There are many different avenues infertile couples can take if they decide to use medical solutions for their fertility problems. For certain disorders, like endometriosis, surgery is one option. Women who have had their "tubes tied" will also reguire surgery in order to reverse their tubal ligation. However, when surgery can't help, then fertility drugs are prescribed to help promote ovulation or increase the production of certain hormones. Clomiphene, gonadotropins and bromocriptine are the most commonly used infertility drugs.
Sometimes, no matter how many fertility medications are prescribed, conception will just not occur. In these instances, using a sperm, egg or embryo donor may be an option. Other couples may decide that they would prefer to use a surrogate. The use of a donor is often recommended for women who are undergoing cancer treatment. However, advancements are being made in egg cryopreservation, which may allow a woman save her eggs for future use. Similarily, couples may freeze their embryos from a previous IVF cycle for future use.
One of the oldest methods still used to help women get pregnant is artificial insemination. There are various types of artificial insemination. However, the most common method used is intrauterine insemination or IUI. While this simple reproductive technique has helped many couples conceive, in some cases, more advanced methods of conception are required to help bring about a pregnancy.
The term assisted reproductive technologies, or ART, is often heard when people speak of certain fertility treatments. ART encompasses a variety of medical techniques that can be utilized to produce a pregnancy by bringing an egg and sperm together outside of the womb. Treatments that fall under the category of ART include in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT).
Couples who decided to use IVF in order to conceive may also want to learn about PGD. This type of screening can help identify embryos that are affected by genetic defects. Associated with PGD is gender selection. Though controversial, some couples may wish to pursue this in order to avoid passing on sex-specific diseases.
While most fertility treatments focus on women, there are some available for men as well. Numerous men decide to have a vasectomy reversal in order to restore their fertility. Others choose to pursue alternatives to vasectomy reversal. Men with especially low sperm counts or who produce no sperm at all in their ejaculate may require the use of surgical sperm retrieval techniques while men who cannot ejaculate on their own can decide to use rectal electroejaculation to help them produce a sperm sample.
Whatever type of fertility treatment you decide to pursue, make sure that you and your partner thoroughly discuss all the pros and cons of the treatment so that you can be sure this is the right option for you.