When couples are struggling with infertility, they are usually willing to try just about anything the doctor recommends if it will help them conceive. If a woman who is under the age of 35 hasn't conceived after one year of trying, or six months if she is over the age of 35, it's time to consult a fertility expert. Sometimes it's a matter of a low sperm count or poor sperm motility in men. Sometimes the woman's ovaries aren't consistently releasing an egg each month. There can be other issues as well, and it can take a while to narrow down where the issue is and with whom, so it's best to seek professional help sooner rather than later.
Whether the problem lies with a woman's ovulating or the man's sperm, there are several options that fertility doctors can use to help regulate the process. Here is a look at three different opportunities and what to expect.
Drugs such as Clomiphene and gonadotropins will regulate an irregular cycle and encourage the timely release of an egg each month. These drugs are generally tried for six full cycles before moving on to other options. The use of the drugs, like any other, can have side effects. One is the potential for multiple births, as the drugs may cause the release of more than one egg. They can also cause common hormonal changes, such as bloating, headaches, nausea, and breast tenderness, but these symptoms are no worse than those that might be experienced by the birth control pill, and the symptoms are a small sacrifice to pay.
With this method, sperm from your partner or a donor is inserted directly into the uterus via the cervix. This is useful in cases where cervical secretions may be hostile to sperm mobilization, in cases where sperm mobility is the issue, or in cases where the male partner is infertile and a sperm donor is needed. The side effects are minimal, usually only mild cramping immediately following the procedure.
In Vitro Fertilization
When pregnancy can't occur because of things like scar tissue in the Fallopian tubes and other conditions, but the fertility specialist believes the woman can successfully carry to term, In vitro fertilization may be the best option. An egg is harvested, and then sperm is added. If fertilization is successful, the embryo is transferred back to the uterus. The eggs may be your own, or they may come from an egg donor, which is common in older women. Cramping and spotting are common side effects.
For more information about infertility and possible treatment options, contact a clinic near you, such as Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine.