Increase Your Chances of Conception
When you’re not getting pregnant despite your best efforts, sometimes it is necessary to seek out the advice of a fertility specialist. These specialized doctors are called Reproductive Endocrinologists and are experts in providing medical treatments for various fertility challenges. They will advise you about options providing you with proven fertility treatments that increase your chance of conceiving.
If you find yourself considering seeing a fertility specialist, you may feel overwhelmed by all the information. To help you learn more about this territory, we provide this outline of the most common conventional fertility treatments, so you can arrive at your doctor’s appointment prepared.
Your first visit will be focused on reviewing your health history with your doctor, and discussing next steps to investigate reasons why conception could be challenging, and what options for treatment might be applicable to you. You should expect a physical and pelvic exam, bloodwork, possibly a hysterosalpingogram (x-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes), and/or an ultrasound of your uterus and ovaries.
Is Surgery Needed?
Depending on your diagnosis, surgery can be a helpful intervention. For some, minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery may be required to investigate and remove blockages from fallopian tubes, lesions due to endometriosis, fibroids, and pelvic adhesions. After healing from laparoscopic surgery, individuals are often able to become pregnant.
If hormone levels are low or ovulation is unpredictable, oral medications might be prescribed to increase the number of eggs produced, or to induce ovulation. The latter is often used for people with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) who often have unpredictable menstrual cycles and less frequent ovulation. These medications can be used with or without additional assisted reproductive technologies, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). If more intervention is needed, injectable medications are used to increase egg counts prior to IVF egg retrieval, and separately, to assist with ideal hormone levels to maintain pregnancy after completing in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Beyond medications, a number of assisted reproductive technologies can be used to increase fertility. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) might be used for low sperm counts, issues with cervical mucus, same-sex couples, or family building for single parents by choice. During the IUI process, pre-washed sperm is introduced directly into the uterus, bypassing the cervix to increase the chances of sperm fertilizing the egg.
If IUI has not been successful, some opt for in vitro fertilization (IVF), which involves taking medications over several weeks to stimulate multiple eggs to grow, and then retrieving those eggs from the body. The eggs are fertilized with sperm in a controlled lab and allowed to grow over 3-6 days. The best quality embryos from this process are transferred directly in the uterus, hopefully producing a pregnancy. Prior to the embryo transfer, individuals have the ability to request genetic testing on the embryos to increase the chances of success by eliminating abnormal embryos. After transfer, additional medications continue to assist with maintaining hormone levels necessary to continue a pregnancy, until a blood test confirms that pregnancy has been achieved.
Third Party Options
When needed, it’s also common for people to choose to use sperm donation, egg donation, and/or embryo donation as part of their fertility options. Additionally, for those unable to carry a pregnancy, a gestational carrier may be used. These “third-party reproduction” options can be accessed through a fertility clinic that will help guide you through the process.
Whichever Option Is Best for You – We’re Here to Help
There are many routes to building your family, and at Portland Acupuncture Studio, we want you to be aware of all options as you choose your fertility treatment. When conventional treatments are required, we can help support you with our knowledge and expertise, offering acupuncture to support your conventional proven fertility treatments. Contact us if you have questions, or to learn more.