The Truth about Infertility Treatment

The Truth about Infertility Treatment

What infertility treatments are available?

Treatments for infertility can range from medications to embryo implantation through assisted reproductive technology (ART). There are treatments that are specifically for men or for women and some that involve both partners. In 85% to 90% of cases, infertility is treated with conventional medical therapies, such as medication or surgery.1

If fertility treatments are unsuccessful, it is possible to use eggs or sperm donated by a third party or to have another woman carry a fetus. Select a category of treatment to learn more.

What Are the Different Types of Fertility Treatments?


Infertility is relatively common; it occurs in about 11 percent of reproductive age couples. Fortunately, with help from today’s fertility treatments and advanced reproductive technologies, more than 80 percent of couples with infertility problems will get pregnant.

Basic Infertility Treatments Most Common
Most couples will conceive with “first level” infertility treatments such as fertility drugs, lifestyle changes or intrauterine insemination (IUI). The vast majority will not require advanced technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Infertility Treatment Plan
The type of infertility treatment depends upon the cause(s) of infertility including the presence of male infertility, the couple’s infertility treatment history, and many other factors such as female age.

Contacting a Fertility Treatment Specialist
If you are having difficulty getting pregnant, one of the most positive you can take is contacting a qualified fertility specialist. The reproductive process is very complex and specialists undergo years of advanced training that allow them to deliver the best infertility care possible. Appropriate fertility tests can help determine the exact cause(s) of a couple’s issues in trying to conceive and the best course of treatment.

Infertility Treatment: Risks / Benefits

What are some complications of infertility treatments?
Multiple pregnancies: The most common complication of infertility treatments is a multiple pregnancy resulting in twins, triplets or more. In general, the greater the number of fetuses, the higher the risk of premature labor and delivery. Babies born prematurely are at increased risk of health and developmental problems. The goal of infertility treatment should be a single healthy pregnancy, and preventing multiple pregnancies should be discussed before treatment starts. In some cases, fetal reduction (intentionally reducing the number of fetuses in the woman’s uterus) can be used to help a woman deliver fewer babies with lower health risks. Pursuing fetal reduction, however, is a major decision with ethical, emotional and psychological considerations. The risk of multiple pregnancies due to fertility treatments has been significantly reduced in recent years.

What infertility treatments are available?

Treatments for infertility can range from medications to embryo implantation through assisted reproductive technology (ART). There are treatments that are specifically for men or for women and some that involve both partners. In 85% to 90% of cases, infertility is treated with conventional medical therapies, such as medication or surgery.1

If fertility treatments are unsuccessful, it is possible to use eggs or sperm donated by a third party or to have another woman carry a fetus. Select a category of treatment to learn more.

What Are the Different Types of Fertility Treatments?
Infertility is relatively common; it occurs in about 11 percent of reproductive age couples. Fortunately, with help from today’s fertility treatments and advanced reproductive technologies, more than 80 percent of couples with infertility problems will get pregnant.

Basic Infertility Treatments Most Common
Most couples will conceive with “first level” infertility treatments such as fertility drugs, lifestyle changes or intrauterine insemination (IUI). The vast majority will not require advanced technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Infertility Treatment Plan
The type of infertility treatment depends upon the cause(s) of infertility including the presence of male infertility, the couple’s infertility treatment history, and many other factors such as female age.

Contacting a Fertility Treatment Specialist
If you are having difficulty getting pregnant, one of the most positive you can take is contacting a qualified fertility specialist. The reproductive process is very complex and specialists undergo years of advanced training that allow them to deliver the best infertility care possible. Appropriate fertility tests can help determine the exact cause(s) of a couple’s issues in trying to conceive and the best course of treatment.

