Many causes of male and female infertility can be successfully overcome using a range of treatment options. Once your infertility testing has been completed, your physicians will review the results and recommend a treatment plan. This plan may include one or more treatment alternatives including ovulation induction to enhance the production of healthy eggs, minimally invasive surgery to correct or improve anatomical abnormalities, intrauterine inseminations (IUI) to enhance sperms ability to fertilize the egg, or the more advanced care using the assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (ivf). You have a number of choices, so you and your doctor should devise a treatment plan, starting with the least invasive options first. Your impulse may be to head straight for the most advanced treatments such as IVF, thinking you'll get pregnant faster. But less invasive therapies, such as fertility drugs or surgery, are often very effective. In fact, about 90 percent of couples with fertility problems who have children were treated with drugs or surgery only.
Some of the options we provide at Houston IVF are, from the least to the most invasive:
• Fertility drugs:
If your hormones are out of balance or in short supply, these drugs — for women and men — can get your reproductive system back on track. They might even help if the cause of your fertility problem is unknown. And you can take them in conjunction with another treatment such as artificial insemination.
• Artificial insemination:
If your partner's sperm just need help getting to your egg, placing a concentrated dose of sperm in your uterus at the proper time will improve your odds of getting pregnant.
If you have blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, fibroids, genetic defects, or ovarian cysts, a type of minor surgery performed with a fiber-thin tube called a laparoscope can help diagnose the problem or clear the way for you to conceive. However, surgery also can be more extensive and require an incision in your abdomen. But in many cases, surgery is unnecessary, and the chances of pregnancy may be greater with other treatment options.
• Assisted reproductive technology (ART):
If the problem is a low sperm count or blocked fallopian tubes, or other treatments have failed, hi-tech procedures such as in vitro fertilization or IVF, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and, in rare cases, gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) can help you make a baby. Occasionally, your age or ovary function may require you to use an egg donor. You might even consider using a gestational carrier, or surrogate mother.