Fertility treatments offer hope to millions of couples struggling with infertility. There are many reasons why a couple may have trouble getting pregnant, ranging from age-related decline in fertility, medical conditions such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and male factor infertility.1 Fortunately, advances in technology have made it possible for many couples to achieve their dream of having a child. In this blog, we'll discuss the different types of fertility treatments available and who should consider them.
Such treatments can be broadly divided into two categories: assisted reproductive technologies (ART) and surgical procedures. ART includes treatments such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and intrauterine insemination (IUI).2 These treatments are typically used when there is a problem with ovulation, sperm quality, or tubal blockage.2 Surgical procedures such as tubal surgery and testicular sperm extraction (TESE) are used to correct physical problems that prevent conception.3
So, Who Should Consider Fertility Treatments?
The answer depends on many factors, including age, the length of time you've been trying to conceive, and the cause of your infertility. In general, if you've been trying to get pregnant for a year or more and have been unsuccessful, it may be time to consider fertility treatments.4
- Women opting for delayed motherhood - If you're over 35, you may want to start the evaluation process sooner, as fertility declines significantly after this age.5
- History of abdominal or pelvic surgery - Abdominal or pelvic surgeries, including those for ectopic pregnancy (when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus) 6, can potentially affect women's fertility. This is due to the formation of scars, adhesions, and possible damage to reproductive organs.7
- Underlying medical conditions - In addition to surgical factors, infertility in women can also be caused by various other factors, such as hormonal imbalances, ovulatory disorders and endometriosis. 1
It's thus important for women who are experiencing difficulty getting pregnant to undergo a comprehensive evaluation to determine the underlying cause of their infertility. Based on the results of this evaluation, they can discuss various treatment options with their healthcare provider, such as in-vitro fertilisation. Let's now learn about fertility treatments you can opt for and their benefits.
Types Of Fertility Treatments
a) In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF): A Popular And Effective Option
IVF is a highly sought-after fertility treatment, but its effectiveness largely depends on egg freezing, a critical yet underestimated component.8 IVF success rates heavily depend on the quality and quantity of eggs retrieved, which can be a challenge for women approaching their mid-30s or older.8 By freezing eggs at a younger age, women can increase their chances of success with IVF later in life. In fact, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine now considers egg freezing a standard and acceptable method of fertility preservation. 9
Additionally, frozen eggs can be used for other fertility treatments such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and donor egg IVF. 10 During the IVF process, eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a lab.11 The resulting embryos are then transferred to the uterus. So, for women who are contemplating postponing childbearing or experiencing medical conditions affecting their fertility may want to contemplate egg freezing as an option.
b) Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): A Less Invasive Alternative
Another option is IUI, where sperm is directly inserted into the uterus during ovulation.12 This can be done with or without fertility medications.12 The success rate of IUI is lower than that of IVF, but it's less invasive and also less expensive.
c) Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): A Solution For Male Factor Infertility
For couples dealing with male factor infertility, ICSI may be the best option. In this procedure, a single sperm is injected directly into the egg to fertilise it.13 This is done in a lab, and the resulting embryos are transferred to the uterus. Thus, in cases where there are concerns with sperm motility or quantity, ICSI has a higher success rate than traditional IVF.14
To sum up, fertility treatments offer a ray of hope for couples dealing with infertility. However, it is vital to comprehend the potential risks and consult a qualified specialist. Thanks to technological advancements, procedures such as IVF, IUI, and ICSI are now both effective and safe. LifeCell's OvaVault offers a convenient way to preserve fertility potential with planned oocyte cryopreservation. However, a reproductive health check with LifeCell OvaScore is recommended before opting for OvaVault (You can refer to our blogs on OvaScore to know more about it.) Remember, with perseverance and careful consideration, couples can take control of their fertility journey and achieve their dream of starting a family.