Regardless of why you need professional help to start your family, the good news is that modern science continuously evolves to provide better fertility treatments. Read this article to discover which new fertility treatments are out there and how they could help you.
Depending on the cause of your fertility problems, a fertility specialist will be able to answer your questions and determine which of these options is best suited to your case. Some of the most commonly used fertility treatments include:
- Fertility drugs
Clomiphene and gonadotropins are two of the drugs that are most commonly prescribed to boost fertility. They work by regulating your reproductive hormones and increasing the number of eggs that are released per cycle. These drugs can have side effects such as hot flashes, pelvic pain, mood swings, and ovarian cysts. They also increase the odds of conceiving twins (or more!).
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
During this treatment, a thin catheter is inserted in your uterus through your cervix. Then sperm from your partner or a donor is placed directly inside your uterine cavity; this is done when you’re ovulating. In many cases, patients take fertility drugs before IUI to improve their chances of conceiving.
After taking fertility drugs, several eggs are retrieved from your ovaries. Your partner or a donor provides a sperm sample, which is combined with the eggs in a laboratory. If fertilization is successful, the fertilized egg is allowed to grow in the lab for three to five days. Then the resulting embryos are transferred directly into your uterus for implantation. When more than one embryo is transferred, the risk of having a multiple pregnancy can be as high as 29 percent.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection
In some cases, sperm will have to be retrieved directly from your partner’s testicle using a very thin needle after applying local anesthesia. Once this is done, a single sperm cell is injected directly into the cytoplasm of the egg, which has been retrieved beforehand. If fertilization is successful, the embryo is later transferred into the woman’s uterus.
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Science and medicine are constantly evolving and improving. As a result, new fertility treatments are being developed and undergoing clinical trials every day to provide new pregnancy options. Some of the newest fertility treatments include:
- Ovarian cryopreservation
This procedure consists of excising a part of ovarian tissue and preserving it by freezing for future transplantation. New studies have shown promising results using this treatment. It could be helpful for women who’d like to delay motherhood or for patients who need medical treatments that can affect their future fertility, such as cancer patients.
Many women who have undergone the procedure have been able to regain their natural fertility or have conceived through IVF. The treatment could even restore hormonal levels back to normal.
- In-vitro maturation (IVM)
IVM is similar to IVF; however, while IVF uses already-matured eggs and sperm, IVM retrieves immature eggs that are then matured in a lab under very specific conditions. After a maturation process of approximately 48 hours, the eggs are fertilized.
Then the patient gets a course of injections that are meant to mature the endometrium, which is where embryos implant. After this, the embryos are transferred into the uterus. This procedure is more affordable than IVF and can be attempted with higher frequency since the patient receives fewer hormonal injections.
- Hysterosalpingography with oil contrast
Hysterosalpingography is a diagnostic procedure that assesses a woman’s fallopian tubes. Recently, a study showed that flushing the fallopian tubes with an oil-based contrast can improve fertility.
Pregnancy for same-sex couples usually involves the use of a donor and, in some cases, a surrogate.
This is an option for gay male couples who’d like to start their own family. The egg can be donated by a loved one, or a donor can be contacted through a fertility center. One or both partners can provide sperm. The eggs are fertilized through IVF, and a surrogate carries the pregnancy to term. Egg donation is also an option for women who don’t have viable eggs but would still like to become pregnant.
- Sperm donation
This procedure can be used to achieve pregnancy in lesbian couples, women who are pursuing single motherhood, or couples in which the man is infertile. Donated sperm can be used for IUI or IVF.
Regardless of your relationship, or if you want to be a single parent, adoption can be a beautiful way to start your family.
Both eggs and embryos can be frozen for future use. Egg freezing, known scientifically as mature oocyte cryopreservation, can be an option for women to preserve their fertility if they’re not ready to get pregnant but would like to start a family in the future.
It can be used by women who need to undergo a treatment that could affect their fertility or if you want to preserve younger eggs for a higher chance of conceiving at a later age. A fertility specialist will be able to determine whether you’re a good candidate for this procedure.
No one wants to go through fertility problems, but fortunately, new fertility treatments have made it much more likely for patients to achieve their dreams of starting a family. As science becomes more advanced, new fertility solutions have become more specialized and successful. If you’re struggling with infertility, a specialist will be able to determine the type of fertility treatment that’ll make it easier for you to conceive.