Overcoming infertility - what you can do

Treatment Options

Lifestyle changes

Sometimes being very underweight or overweight can affect your fertility. Your doctor might suggest either gaining or losing weight in order to increase your chances of getting pregnant. You and your partner should definitely stop cigarette smoking if possible as this has adverse effects on both fertility (increasing miscarriage rates) and on the growth of the baby.

The Fertility Pill

The "fertility pill" also known as clomiphene, is used in people who aren't ovulating regularly. It offers little benefit to women who have regular, predictable cycles. This pill causes your ovaries to release an egg every month. This allows the sperm to meet the egg and create a baby.

Intrauterine Insemination

Also known as IUI, intrauterine insemination is a process where the sperm is placed directly into the uterus using a small catheter. The woman takes fertility medication every month to make the ovary create mature eggs. Another medication is then given that makes you ovulate and at the perfect time the sperm is carefully placed into your uterus. Depending on your age and other factors, the success rate is 15 to 18% per cycle. Each cycle costs about $1,800.

In Vitro Fertilization

Also known as IVF, in vitro fertilization is similar to IUI in that it also involves taking medications that prompt ovaries to produce mature eggs. But in this case, much more medication is used so that more eggs are produced. The eggs are then removed from the ovary with a small needle under ultrasound guidance. The eggs are then placed in a dish along with the partner’s sperm. The egg and a sperm are then placed in an incubator for several days. One or two of the embryos that form are then placed directly into the uterus through the cervix. The success rate depends very much on the age of the woman but can range from 45% per cycle in younger women to 5% per cycle in women 42 years of age. Typical costs are around $12,000 per cycle.

Egg or sperm donor

Occasionally there is something that prevents the man from producing sperm or the woman from producing eggs. In this case your doctor might recommend you find a sperm or egg donor. This is a complicated process that your doctor will help you through.