Fertility treatment (FAQ’s)
The word infertile used to mean you would never have children of your own and your only option was to adopt. However medical advances in fertility treatments have opened up new doors to couples looking to start a family. We have answered some of the most common questions about the different fertility treatments available, from fertility pills and In Vitro fertilisation to artificial insemination
When should I consider using fertility treatments?
In general, doctors would recommend fertility treatments in the following cases:
– If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for at least a year with no success
– If you are over 35 and have been unable to conceive after 6 months of trying or have an irregular menstrual cycle
– If you have had 2 consecutive miscarriages.
If you experience any of these, both you and your partner should be tested by your doctor to find out if it is time to consider fertility treatment and what treatment is best suited for you.
How do I treat ovulation problems?
If your doctor has run all the tests and discovered your only problem is ovulation, the treatments are usually as simple as taking a pill. Most fertility pills help stimulate ovulation and are generally inexpensive and very effective. The most commonly used fertility pill is Chlomide which forces the body to release more than one egg during ovulation. This can cause multiple births.
Your doctor may also recommend hormone injections such as Gonal-F or Fostimon injections which are also used to combat ovulation problems by stimulating the development and production of hormones like oestrogen. However it can also be used to combat male infertility by stimulating sperm production and increasing testosterone hormone development.
What treatments are available for more severe causes of infertility?
If fertility pills are not the answer, your doctor may recommend Assisted Reproductive Technology or ART to help induce pregnancy. There are a number of different ART methods, however the two most commonly used are:
– In Vitro fertilization or IVF involves fertilising healthy eggs with healthy sperm to form an embryo. The healthy embryos are then implanted back into the uterus. Often more than one embryo is implanted to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy – this can result in multiple births. IVF is often used if you have problems with your uterus or fallopian tubes, low sperm count or endometriosis. IVF can be expensive but is one of the most effective treatments for fertility to date.
– Artificial insemination or intrauterine insemination is the process of inserting sperm directly into the uterus to avoid any possible obstructions. While this procedure is not always as successful as IVF, it has fewer side effects and is less expensive. Artificial Insemination is usually considered for women with cervical scaring or defects, or if the male has a low sperm mobility. Usually this procedure is couple with fertility medication to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
What are the side effects of ART treatments?
ART treatments, like any procedure are not without their risks, which can include:
– Multiple pregnancies – often fertility specialists implant multiple embryos to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy and this can result in multiple pregnancies. While some couples may welcome the idea you need to be aware of the added risk of high blood pressure and premature labour with multiple pregnancies.
– Ectopic pregnancy – about 5% of ART induced pregnancies can result in the pregnancy developing outside the uterus. In most cases this occurs in the fallopian tube but it can also occur in the ovary or abdomen. Unfortunately this can be very painful and the only solution is to terminate the pregnancy.
– Ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome – sometimes the ART treatments along with the fertility medications can cause swollen ovaries. Symptoms usually include abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. In more severe cases it can cause kidney and liver problems.
– Stress – The emotional, financial and physical strain of ART treatments can be incredibly stressful for both you and your partner. It is important to investigate how long the procedure will last and what the costs are. Also make sure that there is constant and open communication with your doctor and partner every step of the way.
Advancements in fertility treatments have given couples new hope and the chance to start families. Make sure you talk to your doctor about treatments available to you and ask if he can recommend a fertility clinic to suit your needs. Remember to involve your partner every step of the way and make sure you understand all the risks and procedures going in.
For more information on fertility treatments and if you require medical financial assistance.
Call Incred on:
Tel: 0860 INCRED (462 733)
Tel: 011 262 2385
Fax: 0865 201 513