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A Guide on All the Available Fertility Treatments

A Guide on All the Available Fertility Treatments

Infertility is difficult news for any couple. Luckily, thanks to advanced medicine and technology, there are a lot of fertility treatments on the market. That doesn’t necessarily mean that every treatment is right for everyone. While there are more common treatments than others, all of them were developed in conjunction with specific issues in mind that may lead to infertility. 

For instance, there are different treatments for men than women because infertility does not always lie within the female. Sometimes it can be the male in a relationship that is infertile but luckily there are treatments for them as well. 

It can be overwhelming. That’s why this is your ultimate guide to the available fertility treatments. 

What Is a Fertility Treatment?

Fertility treatment is any of the treatment plans to address infertility. To determine that your or your significant other is infertile you must be assessed and diagnosed by a doctor. There are several reasons why someone could be infertile and that would determine the type of treatment you will receive. 

Treatments can come in all different forms such as lifestyle changes. medications, procedures (surgical and non-surgical), weight loss, and a few other pathways. These are meant to assist in solving the issue that is keeping you from having a child. 

Types Of Fertility Treatments 

types of fertility treatments

Through the different types of treatments mentioned above are a vast array of different fertility treatments offered to a woman or man. Some are more common like IVF or using an egg donor, but these don’t always work for everyone. 

Let’s break down the different options:

For Women

These are the treatments that are only offered for women. 

In Vitro Fertilization

In Vitro Fertilization or commonly known as IVF is the process of combining eggs and sperm outside the body to be later injected into the uterus. While it is one of the most well-known treatments out there it is also the most expensive resulting in only about 5 percent of couples going down that pathway. It is sort of like a last resort effort unless serious issues arise from the beginning. 

It can treat:

  • Endometriosis
  • Fallopian Tube/Uterus Issues
  • Low Sperm Count
  • Ovulation Issues
  • Genetic Diseases
  • Poor Quality Eggs
  • Antibody Issues that Harm Eggs/Sperm
  • Other Undefined Issues

Artificial Semination

Similar to IVF but less complicated, artificial semination is the process of injecting the sperm directly into the uterus, fallopian tubes, or cervix of a woman. It can be used in cases of poor sperm quality, endometriosis, or even poor receptive cervical mucus-related issues. 

Using an Egg Donor

Through this process a woman who may not be capable of having a baby because her eggs or embryos are infertile, an egg donor can donate their eggs and or embryos to that woman to be used instead. This is common for women over 40 whose eggs may be a little worse in quality than 10 years ago. The process itself is similar to IVF. 

Checking For Blocked Fallopian Tubes

The more complicated name for this is hysterosalpingogram. This procedure uses an x-ray to check out your uterus and fallopian tubes to see if anything is blocking them. The way it works is that a tube gets inserted into your cervix to release iodine which allows the x-ray to see what’s going on. It feels very similar to the process of getting an IUD inserted. 

Tubal Cannulation

If your fallopian tubes do end up showing they are blocked you may be able to do tubal cannulation. The tube that is inserted is called a catheter. It is guided over a wire to the correct spot and opens up the blockage with either a balloon or the wire. 

Tubal Ligation Reversal

This is a surgical procedure that reverses a procedure in which you have had your tubes tied to prevent yourself from having kids. Only certain women will be able to qualify for this procedure so a medical exam by your doctor will be required. 

Surrogate Mother

Using a surrogate mother means that you will be giving your sperm and eggs to another woman who will carry and birth your baby for you. This is done because of health complications that could lead to losing the child or mother during the pregnancy or birth. In the case when the eggs and sperm are injected this is IVF. However, sometimes the process just uses artificial semination. 

For Men

Sometimes the reason for infertility can be sole because of the male partner or a combination of the male and women having infertility issues. These treatments are for the male organs. 

Vasectomy Reversal 

Along the same lines as untying the fallopian tubes, a vasectomy can be reversed but is often a more complicated procedure than the vasectomy itself. Essentially the tubes that were cut or blocked need to either be sewed back together or attaching the tubes to the back of the testicles where the sperm is held. 

Semen Analysis

This is like having an egg analysis to see if you have good quality and a high sperm count. If either of these are poor this could be the result of having a difficult time getting pregnant. The process is easy and you just provide a sample to your doctor.

Boosting Sperm Count and Quality

If you do have a lower sperm count or they are of poor quality, there are several things that your doctor may suggest to boost either one. 

  • Eat Healthy
  • Exercise
  • No Smoking or Drugs
  • Ease Stress

What Is The Most Effective Fertility Treatment?

This answer depends on where the fertility issue is lying. As noted, certain treatments are for women whereas the others are for men. Generally speaking, the most effective treatments for both men and women are either artificial insemination, intrauterine insemination, or in vitro fertilization. 

