If you and your partner happen to be one of the 12% of couples who face infertility issues, you know that facing this and trying to solve it is a difficult task. Even though there are fertility treatments available, ones that go a long way toward making it possible to get pregnant, there is still a good chance you will experience a lot of stress during that time. Let’s take a look at the available options for couples, and a quick rundown of the most common fertility treatments.
Artificial Insemination and Intrauterine Insemination
Artificial Insemination involves the placement of sperm from your partner or a donor inside your reproductive tract. This is done during ovulation to maximise your chance of getting pregnant. If you happen to be ovulating normally, this procedure can be done without any added fertility drugs. If you have issues with ovulation, it will require said drugs to improve your chances. Intrauterine insemination is a similar procedure, but slightly more complicated. Instead of injecting sperm into the reproductive tract, a thin catheter is used to place the sperm as close as possible to your fallopian tubes, increasing the chance the sperm will reach the egg.
In Vitro Fertilisation
A famous procedure in which your eggs are fertilised using sperm in a fertility clinic or laboratory. When that happens, one or more of the embryos are transferred into your uterus with the hope it will result in a successful pregnancy.
Natural Cycle In Vitro Fertilisation
Natural cycle IVF is a type of fertilisation that bypasses the hormone injection, monitoring your natural cycle and retrieving an egg when you’re about to ovulate. Your egg can then be fertilised in a fertility clinic or laboratory, just like it’s done with traditional IVF and transferred back to your uterus.
This process involves the fertilisation of a donor egg with sperm and implantation into your uterus, a very similar procedure to IVF. The donor may be someone you know or someone you are matched with anonymously through an agency working with the clinic. Using a donor egg means you won’t have any biological relation to your baby, but you are still listed as a birth mother on record. To avoid any legal issues, you should hire a lawyer early on in the process, so you can be sure you have a legal contract between you and the donor or the donor agency. They should waive any parental rights and outline that the children born of this procedure using donated eggs are legally yours.
Surrogates carry a child for another woman or a same-sex couple. In almost all cases, the parents will undergo an IVF procedure and the embryo is implanted in the surrogate uterus. Both parents have a genetic relation to the baby, but the surrogate mother doesn’t.
This procedure involves the retrieval of 10 to 20 of a woman’s eggs in a similar way to IVF, but then flash-freezing and storing the eggs for later use. When you are ready to have a baby, you can thaw one or more of the eggs, fertilise them and implant them into your uterus.
These are usually taken when you start IVF, but they can also be taken by themselves during ovulation issues. There are oral medications like Femara and Clomid, used to stimulate the ovaries and correct any irregularities in ovulation. Both of those drugs suppress oestrogen production and boost the production of ovulation-stimulating hormones. If those meds don’t work, you can use hormone shots called gonadotropins that stimulate ovulation directly.
If you have irregular ovulation caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), then the drug Metformin may also be a possible option. It is used to treat diabetes, but it also works to sensitise insulin levels, which may help women with PCOS have more regular ovulation as a result.