How Fertility Treatment Works
And the 5 Types to Try
According to the World Health Organization, infertility affects 186 million people worldwide. If you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant for at least six months with no success, it's time to consult a healthcare professional.
Infertility can be incredibly stressful and taxing on a couple. It's important to know that there are ways to help increase your fertility.
If you've started researching the subject, you might be wondering how fertility treatment works. This guide will discuss the different types of fertility treatments and which one might be best for you.
What Is Fertility Treatment?
Are you wondering, "what is fertility treatment?" Fertility treatments can include various things, such as:
- A combination of both
Fertility treatments aim to increase the chance that a woman's egg will get fertilized and successfully implanted into the uterus. Whether or not a fertility treatment is right for you depends on your underlying health conditions, goals, and age.
If you're less than 35 years of age and have been trying to conceive for at least a year, you're likely a strong candidate for fertility treatments. Fertility treatments aren't out the window if you're over 35. Your fertility decreases as you get older, but you'll likely want to seek medical intervention after six months of trying.
Other factors affecting fertility that make a person a good candidate for a fertility treatment include:
- Blocked fallopian tubes
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Unexplained fertility
- Low egg count
The partner that provides the sperm might also receive a fertility evaluation. The motility and health of their sperm will need to get assessed.
Five Different Types of Fertility Treatments
Treating infertility can include more than medications and surgeries. It can encompass other factors, like lifestyle changes and weight loss. Your doctor will create a tailored treatment plan that addresses you and your partner.
The type of fertility treatment your doctor recommends depends upon the cause of your infertility and your personal health. You and your partner might need to undergo treatment, while other times, only one person does.
1. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
According to Women & Infants, IVF didn't get its start until 1978. British doctors Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards achieved the first live birth from IVF.
Louise Joy Brown was born to parents John and Lesley Brown. Lousie wouldn't have been born without IVF because Lesley had deformed fallopian tubes.
Typically, IVF is recommended if other non-invasive methods haven't been successful. There are some scenarios where IVF is the first course of action. This might be the case for you if:
- You need a gestational carrier
- Previously frozen eggs are getting used
- You're using an egg donor
- You have blocked fallopian tubes
- Severe male infertility
IVF still might not occur in those cases until many fertility tests have been performed. IVF is a lengthy and expensive process.
The general timeline for IVF is as follows:
- Bloodwork and ultrasound
- Ovarian stimulation
- Egg maturation
- Egg retrieval
- Egg fertilization
- Embryo transfer
- Two-week wait period
- Pregnancy test
If IVF is successful, the retrieved eggs can get fertilized by sperm cells and transition into embryos. The healthy embryos, usually one or two, will get implanted into the uterus.Success Rate
IVF is a successful treatment. According to WebMD, around half of IVF procedures in women under 35 resulted in a birth. Your odds of success increase with repeated IVF cycles.Price
As we mentioned earlier, IVF isn't cheap. It's also not usually covered by health insurance plans. IVF is often an unattainable option for many prospective parents.
According to Very Well Family, the average cost of IVF starts at around $15,000. Treatment can sometimes be a few thousand dollars less, depending upon the cost of medication and other factors.Side Effects
IVF tends to be a safe fertility treatment. Like any medical procedure, there are some risks and side effects.
Some side effects include:
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
- Pelvic infection
- Ovarian bleeding
2. Laparoscopic Surgery
Your doctor might recommend laparoscopic surgery to identify and potentially remedy your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and/or uterus issues. This treatment aims to identify any problems that might be stopping you from getting pregnant. The surgery should last around 30-45 minutes.
With this treatment, your healthcare provider can treat and/or diagnose the following:
- Pelvic adhesions
- Uterine fibroids
- Fallopian tube blockage
Your doctor will make a tiny incision in your belly button. They might also make a few other small incisions in your abdominal area. This is so they can insert surgical tools and a camera to see and remove lesions, fibroids, or blockages.Success Rate
The success rate of laparoscopic surgery varies depending upon what your infertility is caused by. If you plan on having IVF even after your procedure, you might want to go straight to IVF.
