While everyone's fertility journey is unique and comes with different challenges, there are a variety of possible treatment opportunities available for each patient or family’s health situation and goals.
Ovulation induction is a treatment that stimulates ovulation in women who are experiencing irregular ovulation or trouble conceiving. The purpose of ovulation induction is to increase the chances of a woman conceiving a child. Women can take ovulation induction medication orally or through injections.
“Once medicine is given to the patient to take at a specific time, providers can determine when they will ovulate and can advise the couple to help get them pregnant. In some cases, they may use both ovulation induction and artificial insemination,” said Jamil Mroueh, MD, a reproductive endocrinology specialist with Rochester Regional Health.
When patients decide to utilize assisted reproductive technologies, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) are two common procedures. The main difference between them is the process in which the sperm fertilizes the egg.
In this case, several eggs and sperm are left in a petri dish to fertilize on their own. Generally, eggs are removed from the uterus and placed in a petri dish with sperm for 3-5 days to fertilize. The fertilized eggs are then transferred back into the uterus for the remainder of the pregnancy.
During this process, the sperm is directly injected into the egg. This is usually recommended for sperm-related infertility. It provides sperm the extra assistance by injecting it directly into the egg.
“Patients should consider that it takes some time for the treatment to begin because the sperm donor must be tested twice over 6 months,” said Dr. Mroueh. "This means insemination cannot occur for at least 6 months after the decision is made.”
Insemination is a painless procedure that places healthy sperm inside the uterus and close to the egg, increasing a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant.
During this procedure, a washed sperm is placed in a think tube—a catheter—and guided into the uterus. This can be a good option for many, including those with endometriosis, ovulation issues, low sperm count, low sperm motility, and other fertility challenges.
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s eggs are used, making them the biological mother of the child they carry. In this case, a legal agreement ensures the baby becomes a part of the intended family.
A gestational surrogate has no biological link to the baby. IVF is conducted using the egg and sperm of the intended parents, or that of a donor, and the embryo is transferred to the surrogate’s uterus to be carried throughout the pregnancy.
Patients can also decide to take advantage of Donor Egg In Vitro Fertilization. In this case, donor eggs from a healthy young woman can be combined with sperm to form an embryo.
Egg freezing is conducted to save women’s ability to get pregnant in the future. Unfertilized eggs harvested from your ovaries are frozen and stored for later use.
This is performed for aneuploidy (abnormal number of chromosomes), genetic disease, or sex selection. To conduct an embryo biopsy, a few cells are removed from the embryo on the fifth day after fertilization. After the biopsy, the egg is frozen while a preimplantation genetic diagnosis is conducted.
Doctors can conduct a semen analyses to determine the health and viability of sperm. It measures three major factors of sperm health:
Sperm freezing is conducted for similar reasons egg freezing might be. Circumstances that may increase the likelihood of infertility lead men to freeze sperm, allowing for future conception.
Fertility treatments are available to same-sex or transgender couples. IVF, ICSI, egg or sperm donation, and surrogacy are all viable options for same-sex or transgender couples looking to start or grow their family.
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