  • Artificial insemination reported up to 40 percent success for women up to the age of 40 within six tries. 
  • Intrauterine Insemination reported a 5 to 20 percent success rate per try in women under the age of 40.
  • In vitro fertilization reported a 54 percent success rate in women under 35 and a 26-40 percent success rate for women 35-40. Lastly, women 41 and older reported a 4-13 percent success rate. 

How Much Do Fertility Treatments Cost?

How Much Do Fertility Treatments Cost

Here is the average breakdown of costs per fertility treatment discussed above. 

  • IVF- $10,000-$17,000 per cycle pre-medication, post medication upwards $25,000 per cycle 
  • Artificial Insemination- $300-$1,000 per cycle.
  • Vasectomy Reversal- $3,000- $15,000
  • Semen Analysis- $16-$40
  • Surrogate Mother- $90,000- $130,000 
  • Tubal Ligation Reversal- May be covered with insurance, can cost upwards of $6,000.
  • Tubal Cannulation- $500-$1,000

Fertility Treatments Side Effects

fertility treatments side effects

Fertility drugs in general will have more mild side effects than any of the surgical procedures or injections. However, each medication, injection, or surgical procedure may elicit different types of side effects. It also will depend on your reaction and how much medication you are taking. 

Here are some of the more common medications and their side effects: 

Letrozole

This drug is used for fertility but is more commonly known for its use to fight breast cancer. However, it works similarly to Clomid (another popular medication) by blocking estrogen receptors. 

Some women have reported the following side effects.

  • Tiredness
  • Bloating/Cramping
  • Hot Flashes
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Blurry Vision
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Spotting
  • Breast Tenderness

Clomid

Very similar to Letrozole, your body blocks the estrogen receptors which makes it think It isn’t producing enough estrogen. The side effects you would experience with this drug would be the same if you were producing low estrogen. 

Some women have reported the following side effects.

  • Weight Gain
  • Bloating/Cramping
  • Hot Flashes
  • Mood Swings
  • Blurry Vaginal Dryness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Spotting
  • Breast Tenderness

IVF and Injections

As explained IVF is a series of injections, similar to IUI or AI. These produce similar side effects among all three with possible minor variations. 

Some women have reported the following side effects.

  • Nausea
  • Bruising/Soreness
  • Hot Flashes
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Blurry Vision
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Breast Tenderness
  • Possible Pelvic Infections
  • Twins/Triplets

Fertility Treatment FAQs

Trying to have a child is always going to be a monumental chapter in your life. That’s why when dealing with infertility and fertility treatments knowing more about your options and your health is important. 

While there is so much information available here are some of the more common questions asked when it comes to fertility treatments.

How Will I Know Which Treatment Is Right For Me?

Certain treatments as we know will target specific issues. But in order to go down the right path of treatment options, you will need to have an OB-GYN perform an analysis to adequately understand what is going on. Sometimes it can be easy for a couple to want to go right to IVF because of its success rate when really another method will work just fine and not cost as much. 

Do Insurance Plans Cover Fertility Treatment?

This will completely depend on the type of treatment you are using and the type of insurance plan you have. For instance, most insurance companies will consider fertility treatments as not medically necessary. This is why many parents end up paying out of pocket for these fertility plans. However, something like a semen analysis may be covered by your insurance policy because it is most similar to a checkup. 

When Should We Seek Help From A Doctor?

This is also sort of dependent on the person and situation. For instance, if you are trying to get pregnant for a year but have been unsuccessful you may now want to consider calling your doctor to have an analysis done. However, your doctor may ask you to analyze if you have had a miscarriage in the past, experience infections/pain in your pelvic area, your partner has already had an abnormal sperm analysis, and more. 

Any signs of abnormality during the period or menstruation cycle may have an OB-GYN consider starting an analysis on your reproductive organs earlier than the one-year mark. 

How Common Is Infertility?

The rate of infertility in the United States is not as common as catching a cold but is also not impossible either. Roughly 9 percent of men are deemed to be infertile during the reproductive years and women are slightly higher at 11 percent. 

In general, as a couple studies have shown that after one year of trying to have a baby around 12-15 percent of couples are deemed to be infertile. 

That does not mean that they can’t use fertility treatment to have kids. It means they need fertility treatments to help them in having a child. 

Final Thoughts

Even if having a baby isn’t quite on your radar, if you are planning to have children in the future, it is a great idea to start the conversation with your doctor. Regardless of whether you are going to be a single-parent or co-parent understanding what your current health is and any complications that may arise is good to work out beforehand. 

Sometimes it is as simple as lifestyle changes when it comes to healthy eating and exercising. And other times it’s a little more complicated and may require one partner to undergo some sort of procedure. 

Usually, regardless of whether the female is the cause of infertility she may be involved in the process anyways because of having to carry the child. This is why it’s a great idea to start speaking with your doctor because they can monitor your health and make any plans that will be needed for the future. This can help you save up should you need to use more expensive treatments like IVF or using a surrogate mother. 

Fertility treatments have come a long way and are more commonly used in today’s society when dealing with infertility issues.