Fertility treatment for women can be broadly divided into different stages, depending on the cause of fertility problems and the treatment options available. The different stages of fertility treatment are:
Stimulation of ovulation:
Ovulation stimulation is the first line of treatment for many women with fertility problems. The aim of this treatment is to increase the number of eggs produced by the ovaries, so that there is a greater chance of one of them being fertilised. Ovulation stimulation is usually done using medication, such as clomiphene citrate or gonadotrophins.
Surgery can be used to treat some Women’s Fertility treatment, such as endometriosis or blockages in the fallopian tubes. If a woman is unable to conceive using her own eggs, she may opt to use donor eggs. Similarly, if a man is unable to father a child, he may opt to use donor sperm. Donor eggs and sperm can be used in IVF or IUI treatment.
Gestational surrogacy is where a woman carries a baby for another couple or person. The baby is conceived using the egg of the intended mother (or a donor egg) and the sperm of the intended father (or donor sperm). The surrogate has no genetic connection to the child.
Adoption is an alternative way to build a family and can be a very rewarding experience. There are a number of different types of adoption, and the process can vary from country to country.
Fertility preservation is a technique that can be used to store eggs, sperm, or embryos for future use. Fertility preservation can be used for a number of reasons, such as if a woman is about to undergo treatment for cancer that may affect her fertility.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI):
IUI is a form of artificial insemination, where sperm is injected into the woman’s womb close to the time of ovulation. IUI can be used with or without ovulation stimulation. Before IUI is carried out, the sperm is prepared in a special process that separates healthy sperm from abnormal sperm. This is to increase the chances of conception.
In vitro fertilisation (IVF):
IVF is a technique where eggs are collected from the ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The resulting embryos are then transferred back into the woman’s womb. IVF can be used in a number of different ways, depending on the woman’s individual circumstances.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI):
ICSI is a form of IVF where a single sperm is injected into an egg, using a fine needle. ICSI can be used when there are problems with the man’s sperm, or when fertilization has failed in previous IVF cycles.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD):
PGD is a form of genetic testing that can be carried out on embryos before they are implanted into the womb. PGD can be used to test for a wide range of genetic conditions, and can also be used to select embryos that are most likely to implant and result in a pregnancy.
Fertility treatment is a complex and often emotional process. The different stages of treatment can vary significantly, depending on the individual woman’s circumstances. It is important to speak to a fertility specialist to discuss the best treatment options for you.