The surgery enables your doctor to see what's happening in your abdomen but take biopsies of unusual cysts or growths. Addressing any lesions, cysts, or other items in your abode can help you in various ways besides infertility.Price
The cost of laparoscopic surgery ranges from $5,000 to 10,000. The final cost depends on your insurance coverage and what your doctor must remove.Side Effects
There are some side effects and risks involved with laparoscopy. The risks are:
- Allergic reaction
- Blood clots
- Hematomas and adhesions
- Nerve damage
Less than 2% of individuals with laparoscopic surgery encounter negative side effects.
3. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Another name for intrauterine insemination is artificial insemination. This procedure involves inserting washed sperm into a woman's uterus.
There are a few reasons your doctor might recommend IUI. They include:
- Male infertility
- Unexplained infertility
- Issues with the female's cervical mucus
- Donor sperm
Unfortunately, the success rate for IUI isn't high. Around 4% of women achieved pregnancy without the aid of fertility drugs. Around 8-17% of women who used fertility drugs achieved a full-term pregnancy.Price
The cost of IUI is one of its selling points. It's much lower than IVF.
The average IUI treatment costs around $895. It could cost up to $1,000 depending upon your clinic. When working with a clinic, you'll want to ensure you get a quote that includes other items, such as:
- Ultrasound monitoring
- Blood work
- Fertility drugs
IUI is a safe and simple procedure. There is a low risk of serious side effects. Some of the risks include:
- Multiple pregnancies
4. Oral Medications
Fertility drugs are an important component of any fertility treatment plan. Fertility drugs help your body release the hormones needed to regulate or trigger ovulation. Without ovulation, your body won't produce any eggs.
Clomid is the most commonly used oral medication. Doctors have been prescribing it for at least 40 years. The brand names of the drug are Serophene and Clomid.
This fertility drug blocks your estrogen production. It causes your pituitary and hypothalamus glands to release certain hormones that trigger egg production.
You typically take Clomid for around five days. Ovulation should start about a week after your last dose. If you don't start ovulating, your doctor might increase your dosage.Success Rate
It usually takes around three cycles of taking Clomid before seeing success. Around 60-80% of women will ovulate after taking Clomid. About half of that amount will achieve pregnancy.Price
The cost of Clomid depends on whether or not you're prescribed the generic or brand name drug. The cost can range from $10-100 for each cycle.Side Effects
The side effects of Clomid are mild. They include:
- Blurred vision
- Hot flashes
Clomid can also increase your likelihood of multiple pregnancies.
5. Injectable Medications
If you don't find success with Clomid, your doctor might suggest injectable medications. There are a few types of injectable hormones, including:
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
- Human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG)
The dosage of the injectable hormones varies, depending upon what they're being used to treat. Some injections are given underneath your skin. Others are injected into your muscles. You can get the shots in your upper thigh, upper arm, stomach, or buttocks.
You'll usually begin the injectable medications during your menstrual cycle. Your doctor might recommend taking Clomid with your shots.Success Rate
Injected hormones can successfully help you ovulate. Of the women who ovulate, up to 50% can achieve pregnancy.Price
The cost of injectable hormones varies from person to person. It can range from $1,500 to $6,000.
Remember that injectable hormones are also used in conjunction with other fertility treatments, like IVF. The hormones are an additional cost on top of the actual procedure.Side Effects
The side effects of injected hormones are mild. They include:
- Blood blisters
- Ovarian hyperstimulation
- Multiple births
If any side effects you experience get worse, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Get the Help You Need to Learn How Fertility Treatment Works
We hope that our guide to fertility treatments explains how fertility treatment works. If you're having fertility issues, don't get discouraged. Make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your options.
See how the Knowell supplement can help improve your fertility.