Treatments for infertility typically depend upon the cause, the duration of infertility, the age of the partners and other issues.
Treatment for Couples
For couples, treatment may involve therapy and education. If intercourse is too infrequent, the physician may suggest the couple has intercourse at least two or three times a week. Conversely, the intercourse may be too frequent, thus lessening the quality and count of sperm.
Treatment for Men
Treatment for men with infertility issues may address impotence or premature ejaculation with medication or behavioral modification. If the infertility issues involve the lack of sperm or poor sperm movement, surgery or hormones may correct the problem. Sperm can also be taken directly from the testicles and injected into an egg.
Treatment for Women — Fertility Drugs
For women, fertility drugs are the first and often main treatment methods. These medications work like natural hormones to regulate or induce ovulation. Fertility drugs, particularly injections, can lead to multiple births. Common fertility drugs include:
- Clomiphene (Clomid®, Serophene®): This oral medication stimulates ovulation in women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or other ovulatory disorder. It causes the pituitary gland to produce more hormones designed to stimulate ovulation.
- Human menopausal gonadotropin (Repronex®): This injected medication directly stimulates the ovaries to ovulate and helps women whose pituitary glands fail to produce hormones that typically stimulate the ovaries.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH (Gonal-F®, Bravelle®): FSH is designed to stimulate the ovulation.
- Human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG (Ovidrel®, Pregnyl®): Used in combination with other fertility drugs, this medication stimulates the ovary to release the egg (ovulate).
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs: These medications are designed for women with abnormal ovulation cycles.
- Metformin (Glucophage®): An oral medication to boost ovulation when insulin may be a factor in infertility.
- Bromocriptine (Parlodel®): A medication for women whose ovulation irregularities are due to elevated levels of prolactin, the hormone that stimulates milk production in new mothers.
Treatment for Women — Surgery
In some cases, surgery might be the necessary treatment. Laparoscopic procedures can be employed to surgically repair fallopian tubes.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
Thousands of babies are born each year due to medical advances in assisted reproductive technology (ART). The most common and effective form is in vitro fertilization, a procedure that involves retrieving mature eggs from a woman, fertilizing them with a man’s sperm in the laboratory and implanting them in the uterus. This procedure is often used when a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked or if she has a series of other conditions affecting her fertility. Because several eggs are implanted during each procedure, the changes of multiple births are much greater.
Other ART procedures include stimulation methods to encourage sperm production and ejaculation, surgery and procedures to remove sperm from a man’s testicles and microscopic techniques in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg to achieve fertilization.
Which Treatment Is Right For You?
In every case, your WellStar OB/GYN will help you weigh the benefits of each treatment approach and make an experienced recommendation for the best outcome. You can feel confident your decision will be based on both your input and the expertise and recommendations of your experienced physician.