Friday, July 13, 2012

Finding Fertility Treatments - What Are My Options?

The world of fertility treatments is growing more and more with each passing week, month, and year. With more advanced treatments being discovered all the time, the successful pregnancies that are yielded from new-age treatments have been growing in number consistently. But finding the treatment that will be of supreme benefit to you is a bit harder to do than most people think. The best way to make an accurate decision about what type of treatment to pursue is to educate yourself on all of your options. Education is key because there are a number of different treatments, many of which have strikingly similar qualities and procedures. Listed below are all of the most relevant procedures as well as a little bit of information about how they work and what they look to help fix or cure. Aside from these treatment options you should also consider fertility drugs, a topic we touch on in a newer article on this blog.

IUI Treatment

IUI, which stands for intrauterine insemination, is one of the more popular treatments to remedy trouble with conception and it works fairly easily. The process begins by collecting a sample of sperm from a male partner or sperm from a donor. Once the sperm is collected it is prepared and washed so that it can be directly placed into the cervix of the female partner. Once the sperm is placed into the woman’s cervix correctly, the sperm fertilizes her eggs and ideally a healthy pregnancy will ensue. A couple may need to pursue IUI (also known as AI in some circles) because the male partner is non-existent or is simply unable to naturally fertilize his partner’s eggs. Your doctor will be able to give you much more insight as to why IUI may or may not be the right treatment option for you and your partner.

IVF Treatment

In vitro fertilization, more commonly referred to as IVF Treatment, is one of the few treatments that couples are aware of prior to receiving any type of treatment. The reason most people and couples know about IVF treatment is because it is arguably the most widely used and most successful treatment in existence. To put it simply, the process of IVF involves retrieving both a female egg and male sperm and then proceeding to fertilize the egg with the sperm outside the body. Once the egg is fertilized it is then placed back inside the woman in hopes that a normal, healthy pregnancy will ensue. IVF is utilized by couples for a wide variety of reasons which include reproductive issues with the male partner, the female partner, or both. Also, in the case where a woman is using donor sperm, or a male is using donor eggs, IVF is often the go-to fertility treatment; mainly because it has success rates that dwarf those of most other treatments.


ICSI Treatment

ICSI treatment is mentioned directly after IVF because it is so very similar to in vitro fertilization. ICSI is known in the medical community by the name intracytoplasmic sperm injection and it involves injecting one single sperm inside an egg in order to induce fertilization. This process is different than IVF because the doctors are using only one single sperm to attempt to provide a successful pregnancy as opposed to a whole batch of semen that would be used in IVF. The reason many couples are forced to turn to ICSI is because the woman’s eggs are not able to be penetrated by the sperm naturally. Another reason a couple may turn to ICSI is when there is an abnormality in the shape of a male’s sperm. The shape and build of sperm is crucial in the fertilization process because without proper shape, the sperm may not be able to move around as freely as it should.

Assisted Hatching Treatment

Assisted hatching is a treatment that mainly caters to women who are advanced in age and may otherwise have no hope when it comes to becoming pregnant. As you are probably aware by now, the time is never on your side when trying to become pregnant. As we age our bodies naturally decline in fertility until one day you are no longer fertile at all. The process of Assisted Hatching involves removing some of the outer layers of the embryo in order to literally help the embryo hatch.

ZIFT Treatment

ZIFT is another type of treatment that most definitely needs to be mentioned in the same breath as IVF treatment. The reason is because ZIFT is yet another type of treatment that is a derivative of IVF. The ZIFT procedure takes an embryo that the doctors are sure is fertilized and places it directly into the female partner’s fallopian tubes. This procedure has a high rate of success simply because the doctors are able to tell whether the embryo has been fertilized or not before they place it in the fallopian tubes. If it is discovered that the embryo has not been fertilized correctly, doctors are able to stop the process and start it over again before wasting too much time.

GIFT Treatment

As logic would suggest, GIFT and ZIFT live in the same neighborhood of treatments. Like ZIFT, GIFT is also very closely related to IVF and is a newer procedure that has shown a lot of positive results. GIFT gives the woman a chance to have her eggs be fertilized while remaining inside of her body, unlike IVF where the eggs must be removed before the process begins. Women choose a GIFT treatment because it is as close to a natural pregnancy that you are able to get because the eggs are being fertilized within your body. The health of your eggs will be monitored closely by ultrasound the entire time and doctors will be able to see firsthand how things are coming along. Unlike an IVF treatment, patients receiving GIFT will be able to be treated and go home all in the same day; a luxury that most other treatments do not provide. This may seem like a lot of information about treatments to take in, but you have to realize that this is just scratching the surface. More and more remedies are being discovered and improvements are being levied upon the treatments that have been around for quite some time. To put it simply, the expanding world of treatments that remedy fertility issues means that there are more and more options able to be delivered to couples who, in the past, would feel like there were no more options.