Different Fertility Treatment Options
For many women, having a baby is a lifelong dream, filled with hope and potential. Therefore, it can be quite shattering when discovering that fertility is harder than anticipated. It may seem like a baby is conceived at the click of finger, but this isn’t always the case. For some women, for many reasons, conception can prove to be a challenge.
Now, difficulty in conceiving a child in no way reflects anything personal about you. A lot of women can find become distressed by their inability to conceive straight away and take it personally. Infertility or fertility difficulties definitely doesn’t mean that you are not meant to be a mother or that you will be a ‘bad’ mother.
Fortunately, in today’s modern and advanced society, there are many solutions to fertility problems. Often, we assume that the only answer to infertility is medical intervention such as IVF. This is certainly a valid option that we will discuss further, but rest assured that there are other answers to your infertility issues.
To help you on your fertility journey in the face of issues and difficulties that arise, take into consideration some of these different fertility treatment options.
Just like there are pills to prevent pregnancy, there are also pills to boost fertility. Available at most pharmacies, clomiphene and gonadotropins act by regulating the reproductive hormones. They also trigger more than one egg to be released in each ovulation cycle.
You need be careful taking these, however, as they increase the chance of having twins. They work well, with about an 80 per cent success rate, but they can cause headaches and hot flashes.
Different to IVF, intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves sperm, from a donor or a partner, being deposited straight into the uterus. It done by using a catheter that passes through the cervix and right to where the action happens.
There is about a 7 to 16 per cent success rate with this procedure. It doesn’t have too many side effects, although many women experience severe cramping for the first few days after it is done.
Intro vitro fertilization
One of the most commonly known fertility aids, IVF involves the eggs being removed from the ovaries and placed in a laboratory. Here, they are mixed with partner or donor sperm to await fertilization. If successful and fertilization happens, the eggs are placed back into the uterus.
There is an increased chance of having twins if more than one embryo is taken out and put back in. Overall, IVF is highly successful with about a 40 per cent success rate. There isn’t too many negative side effects from IVF aside from some cramping and spotting when the eggs are retrieved and inserted.
Gamete / Zygote intrafallopian transfer
Gamete intrafallopian transfer is referred to as GIFT, otherwise it is quite a mouthful to say otherwise. GIFT involves the eggs and sperm being mixed in the lab before the mixture is inserted directly into the fallopian tubes. Fertilization can then occur naturally inside the body.
GIFT is quite similar to IVF, except that it has a longer recovery time as the surgery is more complex. There is about a 25 per cent success rate here.
Another one similar to GIFT is ZIFT, zygote intrafallopian transfer. Unlike GIFT, when ZIFT is done, the doctor ensures that the eggs are fertilized before they go back into the fallopian tubes. It involves a similar surgical procedure to GIFT so the recovery time is also quite long.
Donor sperm or eggs
Depending on the circumstances of infertility, sometimes donor eggs or sperm are called for. Doing this involves the fertilization the donor eggs with a partner sperm, or the donor sperm with the partner eggs. This fertilization is done in a lab and placed in the carrier womb.
This procedure can be quite costly and have larger emotional side effects, such as a feeling of detachment for not actually being genetically connected to the child. However, it is a viable solution for same sex couples or women who have damaged eggs or men who have malfunctioning sperm.
A more alternative and less medical based approach to infertility, many women swear by the success of acupuncture. This ancient Chinese medicine works in many ways, including lowering stress levels in women trying to conceive, increasing hormone levels, and boosting the chances of successful IVF or similar procedures.
Acupuncture doesn’t work for everything and it can’t ‘cure’ bigger fertility issues such as blocked fallopian tubes. It really needs to be used in conjunction with specialised medical knowledge in the fertility field.
Another more alternative and natural approach to fertility, hypnosis is quite commonly used. Beyond the idea of a magician twirling a large pendant in front of you, hypnosis is actually a recognised medical technique being taught more and more.
In terms of infertility, hypnosis works by helping to prime the body for conception by easing stress and anxiety levels and keeping the hormonal release in check. Stress releases more of the hormone cortisol which upsets the hormonal balance, therefore interfering with chances of conception. Hypnosis counteracts to increase the likelihood of conception.
There is increasing research that suggest the position of the spine plays a big factor in fertility chances. This is because the nerves that affect the reproductive system run directly through the spine. Therefore, having a straight spine can improve hormonal balance and increase the chances of getting pregnant.
With this one, it is important to remember that the research around chiropractic and fertility is still new and emerging. This means that there is no guarantee of its success and it is more of a case by case basis for success. Spinal adjustments are serious business so if going down this avenue, look for a chiropractor who is knowledgeable it being used in conjunction with fertility enhancement.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
This procedure deals with the infertility on the male side of things. Basically, it is to assist men who have a lower sperm count and are unable to fertilise an egg. It is a simple procedure where the sperm is extracted and then injected directly into the fallopian tube. and has a high success rate of over 50 per cent.
Assisted insemination (AIH)
For this one to work, it needs to use the partner’s sperm. It is recommended when intercourse isn’t working well and ejaculation is ineffective due to environmental or anatomical issues. This can be because of male impotence or female cervical issues. In this procedure, the male sperm is collected and transferred to the fallopian tube or uterus using a catheter. The technique has a 15 per cent success rate per cycle.