Your Guide to the Many Fertility Treatments Available to You
Having accepted your need for fertility treatment, you are now likely to be entering the world of fertility treatment options wanting to know what is right for you. In order to make an informed decision it is important to have knowledge and understanding about the options that exist. To some extent, you will be dictated to by the type and nature of your infertility, but it is best to be equipped with an understanding of all the options as it is sometimes the case that couples start out on one fertility treatment journey only to move onto another path later in the process.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the treatments all take time and require patience. This can be frustrating to begin with – especially when you see other people around you conceiving naturally and without much need to try – but keep in mind that fertility treatment does work and for many people it offers them the realisation of a dream that they thought would never become a reality. Use our guide as a starting point on your journey to exploring the fertility treatments that are available to you.
ICSI: Intracytoplasmic sperm injection
ICSI is used when the fertility issue lies with the male. This may be the result of low sperm count, abnormally shaped sperm or a genetic condition which lowers the effectiveness of the sperm. As with IVF, ICSI treatment takes place outside of the body before the embryos are then inserted. However, unlike IVF, the fertilisation itself is assisted as the sperm is injected directly into the egg.
IUI: Intrauterine Insemination
IUI, unlike some of the more well-known and talked about forms of assisted conception, sees the fertilisation of the egg happen inside the body. After sperm is collected, a fine needle is used to insert the sperm into an egg via the vaginal opening. Although it can be uncomfortable, it is a relatively painless process and offers a straightforward solution to infertility for those unable to have vaginal sex for physical or psychological reasons.
IVF: In vitro fertilisation
IVF is the most well-known form of assisted conception, and has proved successful in helping many couples to become parents. Unlike with IUI, the fertilisation of the egg happens outside of the body. IVF is generally used in response to female infertility. Following the chemical stimulation of egg production, both egg and sperm are collected. The two are mixed together and fertilisation is encouraged over a number of days. After this, upto two embryos are implanted back into the womb and monitored. It takes around two weeks for the results to show whether the procedure has resulted in a successful pregnancy.
There are also some medicines that can be used to assist fertilisation. Clomifene, for example, encourages the release of eggs in women who do not ovulate regularly. Metformin is also used where the cause of infertility is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.