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Infertility Treatment Options

Dealing with infertility can be devastating for men and women alike. In this article, you will find some infertility treatment options that will help you find a way in the darkness and fulfill your dream of having a baby.
Infertility can be a problem either with woman, man or both. In fact, one third cases of infertility are due to man, one third due to woman and the rest due to unexplained problems in either or both partners.

Effective Infertility Treatment Options

Infertility treatment begins with the diagnosis when signs of infertility first appear. It is strongly recommended that any couple who wishes to start a family should get a thorough medical check-up done, so as to rule out any possibilities of infertility or other medical conditions. Some couples keep on trying for years without success which may result in delayed treatment. The long wait sometimes turns frustrating for the couple. This may reduce their chances of conception further, as infertility and depression are closely associated. If infertility is diagnosed earlier, the couple has various treatment options to choose from. An early start reduces the stress, thereby increasing the chances of conception. After studying your individual case, your doctor may be able to recommend you an appropriate treatment.

Fertility Drugs
Fertility drugs are used to eliminate the problems with ovulation in women. These medications stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs. Surgical methods can correct the physical problems with uterus or unblock the fallopian tubes.

Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid)
Clomid is an oral medication used to stimulate ovulation by acting on the pituitary gland. It is mainly recommended for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

human Menopausal Gonadotropin or hMG (Repronex, Pergonal)
hMG is an injected medicine which is used to correct problems with ovulation due to malfunctioning of pituitary gland. It acts directly on the ovaries to stimulate them to produce eggs.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone or FSH (Gonal-F, Follistim)
FSH works on the similar lines of hMG. It is also an injectable fertility drug.

Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (Gn-RH) analog
Women who do not ovulate regularly each month benefit from these medications. Gn-RH analogs cause the pituitary gland to regulate the ovulation. Women who release an egg even before it matures also benefit a great deal from these medications.

Metformin (Glucophage)
Highly recommended for women with insulin resistance due to PCOS. It reduces the level of androgens (male hormones) in the body of a woman.

Bromocriptine (Parlodel)
It is used to cure ovulation problems in women who have very high prolactin levels.

Advance Infertility Treatment
Fertility drugs are given for 3 to 6 months or until the woman conceives (whichever is earlier). After that, a new drug may be recommended or a new treatment option can be suggested. Following are some advance infertility treatment options recommended when fertility drugs can no longer be used or when there are problems with male fertility. Cost of advance infertility treatments is very high, hence not every couple can afford them.

Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI)
Intra Uterine Insemination or artificial insemination is used when there are problems with the cervical mucus of the woman, which deter the movement of sperms towards cervix. In this process the semen is directly injected into the woman's cervix. Prior to the treatment, ovulation drugs can be given to maximize the chances of fertilization.

Assisted Reproductive Therapy (ART)
This is a technique which uses a combination of therapies to elevate the chances of conception for a couple. The eggs from woman are extracted and fertilized outside the body to form embryos. The embryos are then implanted in the woman's uterus. This is called In Vitrio Fertilization (IVF), and is the most popular form of ART. Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT) is similar to IVF except that the embryo is transferred into fallopian tubes instead of uterus. Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) is a technology in which sperm and egg is separately injected into the fallopian tubes of a woman, so that fertilization takes place inside the body of a woman. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is recommended when there are serious problems with the sperm quality or for conception in older couples. This technology uses a single sperm to fertilize a mature egg.

Causes of Infertility in Men and Women

Women
Infertility in women is greatly attributed to the age factor. The chances of conception diminish rapidly, as the woman crosses her 30s. The quantity and the quality of eggs is not as good as it was when the woman was in her peak fertility years (21 to 26). Besides, hormonal imbalances and the problems with ovulation are another major cause of infertility in women. Ovarian cyst or PCOS is a leading cause of female infertility across the world. This disorder affects about 10 to 15% women of childbearing age. Physical problems with uterus, fallopian tubes blockage, endometriosis are some other factors contributing to female infertility. External factors such as alcohol consumption, smoking, drug abuse also lead to infertility in women over 30.

Men
A major cause of male infertility is varicocele, a condition in which the veins on the man's testicles are too large due to which they cause heating of testicles. Overheating testicles kills sperms, thereby reducing the sperm count substantially. Problems with sperm quality and sperm movement are also some of the reasons of infertility in men. Physical injuries cause the shape of the sperm to deform, thereby obstructing its movement. Behavioral problems such as premature ejaculation or problems with the sexual orientation of man also cause impotency in men.

The treatment options mentioned in this article have a varying degree of success. Age and overall health of the couple plays an important role in deciding the success of these treatments. Some of these treatments increase your chances of having twins or multiples. However, with certain measures the chances of conceiving multiples can be minimized.

Disclaimer: This iBuzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
By Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Last Updated: 9/23/2011
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