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Fertility

Fertility treatments have already assisted thousands of couples in becoming proud parents. Whether your fertility challenges stem from male or female infertility problems, fertility treatments may be able to help you and your partner conceive. Fertility specialists across the country can perform necessary fertility tests to determine which fertility treatment can help you realize your dreams.

Read on to learn more about fertility treatments such as IVF, artificial insemination, and fertility drugs, or browse our site for pregnancy tips and monitoring tools.

IVF

Egg and Sperm in Petri Dish

IVF, or in vitro fertilization, is one of the most popular assisted reproductive therapies performed in the United States. The procedure involves the fertilization of the egg outside of the body, and is done in five separate stages. The first step requires the use of fertility drugs, typically in the form of injections, to stimulate the production of eggs. Next, the fertility doctor retrieves the eggs using a small needle that penetrates the ovaries and suctions the eggs out of each follicle. During the third step of IVF, the highest quality eggs and sperm are inseminated and fertilized. Over the next three to five days, the eggs should divide and become a healthy, growing embryo. At this time, the final step of the IVF procedure is performed; one or several embryos are implanted in the womb.

IVF Procedure Stats

  • Cost: $10,000-$15,000 per cycle
  • Success Rates: The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology has calculated the average IVF success rates for fertility clinics in the United States in 2009 by age group:
    • Under the age of 35: 47.3% live birth rate
    • 35-37 years of age: 37.3% live birth rate
    • 38-40 years of age: 28.2% live birth rate
    • 41-42 years of age: 16.7% live birth rate
  • Treatment Duration: Six to eight weeks
  • Side Effects: Headaches, mood swings, cramping, hot flashes, bloating, bleeding, bruising at the injection site, stress, depression
  • Risks: Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), ectopic pregnancy, allergic reaction to anesthesia, bleeding, infection, damage to surrounding organs, multiple pregnancies, failed IVF cycle, miscarriage

Artificial Insemination

The Artificial Insemination Procedure

Artificial insemination is less invasive and costly than IVF, and is often one of the first fertility treatments that couples try when they are having trouble conceiving. The treatment process usually starts at the beginning of the female's menstrual cycle, at which time she starts taking fertility drugs to increase the number of eggs that are available for fertilization. When the women starts to ovulate, the male must produce a sperm sample; the sperm are then washed and concentrated to limit cramping and increase chances of conception. The fertility specialist then places the prepared sperm in a catheter that places the sperm into the vagina, cervix, or uterus.

Artificial Insemination Procedure Stats

  • Cost: $300-$700 per cycle
  • Success Rates: 10-20 percent (younger patients using fertility drugs have higher success rates
  • Treatment Duration: One to two weeks
  • Side Effects: Light bleeding, cramping, headaches, mood swings, hot flashes, bloating, bruising at fertility drug injection site, stress, depression
  • Risks: Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), bleeding, infection, puncture to the uterus, multiple pregnancies, failed AI cycle, miscarriage

Fertility Drugs

Fertility Drug Injections

Fertility drugs such as clomiphene pills and gonadotropin injections are intended to regulate or stimulate the ovulation process. The fertility drugs are prescribed to women that are having trouble getting pregnant due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and other ovulation disorders. Clomiphene causes the pituitary gland to produce additional follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) to promote growth of the ovarian follicles that contain an egg. Gonadotropin injections contain FSH and LH and are designed to stimulate the ovaries directly so more eggs are produced in one cycle. Women that take fertility drugs should undergo regular blood, hormone, and ultrasound tests with their fertility specialist in order to achieve the best results.

Fertility Drugs Procedure Stats

  • Cost: $50-$150 for a one-month supply of clomiphene pills, $2,000-$5,000 for a one-month supply of gonadotropin injections
  • Success Rates: 80 percent ovulation rate, 20-40 percent pregnancy rate
  • Treatment Duration: One to several months
  • Side Effects: Headaches, mood swings, cramping, hot flashes, bloating, bleeding, bruising at the injection site, stress, depression, nausea, swelling of the ovaries, weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, blurry vision
  • Risks: Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), multiple pregnancy, failure to get pregnant, miscarriage

Donor Eggs

Egg Retrieval Procedure

Women may eventually learn that their own eggs are not viable for pregnancy through fertility testing and expert diagnosis or following failed IVF cycles. Egg donors make pregnancy possible for women that cannot get pregnant on their own. Egg donor agencies screen candidates for medical and psychological problems, and include the physical characteristics and ethnic background of each egg donor in their databases so recipients can select the candidate that is right for them. Once an egg donor is selected, she will begin taking fertility drugs to stimulate the production of eggs; the eggs are then removed from the donor's ovaries, fertilized, and then placed in the recipient's uterus via the in vitro fertilization procedure.

Donor Egg Procedure Stats

  • Cost: $5,000 to $10,000 for the donor egg, plus the cost of IVF
  • Success Rates: 55.1 percent success rate with an average of two embryos implanted
  • Treatment Duration: Six to eight weeks
  • Side Effects for Egg Recipient: Pain, bleeding, stress, depression
  • Risks for Egg Recipient: Ectopic pregnancy, allergic reaction to anesthesia, bleeding, infection, damage to surrounding organs, multiple pregnancies, failed IVF cycle, miscarriage

The Answers You Need from Doctors You Can Trust

Fertility specialists urge couples experiencing difficulty conceiving for more than a year, and women who are over the age of 35, to see a qualified physician trained in diagnosing and treating infertility problems. To help you find that physician, DocShop provides an online directory of fertility doctors to help you find a specialist in your area. Browse our directory and view the websites of local fertility clinics to find the physician that is right for you and your partner.

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