Infertility Treatment

July 1, 2010

Infertility treatments have come a long way. Treatment is not successful for everyone, of course, but thanks to technological advances, a great many infertile couples have become parents after receiving one or more of the many treatments available. As you would expect, there are different treatments for men and women. Both partners may need to receive treatment in some cases, whereas in others, one partner may require a combination of different treatments before his or her fertility can be increased. Fertility treatments include drugs, surgery and artificial reproduction techniques such as IVF and IUI. There are risks associated with these treatments, just as there are with all medical procedures.

Lifestyle Factors

Both men and women affected by infertility will be encouraged to improve their general health and lifestyle. In some cases, fertility is reduced by poor diet, lack of exercise, being overweight, and bad habits such as smoking and excess drinking. Making changes in these areas may provide just the fertility boost a couple needs in order to get pregnant.

Women's Treatment

One of the first steps in fertility treatment for women is a regime of ovulation-inducing drugs. There are many brands of these available. The idea is that they kick start the ovaries into producing and releasing eggs each month. These drugs may need to be taken over the period of a few months, in different amounts, before they work.

Surgery to repair damage to female reproductive organs may also help to restore fertility. Treatments for conditions that cause infertility such as endometriosis and PCOS can also help women to get pregnant in some cases.

Men's Treatment

Men who have structural problems inside their reproductive organs (blockages in the testicles or defects in the sperm ducts) may be able to have these repaired through surgery. Sperm cells can also be surgically removed from the testicles for use in artificial reproduction technologies such as IVF or IUI.

Artificial Reproduction Technologies

Forms of ART, including IVF and IUI, focus on helping a couple get pregnant, but not always on repairing the underlying reason for the infertility.

Thanks to the increasing success rates of these treatments, it's no longer always necessary to treat the root cause of the infertility, providing that it's not doing any harm to the affected partner. (Some infertility causes, such as endometriosis in women or Klinefelter syndrome in men, require treatment for the sake of maintaining health, not just overcoming fertility problems). ART can be performed using donor eggs, sperm or even embryos.

Treatment Costs

Infertility treatment isn't cheap. Prices vary from clinic to clinic, but most couples will generally need to budget and save for fertility treatments. Health insurance very rarely covers the price of fertility treatments.

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