resulting in a spike in the possibility of multiple pregnancies. Apart from that, due to the gonadotropins taken before the treatment, this procedure can lead to rashes near the injection sites. A further risk is of a condition called OHSS or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

Cost

IVF can be a long and expensive affair, often costing more than some surgeries. Please consult your doctor for an accurate pricing. The price can grow to above INR 300,000.

5. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

This is a procedure used to treat infertility in men, it is commonly used with IVF to increase the odds of a successful pregnancy. This procedure is commonly known as ICSI and helps men improve the strength and potency of their sperm count.

How Does It Work?

This procedure involves injecting a sperm into a single egg that may develop into an embryo. To do this, your partner will be put under anaesthesia, then, using a needle and syringe they will extract the sperm from your partner’s testicle and finally in a lab inject the sperm into the IVF extracted egg and incubate it till an embryo is formed.

Success Rate

This procedure is extremely successful with at least 50% of the eggs being fertilized. The chances of getting pregnant is similar to the couples that use IVF without ICSI after the egg is fertilized.

Pros

The high success rates are a huge pro in this procedure in terms of fertilizing an egg.

Cons

One of the biggest cons is the fact that after fertilization of the egg, the chances of a successful pregnancy remain the same as couples using IVF without ICSI.

Cost 

The costs remain the same as with IVF; the procedure for ICSI can cost an additional INR 60,000-INR 100,000.

6. Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer

This procedure is rarely used after the discovery of ICSI and IVF and is considered largely outdated due to the complexity of the procedure.

How Does It Work?

The GIFT method uses extracted sperm and eggs that are mixed in a lab, then laparoscopic surgery is used to insert them into your fallopian tube to allow your body to naturally get pregnant.

GIFT

Success Rate

The success rate of the GIFT procedure is about a quarter to that of IVF treatments and is now very rarely used to treat infertility.

Pros

The biggest pro for parents looking for multiple babies is the possibility of twins or triplets increases drastically due to the insertion of the number of eggs inserted into the fallopian tube.

Cons

The recovery time is exponentially longer than with IVF, it is invasive and can leave you with pain and the same gonadotropin is consumed before the procedure as with IVF which may lead to abdominal soreness or redness and rashes.

Cost

This procedure, like with most surgical procedures, can be extremely expensive and it is rarely used so consult a doctor to get an accurate pricing. In the United States of America, currently, it can go as high as $21,000.

7. Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer

A similar procedure to GIFT, ZIFT is also a dated surgical procedure rarely used after the development of ICSI and IVF.

How Does It Work?

Much like the procedure with GIFT, the doctor extracts and mixes eggs and sperm, with this procedure they ensure that a fertilized egg develops into a single cell organism before using laparoscopic surgery to insert these organisms or “zygotes” into your fallopian tube.

Success Rate

The success rate of this is about a fifth of IVF.

Pros

The pros are similar to that of GIFT, this procedure is rarely used and dated.

Cons

ZIFT has the same cons as GIFT.

Cost

It is estimated that in the USA, this procedure could cost well beyond $22,000

8. Donor Sperm & Eggs

As a last resort, you may consider donors if your partner or you are unable to have a baby with each other under any circumstances, regardless of the procedure.

How It Works?

Using IVF, you could fertilize either your egg with a donor’s sperm or a donor egg with your partner’s sperm, the procedure beyond this is like regular IVF. One change however, is with donor eggs, to prepare your body for the pregnancy, the doctor will give you regular medication that is additional during this process.

DONOR SPERM & EGGS

Success Rate

The success of this procedure depends on the freshness of the eggs and embryos. With fresh donor eggs, it can be up to 50%, with frozen the success rate drops to 38%.

Pros

Donor eggs have a high level of success.

Cons 

The process of choosing an egg or sperm can be long and tedious.

Cost

Donor eggs and sperm can be expensive, talk to a fertility expert for more accurate information.

The stigma of infertility is quickly being lifted, this means there is also a major conversation about the emotional and mental strains of infertility while going through treatments, ask your doctor for the numbers of support groups and therapists and follow all their instructions.

Also Read:

Assisted Reproductive Technology Treatment for Infertility
Ayurvedic Treatment for Infertility
IVM Treatment for Infertility

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