Advanced fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) have excellent success rates. But they can be expensive, effort-intensive, and, therefore, stressful.
Shady Grove Fertility, a national leader in fertility treatments with over 100,000 babies born to date, told us they recommend patients begin with the simplest, most effective option based on their unique circumstances. In fact, while Shady Grove Fertility is the largest fertility center in the nation in terms of IVF volume, approximately 50 percent of treatment cycles performed there include basic treatments that require less medication and fewer monitoring appointments with a lower cost.
So what exactly is involved with these alternative treatments? Read on for a brief overview of what you can expect.
Timed intercourse is one of the simplest treatment options for infertility and can be a starting point for many couples trying to conceive. It involves working with your medical team to correctly time when you should have unprotected sex for the best chance of getting pregnant.
This low intervention option is helpful when the cause of your infertility is unexplained, caused by a cervical factor, or due to irregular or absent ovulation.
The goal of this treatment is exactly what the name implies: to induce ovulation when it’s absent or irregular.
Clomiphene citrate (Clomid, Serophene) is a commonly used ovulation induction medication. It works at the level of the brain and pituitary gland and facilitates the release of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs.
For women who are not ovulating regularly, this treatment aims to mature and ovulate a single egg. For women who do ovulate, ovulation induction can stimulate more eggs.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the starting point for many individuals and couples who are having difficulty with conception on their own. A physician may also recommend IUI in cases where a woman or couple needs donor sperm.
This treatment aims to increase the number of sperm that reach the Fallopian tube and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization. Basically, IUI gives sperm a head start, though it still requires the sperm to reach and fertilize the egg on their own.
In this procedure, a clinician will place a concentrated specimen of sperm in the uterus by inserting a soft, thin catheter through the cervix opening. It only takes a few minutes, is not painful, and doesn’t require anesthesia. Afterward, you can go about your day as usual.
Egg freezing is a treatment that essentially suspends your fertility in time, preventing the decrease in quality and quantity that inevitably comes with age. Shady Grove Fertility always recommends choosing a center with published success rates from egg freezing, including thaw data, as thawing eggs to make a baby requires great precision and skill.
On average, the most optimal time to freeze is in your early to mid-30s while your fertility potential is still near its peak — many would say, the earlier, the better.
Male Factor Treatments
While male factor is the cause of infertility in 40 to 50 percent of couples, at Shady Grove Fertility, male factor infertility is highly treatable with hormone therapy, varicocele repair, IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and techniques to retrieve sperm when very small amounts are found in the ejaculate. Both partners should have their fertility tested at the same time, and fertility treatment should not begin until a diagnosis is established.
It all starts with an initial consult
Before treatment can begin, you’ll need to meet with a fertility specialist and undergo standard infertility testing. The good news is, the initial consultation is often covered by insurance. Shady Grove Fertility reports that their insured patients have coverage 90 percent of the time.
With a 30-year track record of providing personalized care, Shady Grove Fertility offers a wide range of treatment options and financial programs to help almost everyone build the family of their dreams. Their dedicated research team, world-renowned fertility specialists, and hundreds of exceptional staff have worked to advance available technologies to provide the best possible care and greatest chances of conception.
They have fertility centers across the country and can even help you start your journey from home. Tap below to learn more about your options and schedule a virtual consult with an SGF fertility specialist.