Infertility Treatment: Risks / Benefits

Closeup shot of an unidentifiable businesswoman injecting her stomach

What are some complications of infertility treatments?
Multiple pregnancies: The most common complication of infertility treatments is a multiple pregnancy resulting in twins, triplets or more. In general, the greater the number of fetuses, the higher the risk of premature labor and delivery. Babies born prematurely are at increased risk of health and developmental problems. The goal of infertility treatment should be a single healthy pregnancy, and preventing multiple pregnancies should be discussed before treatment starts. In some cases, fetal reduction (intentionally reducing the number of fetuses in the woman’s uterus) can be used to help a woman deliver fewer babies with lower health risks. Pursuing fetal reduction, however, is a major decision with ethical, emotional and psychological considerations. The risk of multiple pregnancies due to fertility treatments has been significantly reduced in recent years.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): Use of injectable fertility drugs to induce egg development can cause OHSS, in which the ovaries become swollen and painful. Symptoms may include mild abdominal pain, bloating and nausea that lasts about a week, or longer if you become pregnant. Rarely, a more severe form causes rapid weight gain and shortness of breath requiring emergency treatment.

Bleeding or infection: As with any invasive procedure, there is a rare risk of bleeding or infection with assisted reproductive technology.

Premature delivery or low birth weight: The greatest risk factor for low birth weight is a multiple fetus pregnancy. In single live births, there may be a greater chance of preterm delivery or low birth weight associated with IVF.

Birth defects: Some research suggests that babies conceived using IVF might be at increased risk of certain birth defects. However, most studies conclude that this appears to be related to the underlying diagnosis of infertility in couples who need assistance and not to the IVF procedures themselves.

If you can’t afford treatments, you don’t have to suffer in silence. You can advocate for receiving care by reaching out to the National Infertility Association’s Resolve initiative. This organization regularly holds marches and fundraisers, provides research and data to support positive public policy, and offers many other avenues for championing this movement.

Take heart that advocacy has yielded victories: New York recently enacted a state law that requires insurance providers to offer fertility-treatment coverage for all women, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status. (Fourteen other states have similar requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.)

“Men can get Cialis or Viagra covered, but many women can’t get their fertility medications covered,” Dr. Silverberg points out. “A woman deserves coverage for her treatments just as much as a man.”

What are some complications of infertility treatments?
Multiple pregnancies: The most common complication of infertility treatments is a multiple pregnancy resulting in twins, triplets or more. In general, the greater the number of fetuses, the higher the risk of premature labor and delivery. Babies born prematurely are at increased risk of health and developmental problems. The goal of infertility treatment should be a single healthy pregnancy, and preventing multiple pregnancies should be discussed before treatment starts. In some cases, fetal reduction (intentionally reducing the number of fetuses in the woman’s uterus) can be used to help a woman deliver fewer babies with lower health risks. Pursuing fetal reduction, however, is a major decision with ethical, emotional and psychological considerations. The risk of multiple pregnancies due to fertility treatments has been significantly reduced in recent years.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): Use of injectable fertility drugs to induce egg development can cause OHSS, in which the ovaries become swollen and painful. Symptoms may include mild abdominal pain, bloating and nausea that lasts about a week, or longer if you become pregnant. Rarely, a more severe form causes rapid weight gain and shortness of breath requiring emergency treatment.

Bleeding or infection: As with any invasive procedure, there is a rare risk of bleeding or infection with assisted reproductive technology.

Premature delivery or low birth weight: The greatest risk factor for low birth weight is a multiple fetus pregnancy. In single live births, there may be a greater chance of preterm delivery or low birth weight associated with IVF.

Birth defects: Some research suggests that babies conceived using IVF might be at increased risk of certain birth defects. However, most studies conclude that this appears to be related to the underlying diagnosis of infertility in couples who need assistance and not to the IVF procedures themselves.

If you can’t afford treatments, you don’t have to suffer in silence. You can advocate for receiving care by reaching out to the National Infertility Association’s Resolve initiative. This organization regularly holds marches and fundraisers, provides research and data to support positive public policy, and offers many other avenues for championing this movement.

Take heart that advocacy has yielded victories: New York recently enacted a state law that requires insurance providers to offer fertility-treatment coverage for all women, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status. (Fourteen other states have similar requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.)

“Men can get Cialis or Viagra covered, but many women can’t get their fertility medications covered,” Dr. Silverberg points out. “A woman deserves coverage for her treatments just as much as a man.”


Source: emma-louisewallis