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Treatment Options for Infertile Couples

For many couples, one of their dreams is to experience the joy of parenthood. Infertility sometimes may impede couples from fulfilling this dream. Infertility is the inability to conceive even after trying for a year. It is a common problem, with more than 1 million cases in India, per year. Infertility can be an exhausting and upsetting phase for a couple, but it is important to take care of your mental health during this time. If you and/or your partner is experiencing this issue, worry not, as there are many options for infertile couples. You can choose the most comfortable option for you after talking to a fertility counselor.
 
Listed down below include both treatment options for male infertility and treatment options for female infertility.
 

  • Fertility pills:
    The first option for infertile couples is usually fertility medication. These medications can treat any underlying cause of infertility and increase the couple’s chances of conceiving a baby. They are commonly used for initiating ovulation for women who do not ovulate regularly, increasing sperm production in males, increase the thickness of the uterus lining, etc. Your fertility specialist will conduct an in-depth examination and determine the right medication for you.
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  • Assisted Reproductive Technologies or ART is suggested for infertile couples who are unable to conceive even after taking fertility medication or have other factors that require advanced treatment. The most common treatment options are:
     

      1. IUI or Intrauterine insemination – This procedure is usually suggested by the doctor if there is no requirement for collecting/harvesting the egg. IUI is one of the most basic treatments in ART. In IUI fertility treatment, the partner’s sperm, after removing the seminal fluid, is transferred directly to the cavity of the uterus. Women have a chance of 15%-18% of conceiving with one cycle of IUI fertility treatment and is usually performed for a maximum of 3 attempts.
       

      2. IVF or In Vitro Fertilization – IVF is a procedure where the egg of the female and the sperm of the male are harvested. They are then sent to a lab to be combined for fertilization. After the embryo is developed, it is transferred to the uterus safely. After the implantation of the embryo is completed successfully, the female is likely to continue with her pregnancy like any other normal pregnancy. Women have a higher chance of conceiving with one cycle of IVF than with IUI.
       

      3. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) – ICSI is often combined with IVF. It can be done in all cases of IVF but specifically more useful for male factor infertility treatment. In this procedure, the eggs of the woman are harvested and sent to the IVF lab. The sperms are analyzed and then each mature egg is injected with a single sperm through a needle. This procedure requires expertise but results in still higher pregnancy rates.

     

  • Donation of egg, sperm or embryo: Sometimes with infertile couples, a partner may not be able to provide the egg or the sperm. So, a commonly recommended procedure is egg or sperm donation. With this procedure, the preservation of the genetic link is successful for one partner. If the woman is elderly or has decreased ovarian reserve or other conditions in which egg production is hampered, performing IVF-ICSI using donor eggs and husband’s sperm is an excellent option and gives good results. In a similar way, if the male partner cannot produce sperms, getting sperms from a sperm bank and performing ART can help the couple conceive. Embryo donation is recommended when both partners have low egg/sperm count or when the quality of egg/sperms is concerning. This procedure is also done when the intended parents wish to avoid transferring genetic disorders to the baby in case one or both of them carry it.
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  • Surrogacy: When a woman cannot carry the baby due to some uterine factor or health conditions, surrogacy is the next step. The embryo is developed by IVF-ICSI and is then the couple’s preferred surrogate i.e., the person who will carry the baby will have the embryo implanted in her uterus. The intended parent has two options of surrogacy.
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  • Adoption: In case the fertility treatment does not lead to a successful pregnancy or even otherwise, a couple can always choose to adopt a child. This is an excellent option as you and your partner will be impacting the life of a child in a positive and meaningful way.

 

The treatment options for female infertility and male infertility are many. You can choose the most suitable treatment option for you and your partner after consulting with a doctor. You may also go for fertility counseling. After understanding your unique fertility challenges, a fertility specialist will be able to suggest the best treatment option for you. With continuous advancements in the medical field and high success rates for infertility treatment options, your dream of building a family can be fulfilled.
 

PCOS is a very common problem among women. One out of every 5 women has it. PCOS is also linked to infertility. Here is a blog that talks about different types of PCOS.
 

For more information on infertility causes and treatments:
 

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