If you and your partner are having difficulty conceiving a child, you may be thinking of visiting a fertility center or clinic, such as Delaware Valley Institute of Fertility. Statistically, 1 in 10 couples have difficulty conceiving, so you aren’t alone. A fertility clinic is a facility where you seek treatment that could help you in your efforts to conceive. Fortunately, there isn’t just one method of treatment; there are several.
Your doctor will discuss which treatment option would be best to try or whether you should move on to another method if others have failed to bring results. Before you set out to your fertility clinic, it will help to educate yourself on the following treatment options that may work for you.
1. Oral Medications to Induce Ovulation and Enhance Fertilization
If you and your doctor have determined that you do not ovulate regularly on your own, this may be a good treatment option for you. Even if you do ovulate normally yet are finding it difficult to become pregnant, your fertility expert may prescribe oral medication such as Clomid or Letrozole.
You should note that the success of oral medication such as pills will depend upon your age and other factors, such as your partner’s sperm count. If you’re concerned about side effects of oral medications, discuss this with your doctor. Generally, side effects are mild and may include nausea or headache.
2. Injections to Stimulate the Production of Eggs
The purpose of the Follical Stimulating Hormone injection (FSH) is to increase a woman’s egg production. Doing so will increase the odds of fertilization and becoming pregnant. The injections are often given for over a week. During this treatment, your doctor may monitor your progress with an ultrasound. A transvaginal ultrasound will detect the follicle development in your ovaries.
This treatment method can be quite costly, although your medical insurance may cover some of the costs. You also need to understand there are potential risks of FSH injections. The most common risk is multiple pregnancy. Enlarged ovaries and fluid retention are other possible side effects.
3. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In simple terms, IVF involves combining your egg (or eggs) with your partner’s sperm in a petri dish. This process is performed manually in a laboratory. In medical terms, this process is referred to as assisted reproductive technology (ART). Before the eggs are to be retrieved for this process, you may be given a series of fertility drugs to help you produce more eggs.
To remove your eggs from your ovaries, a process called follicular aspiration is necessary. This is considered to be a minor type of surgery, performed on an outpatient basis. It is performed by inserting a fine needle into the vagina and into the ovary. Pain-numbing medication will be administered prior to the procedure. Minor side effects include mild cramping afterward.
Your partner’s sperm will be placed with your egg or eggs for the insemination process. Egg and sperm are stored in an environmentally controlled unit. When the egg becomes fertilized and divided, an embryo develops. A few days later, the embryo will be implanted into the uterus.
In the rare case that you are unable to produce quality eggs for the IVF process, you may have the opportunity to use donor eggs from another woman. These donor eggs will be used in the same method in an attempt for them to be fertilized from the intended father (your partner). If you are over the age of child-bearing, or if your ovaries have become damaged due to chemotherapy or genetic issues, this may be an option to consider.
Keep in mind, there may be other treatment options that may be doable for you. Your clinician or physician can determine which method will be most suitable for you and may have the highest success rate.