Hi-Tech Solutions for Infertility
Fertility treatments have come along way over the years. As they continue to develop, the chances of success increase. Yet, many people feel that these options are not for them. The price tag on some of these treatments, like in vitro fertilization, can end up being close to $20,000, which means couples in lower income brackets just cannot afford these solutions. Insurance companies also do not cover the costs for these treatments (with the exception of some surgeries) so couples must shoulder the financial side entirely on their own. Here is an overview of the most common hi-tech treatments for fertility problems.
Depending on what type of surgery you or your partner need, it may be covered by your insurance. There are different types of surgery that may be recommended for you or your partner. If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, fibroids, tubal factor or some other type of blockage or structure problem, surgery may be a solution for you. If your partner has a blockage problem, then most likely surgery can solve it. Also, if your partner has had a vasectomy, it is possible to get this reversed through surgery. And if you have had a tubal ligation, you can undergo a procedure called tubal ligation reversal. Discuss with you health care provider whether or not surgery is an option for you.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
This is definitely one of the most well known treatments for infertility, although not as many people take advantage of it as you may think.
Roughly, less than 2% of couples experiencing fertility problems choose IVF. If you decide to try IVF, you will first receive hormones (like a gonadotropin) to stimulate your ovaries in order to produce enough eggs for retrieval. Next, the eggs are harvested using aspiration (a type of suctioning device), which is guided by a transvaginal ultrasound. It is important to get the timing of the harvesting just right. Doing it too early or too late can result in eggs that are either not mature enough to fertilize or are too mature. Or, your body may have already released them. Alternatively, if your egg quality is very poor, you may want to use a donor egg from a third party.
Once the eggs are retrieved, they will then be mixed in a petri dish with a fresh semen sample from your partner or a donor and put into an incubator. After about two days, eggs that have been fertilized will be transferred back to your uterus. This can be done in the doctor's office but may require you to stay there for a few hours after the transfer. Because it is common for multiple eggs to be transferred back into the uterus, there is a higher chance of having multiple births. Some doctors recommend transferring only one egg in order to eliminate the chances of multiple births. Others argue against this because IVF has a low success rate with multiple eggs (only about 65% of couples successfully conceive through IVF) and will only have a lower success rate if there is just one egg transferred.
Additionally, because IVF is such an expensive procedure, costing up to $20,000, many couples can only afford to try this treatment one time. Research different fertility clinics. some clinics offer a shared risk refund program specifically for IVF treatment.
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
This procedure is done for women who have normal fallopian tube function. Like IVF, you will receive hormones to stimulate you egg production. Your eggs are then removed and mixed with your partner's or a donor's sperm before being transferred back to you. Rather than being transferred to your uterus, though, the eggs are transferred to your fallopian tubes. This allows for a more natural fertilization process and also means that the whole procedure can be done in one visit. However, while IVF allows doctors to observe and evaluate the quality of the fertilization process, GIFT does not.