Is Pregnancy A Major Challenge?
Starting a family should feel like a natural part of life, but for many, getting pregnant could be a challenge. Most couples that try to get pregnant should do so within a year. Yet, some struggle well past this timeframe. A visit to the doctor could mean the dreaded infertility label, an issue affecting 6% of American couples. Luckily, there is a range of treatment techniques, like IUI, that can help.
Reasons for infertility
Complications could be preventing pregnancy from happening naturally. For instance, there could be a hormonal imbalance in one or both parties. Some women could have blockages like PCOS, fibroids, or endometriosis. On the other hand, men could have poor sperm quality and quantity, blockages, or erectile dysfunction. Treatment seeks to work around these issues to improve the chances of pregnancy.
Is IVF the only option?
IVF falls under the umbrella of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). The goal is to help the egg and sperm successfully meet and implant in the womb. IVF involves extracting eggs from the woman along with sperm from the man. Both are combined in a special facility to create mature embryos. The best embryo is then implanted and monitored for pregnancy. Because of the popularity of IVF, there is a perception that this is the only means to pregnancy. But some couples can benefit from IUI.
Try some IUI
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a technique that has several advantages. First, IUI is an efficient, cost-effective treatment option for male factor infertility, endometriosis, or ovulation issues. With IUI, a fertility doctor places a sperm sample directly into the uterus to fertilize the egg. A fertility clinic will acquire a sperm sample from the hopeful father or a donor. The sample is washed and prepared so the strongest sperm can fertilize the egg. The doctor will then insert the sperm sample using a catheter. From there, the woman is monitored for pregnancy after 14 days.
Medication can help
Medication can help with ovulation problems or increase sperm count and quality. For instance, clomiphene citrate in pill form can help women with irregular cycles or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The drug is sometimes prescribed as an off-label treatment for male infertility. Other helpful medications include gonadotropins or metformin for women with PCOS.
Your doctor may consider surgery
Sometimes, there is an underlying condition that can be corrected with surgery. A typical example is the surgical treatment of varicocele in men, which increases pregnancy within one year. For women, surgery can help with issues like endometriosis, fallopian tube blockages, fibroids, and PCOS. Some women can also benefit from an HSG exam. A special dye passes through the uterus and fallopian tubes. HSG can clear minor blockages, improving pregnancy rates. A fertility doctor will decide the best surgical procedure based on the patient’s diagnosis.
Lifestyle changes as a fertility treatment
Simple changes could end up being an effective infertility treatment. For instance, studies show that maintaining a healthy weight can significantly improve pregnancy chances. Removing alcohol, tobacco use, and even excess caffeine can improve fertility. At the same time, a nutritious diet, moderate exercise, and even supplementation can boost pregnancy rates.
Explore all your options
With infertility or subfertility, IVF is not the only option. Some patients will benefit from medication, surgery, or a holistic approach to improving fertility. Severe cases will still need reproductive assistance. IUI is effective, especially for male factor infertility or unexplained infertility. If these fail, then IVF can help. Trust in a fertility doctor to use the best course of action for the best results.