Depending on what the diagnosis is for your infertility problem, there are several different types of female infertility treatments available.
Perhaps the good news is that up to 85 percent of couples who are dealing with infertility problems can be treated using low-tech treatments such as surgery and/or medication with only about 3 percent having to move on to use ART (assisted reproductive technologies) such as IVF (in vitro fertilization).
Using Fertility Drugs to Treat Infertility
Fertility drugs, such as Gonadotropins and Clomiphene, can be used to stimulate and regulate the reproductive hormones in your body.
Some drugs are used to trigger ovulation so that one or more of your eggs are released and available for fertilization. Your fertility specialist will prescribe medication for you for about 3 to 6 months.
If you haven’t gotten pregnant by this time you may be switched to a different drug or another infertility treatment may be recommended for you.
Fertility drugs come with some side effects that you need to be aware of before starting treatment. Gonadotropins can cause bloating, skin rashes, and soreness in the pelvic area.
Clomiphene can cause hot flashes, vaginal dryness, cramping, headaches, and some vision problems. Both of these drugs increase your chances of having twins or more.
The success rate of fertility drugs is about 20 to 60 percent. Medication is often used along with artificial insemination to increase the chance of conception.
Treating Female Infertility with Surgery
Different types of surgery are used to treat some infertility problems such as to remove ovarian cysts, fibroids, or endometriosis. Surgery is also used to treat blocked or scarred fallopian tubes.
Typically a procedure known as laparoscopy is used to diagnose and treat these infertility causes. These are known as laparoscopic diagnosis and laparoscopic surgery.
Most surgeons will begin with diagnosis and if an abnormality is found will treat for this at the same time to avoid a second procedure.
There are a few slight side effects of a laparoscopy such as soreness in the abdomen region or slight pain in the shoulders and chest from the effects of the carbon dioxide that is used during surgery.
About 40 to 60 percent of women who are treated for endometriosis will go on to conceive naturally and about 20 to 85 percent treated for blocked fallopian tubes will go on to get pregnant.
Using Artificial Insemination for Infertility
Many couples use artificial insemination to conceive. In this ART procedure, a catheter is used to directly inject your partner’s sperm (or donor sperm) into your uterus.
There are few if any side effects to this procedure. For a day or so after treatment, you may feel a bit of cramping and soreness in your pelvic area. You may be required to take fertility drugs prior to the procedure.
This will not only increase your side effects but also increases your odds of more than one baby. Fertility drugs also pose the risk of OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome).
The success rates for artificial insemination are about 5 to 25 percent of couples who undergo the treatment.
Female Infertility and IVF
IVF is one of the female infertility treatments that is used around the world. During the IVF procedure, your eggs will be retrieved from your ovaries and then fertilized with your partner’s or a donor’s sperm.
Fertilization takes place in the lab. When fertilized, the eggs are inserted into your uterus where the expectation is that they’ll implant themselves in the uterine lining.
IVF is performed on the day that you ovulate so you’ll need to use an ovulation predictor kit to determine the exact day of ovulation.
Most women will take fertility drugs prior to the procedure to trigger ovulation and release more eggs. Once again the side effect of the fertility drugs combined with IVF will be the risk of multiple births and OHSS.
The success rate for couples who use IVF is about 28 to 36 percent. Most couples will need to undergo more than one IVF cycle before they conceive.
The cost of each IVF cycle is about $8,000 and $18,000 depending on your own individual treatment requirements.
GIFT for Infertility Treatment
GIFT (Gamete intrafallopian transfer) is one of the female infertility treatments where your eggs and your partner’s or donor’s sperm are combined together in the lab.
Surgery is then used to inject this mixture directly into your fallopian tubes so that the fertilization of your eggs can happen naturally in your body.
Using this procedure means that your recovery time will be longer than it is using IVF. Again you’ll need to take fertility drugs before the procedure is performed so there is the added risk of multiple births and OHSS.
Many more couples are choosing this ART procedure so that they try to conceive as naturally as possible. The success rate for couples who undergo GIFT is about 22 to 30 percent.
Advancing Infertility Treatment
Female infertility treatments are advancing all the time. This is good news for couples who are waiting until they are in their late 30s and early 40s to start a family.
No matter what your age or your infertility issue is ART increases the odds of having your own baby.
Your fertility specialist will be better able to advise you as to what treatments are best for you.