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Top Common Fertility Treatments Explained


The drugs that are most commonly used in fertility treatment are:

  • Metformin -- Particularly helpful when given to women with polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS) in order to trigger ovulation.
  • Clomid (Clomifene) -- If you are ovulating erratically, or not at all, Clomid will be prescribed to help stimulate your ovaries into producing eggs. If you have been trying to get pregnant for an extended period of time without any success, it is most likely your doctor will prescribe this.
  • Pulsed gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) -- Given to women who cannot produce this hormone, which stimulates egg production.

These fertility treatment drugs are used in many different situations. Let us tell you a little about fertility treatment IVF, along with ICSI and IUI.

IVF -- In Vitro Fertilization

If your fallopian tubes are blocked, you have unexplained fertility issues, or other treatments have failed, you may be offered IVF. Most women begin by taking a drug that overrides their menstrual cycle, followed by another drug to increase the amount of eggs they produce, and lastly receive another drug to help the eggs mature.

A doctor will then harvest the eggs (you will be sedated and under a local anesthetic), and those eggs will be fertilized in a lab using sperm collected from your partner (or a donor). Your specialist will determine the one or two eggs that are most viable, and they will be inserted into your uterus. Women over 40 may have up to three eggs transplanted into the womb, since they have a lower chance of a successful pregnancy. The remaining fertilized eggs will be frozen in case you need to (or want to) try again. In two to three weeks, an ultrasound will be performed to determine if the IVF was a success or not.

IVF, as with any fertility treatment, can be an arduous task. Visit our Fertility Treatments Forum for support and advice.

ICSI -- Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection

In this fertility treatment, a single sperm is injected directly into the egg. It is similar to IVF, where multiple sperm are mixed with the egg in a lab, but is more helpful than IVF for couples where the male has low sperm quality, or cannot ejaculate at all. In these cases, the sperm can be gathered straight from the testes, or epididymis, which is the small tube where sperm are made and kept until mature.

IUI -- Intrauterine Insemination

Another fertility treatment option for couples with a low-quality sperm sample, IUI is able to extricate the fast, healthy sperm from the slower ones. Doctors then use IUI to place them in your uterus close to the time of ovulation. It can sometimes be helpful if the woman takes a drug to increase the number of eggs she produces during ovulation. This is a great option for couples with either unexplained infertility, or specific sperm value or ovulation problems. It is also used in cases of sperm donation and surrogacy.

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