For some, getting pregnant does not come naturally. The path to parenthood can be mired with setbacks, loss, and confusion.
Feelings of hopelessness and despair can develop after months or years of trying to conceive.
However, hope is not lost as there are treatment options and support available for those trying to become pregnant.
Fertility Treatment Options
Many couples struggle with starting a family. It may take years of failed attempts before realizing a problem exists.
However, couples do not have to suffer in silence and accept a future without children.
There are many different fertility treatments available to assist with family planning. The options can include medications as well as surgical intervention.
The first step in creating a treatment plan is diagnosing infertility.
The process of confirming infertility can be invasive, uncomfortable, and expensive but is necessary to understand what type of treatment will be successful.
Both partners will need to be evaluated in order to determine if the issue exists in one or both people.
Testing in Males
The main goal of testing for infertility in men is to determine whether healthy sperm is being produced in the right quantities and effectively traveling to the egg.
After a general physical exam, other tests will be performed to examine the quality of the sperm. These include:
- Genetic and hormone testing
- Lab analysis of semen
- Biopsy of the testicles
- Imaging scans of the reproductive organs
Testing in Females
For women, fertility specialists will examine whether the ovaries are working correctly.
A detailed examination will determine whether a woman is producing healthy eggs and whether these eggs are properly traveling into the fallopian tubes to be fertilized.
Doctors will also want to ensure that the process of uterine implantation is working properly. In order to determine this, doctors may perform:
- Hormone testing
- Ultrasounds and sonograms of the uterus and ovaries
- Blood tests to measure hormone levels during ovulation
- Ovarian reserve testing
In Vitro Fertilization
One of the most well-known treatments for infertility is in vitro fertilization (IVF).
This is where the fertilization of healthy eggs take place outside of the body in a lab.
Once the embryos are determined to be viable, they are put back into the uterus.
A successful pregnancy occurs when the embryo implants into the uterus.
IVF is a lengthy process that can take several months.
On some occasions, more than one round of treatment will be needed to result in a successful pregnancy.
The medications and procedures used can be taxing on the body as well as the mind.
Although it does increase the chances of conception in many people, there is no guarantee that it will work for everyone.
Many people report heightened anxiety and depression during the process, but the joy is immeasurable for those couples who get pregnant.
Another common treatment is intrauterine insemination (IUI), which involves the direct insertion of sperm into the uterus.
This increases the chances of healthy sperm reaching a viable egg and resulting in conception.
This process is often called artificial insemination or donor insemination.
IUI starts with fertility medication to stimulate the process of ovulation in the female partner while semen is collected from the male partner.
After the semen undergoes a procedure to ensure healthy sperm is concentrated, it is then injected into the uterus.
This is a simpler and less expensive procedure than IVF and may be covered by health insurance.
Although infertility can seem insurmountable, many treatment options exist to help couples become parents.
Depending on the cause and the treatment, the road to conception may be more difficult for some.
However, the possibility of a healthy pregnancy is within reach.