Fertility treatments to try when you need help conceiving

If you’re struggling with infertility and need help getting pregnant, there are fertility treatments that can help increase your chances of having a baby. Thanks to technology, there are now lots of ways to help people with all kinds of fertility issues, however, the options that are best for you depend on your personal situation and what’s causing your infertility.

If you and your partner are among the 20-25 percent of couples who deal with infertility, you already know that coping with problems conceiving can be hard. And though fertility treatments can go a long way towards helping you get pregnant, there’s a good chance that navigating all the options might just add to your stress level. So having a quick overview of the choices can help.

From experience, it is not unusual that you discover that just one person needs treatment, and at other times both partners will use a combination of treatments together.

Fertility treatments often include medications that help with hormones and ovulation, sometimes combined with minor surgical procedures.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) describes several kinds of procedures that can help you have a baby. It includes procedures that make it easier for sperm to fertilise an egg, and help the egg implant in your uterine lining.

There are often less invasive, low-cost fertility treatment options available that give you a good chance of success. With the continued advances in reproductive medicine, In-vitro Fertilisation or IVF has become a highly successful treatment for infertility. In IVF, eggs are taken from your ovaries and fertilised by sperm in a lab, where they develop into embryos. Then a doctor transfers the embryos into your uterus.

It is true that IVF treatments are sophisticated and can be a costly option, particularly for patients lacking any sort of health insurance for fertility. However, there are many patients that believe that IVF provides their only chance of ever having a baby.

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For you and millions of other couples, this may not be the case. There are a few specific indications for needing IVF, such as absent or damaged fallopian tubes, preimplantation genetic testing, male factor, or unsuccessful attempts with less invasive treatments, among others.

There are other options such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), healthy sperm is collected and inserted directly into your uterus when you’re ovulating. Artificial insemination involves placing sperm from your partner or a donor inside your reproductive tract during ovulation to help you get pregnant.

In IUI, instead of just injecting sperm into the reproductive tract, a thin catheter is used to place sperm directly in the uterus close to the fallopian tubes, upping the chances that sperm will meet the egg. The procedure can be ideal if the woman is of a younger age, where you are dealing with marginally low sperm counts or poor sperm motility, or perhaps a single woman who wants to become a mother on your own. It is a good first option for those with unknown fertility issues.

Cryopreservation (aka freezing your eggs, sperm, or embryos), egg or embryo donation, and gestational carriers (aka surrogacy) are also forms of ART.

Donor sperm, donor eggs, and surrogates are often used by single people who want to have a baby. You can also use sperm and/or eggs from a donor if a problem with your own sperm cells or eggs is causing infertility issues.

Your initial female fertility evaluation as a woman includes an assessment of the uterus and fallopian tubes. It is known that uterine fibroids are common non-cancerous gynecologic tumours in women and are often diagnosed in women having difficulty conceiving. Uterine polyps are also commonly detected in women seeking fertility care.

Both fibroids and polyps inside the uterine cavity can interfere with implantation and removing them can restore fertility. However, damaged or blocked fallopian tubes can also cause infertility, but an x-ray test called an HSG is effective to check if the fallopian tubes are normal.

Ovulation problems are among the other issues with women that are having trouble getting pregnant. Being overweight or underweight can also be a factor as both contribute to ovulation abnormalities and subsequently to trouble conceiving. For overweight women, losing some weight can restore normal ovulation, without further fertility treatment.

Being underweight can also see a return of regular menstrual cycles with some reasonable weight gain. One common treatment for women with irregular ovulation is ovulation induction. It involves you taking oral medication and then having an ultrasound to determine how the ovaries responded to the medication. The method can be combined with intercourse timed around expected ovulation or coordinated with an IUI procedure.

While some patients have an absolute indication for IVF, many will not. There are low-cost fertility treatment options for patients. Oftentimes, medical treatment of a hormonal imbalance or correction of a metabolic disturbance can improve reproductive function.

Surgical removal of fibroids and polyps from inside the uterine cavity can also increase the chance of pregnancy. Ovulation induction or superovulation treatments cost a fraction of IVF treatments and can achieve pregnancy rates close to those of fertile couples.

Before starting fertility treatment, approach a qualified general practitioner because a thorough assessment of your general health, ovarian function, and hormonal balance is needed. Detection and treatment of conditions such as thyroid disease and high prolactin levels can restore normal reproductive function for you.

Talking with a fertility specialist can help you figure out which treatments are best for you. Your family doctor or gynaecologist can refer you to a fertility specialist.

Screening for and correcting metabolic abnormalities can also improve reproductive and overall health. For men, a semen analysis is essential to evaluate any problems with sperm production or function.

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