The minute people hear the term Infertility Treatment, the only thing that comes to their mind is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and the seemingly interminable hormone injections. Of course, there’s a good reason for this. Over the last 10 years, IVF has emerged as the ultimate treatment for people facing infertility issues. Technology has also advanced at super fast speed and today IVF success rates are in the 50-55% range in women under 35. It’s also possible to do genetic testing of embryos using PGD; and even inject only 1 sperm into an egg (ICSI) to overcome male infertility issues. Today, IVF has become the last resort for a number of infertile couples. When I have patients walking into my consulting room, I sometimes see frustration and despair (especially in patients who have come in for a second or third opinion.
But contrastingly, I also sense hope. They come to us hoping for a miracle- we don’t promise them any, but we definitely leave no stone unturned in diagnosing what the root cause of their infertility is, and then treating it to the best of our ability, using the latest technology. In some cases, IVF becomes the only option for couples to conceive, but in a number of cases there are a range of options that work for patients, instead of IVF.
Take a look at what the non-IVF treatment options for infertility are:
· Basic tests - We do lab work as well as imaging studies to look for anatomical or hormone factors. At times, we find that a patient has hormone imbalance and we correct it with medication; this may help the patient conceive without any other intervention/treatment. For example, a thyroid condition that hasn’t been diagnosed (and which can affect ovulation). Similarly, if we find an anatomical issue, such as a polyp, it’s possible to remove it. Once the uterus is in a better shape to support a pregnancy, it may just be possible for the patient to conceive naturally.
· HSG (X-ray of the Uterus) - An HSG is a very routine X- Ray procedure that we do to examine the fallopian tubes and the uterus. We do this to check for any possible obstructions that may be preventing the patient’s egg from reaching the uterus. In this procedure, a catheter is inserted into the uterus and dye injected through the fallopian tubes. It may clear out any obstructions that may be caused by debris or mucus.
Even if this isn’t the answer, we may discuss some other conservative treatment options with the patient. If everything is normal, we may recommend a closely –monitored natural cycle. Many people lead very busy lives nowadays and are unable to conceive on their own because they miss having sex during their fertility window.
· Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid) - In cases where ovulation isn’t taking place naturally, medication might just help. Clomid is a very effective medication that can help 70 to 80 percent of women with PCOD to ovulate. It’s a pill that has to be taken once daily for around 5 days. By taking this medication as well as monitoring that cycle very closely via lab work and ultrasound, and getting the couple to time intercourse right, the chances of a pregnancy are about 10% per cycle.
· Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) - In order to up the odds for conception via medication and close monitoring, we may sometimes use IUI instead of telling the couple to have intercourse. This is a very quick procedure that can be performed at our clinic. Once it has been determined that you are ovulating/ are near ovulation, we will schedule the IUI. The sperm sample from your partner can then be collected at home or at the clinic. The semen sample will be “washed” (which increases motility), and the semen will then be placed in the uterus with the use of a flexible, thin catheter. The procedure takes only 30-minutes and we may advice you to have intercourse on that day or the following one to further improve the odds of conception.
Infertility can take a very heavy toll physically, emotionally as well as financially; but with so many different treatment options available, the chances of successful conception are greatly increased.
Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you better!