According to the Center for Disease Control, about 12 percent of the American population of childbearing years is infertile. At about 7.3 million people, it’s likely that you might know someone struggling with infertility. If you’re finding it difficult to conceive, then you know the toll it can take on your emotional and mental wellbeing. Fortunately, there are more fertility treatments available than ever. Many couples worry that issues with conceiving may mean they will need IVF. While in some cases that may be the best course of treatment, lots of couples have a number of other fertility treatment options. If it seems overwhelming to pick the right one for you and your partner, then connecting with a specialist can be a positive first step. In the meantime, here’s a quick guide to your options for fertility treatments other than IVF.
In about 20% of woman who are having trouble conceiving it is due to ovulation problems. Women who are having trouble ovulating can take medications to stimulate ovulation like clomid or letrozole. Women can take those medications and have timed intercourse around their expected time of ovulation or they can combine it with an intrauterine insemination (IUI).
Often paired with fertility medications, this method places specially prepared sperm directly into the uterus with a flexible catheter. If your partner has a low sperm count or slow-moving sperm, or if you have complications with cervical mucus or antibodies, then this can be an effective option. It’s important to note that this method can result in multiple births, in certain circumstances.
Sometimes, surgery can correct anatomical problems that prevent fertilization like blockages of the fallopian tubes or endometriosis. There are a number of abnormalities that can occur in the woman’s uterus, such as uterine septum, polyps, fibroids and scar tissue that can have an impact on fertility. These are all issues that can be surgically repaired. Its success can depend on your or your partner’s condition, as well as its severity. Although it can be less costly than some other options, it comes with downtime and discomfort as with any surgery.
In cases where male factor is the cause of infertility there are a number of different treatment options. When hormone levels may be affecting sperm count an urologist can prescribe hormone replacement or medications to increase testosterone levels and hopefully increase sperm count as a result.
Sometimes men can have a varicocele, which is an enlarged vein in the scrotum that can decrease sperm count and quality. Another issue seen in men is a blocked epididymis, which is the tube that collects and stores sperm. If it is blocked or obstructed on one side that can cause low sperm count if it is blocked on both sides that would cause zero sperm count (azoospermia). Sometimes these conditions can be surgically corrected by an urologist. Another option for severe male factor is donor sperm.
It can seem overwhelming to figure out what options for fertility treatments (IVF, IUI, etc.) are best for you and your partner. Please contact our fertility doctors to schedule a consultation at (248) 619-3100.