Is Infertility The End Of The Road?
A few decades ago, if a doctor determined a couple was infertile, there was no way forward. Many persons still suffer today, with 1 in 8 couples considered infertile. But as science and technology progressed, so did the chances of previously infertile couples having children. Now, a range of techniques called assisted reproductive technology has changed the game. Most individuals or couples can benefit from ART. But which approach is best?
The ART of infertility
Assisted reproductive technology or ART is any fertility treatment that involves the direct handling of an egg or sperm. For a successful pregnancy, a woman must release a mature egg during ovulation. A healthy sperm must fertilize this egg in the fallopian tube. The zygote or fertilized egg moves down to the uterus for implantation. With ART, a fertility clinic or specialist removes eggs from a woman’s body and combines them with a man’s sperm. The successful egg is placed back into the woman’s body to continue gestation. There are different types of ART used at various stages or based on the health of the patients. Here are 3 tips for choosing the right ART procedure.
Understand your current reproductive health, first
Before diving into ART, an in-depth evaluation of the patient’s reproductive health is critical. Statistics show that one-third of infertility issues are female related, one-third are male-related, and the rest is a combination of the two. If the problem is male-related, the couple can benefit from IUI. With IUI, a doctor will manually insert a washed sperm sample into the woman’s uterus around ovulation. From there, the clinic monitors for pregnancy.
Turning to IVF
If the issue is female-related, IVF or in vitro fertilization may be best. With IVF, a clinic uses fertility drugs to help the woman create more eggs. The eggs are then extracted and combined with sperm. The clinic will then implant one or more successful embryos to monitor for pregnancy. In some cases, hormone medication, called ovulation induction, is more than enough to stimulate pregnancy.
Try more advanced ART techniques, if needed
Although ART procedures help, the results are not guaranteed. Even with healthy, fertile couples, conception only has a 25% success rate. If ART was attempted prior and failed, other techniques can help. For example, for male factor infertility, ICSI, or intracytoplasmic sperm injection can help. This procedure injects one washed sperm directly into each egg, increasing the chances of fertilization. If IVF or ICSI fails, other ART options include donor eggs or donor sperm. Surrogacy, where a fertile woman carries the child for another person or couple, is the last resort.
The right assisted reproductive technology can come down to the right clinic. Choosing a fertility center with a stellar reputation, success rate, and quality of care makes a difference. Make sure to ask the right questions when selecting a center. Find out about tests, success stories, available procedures, and costing. An excellent center can make an already stressful experience smoother.
The future of your family with ART
ART can transform the fortunes of an infertile person or couple. With procedures like IVF or ICSI, persons can have a full-term pregnancy and live birth. Anyone struggling with getting pregnant should visit a reproductive specialist. From there, the clinic can assess reproductive health and recommend the best ART procedure.