For many couples, the idea of starting up or adding to a family is harder to achieve than they had initially imagined. Infertility is a problem for a countless couples out there and as a result, the medical community has found some ways to circumvent bodily limitations.
The most commonly discussed strategy for couple unable to conceive is typically in vitro fertilization (IVF). Of course, this process doesn’t guarantee that a couple will be blessed with a child. In fact, for women under the age of 35, the success rate of IVF was only 57%. Sure, that number isn’t too low, but the problem is that IVF isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s very pricey.
Luckily, there are a number of other strategies that hopeful couples can try as recommended by doctors. Lauren Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever, claims “IVF is not necessary in most cases.”
She suggests that some couples precociously jump to the conclusion that IVF is their only hope at birthing a child. Streicher shoots down this misconception. “There’s a protocol we go through. Nobody goes straight to IVF,” she says.
“There are many tests to diagnose the problem and each has individualized treatments,”adds board-certified ob-gyn Pari Ghodsi, M.D. She suggests that there is a lot of trial and error involved with conceiving. Ghodsi claims that about a third of all fertility problems come from the male, and another third are due to unknown factors. So, a lot of hard work and time needs to take place before jumping into IVF.
With the help of these medical pundits, let’s take a look at some of the other approaches couples can take in order to get pregannt that aren’t IVF:
1. Tracking your ovulation
Streicher recommends that women use an ovulation predictor kit to see if they’re ovulating as often and as attentively as possible. “Just because you’re having regular periods doesn’t mean you’re ovulating,” she claims.
Doctors are also able to monitor your cycle with blood work (to make sure your hormone levels are correct) and an ultrasound to see if there’s a follicle forming and the lining of your uterus is thick enough. Then, you may have your blood progesterone level checked to see if you actually ovulated. “From that first basic set of tests, we’re really looking at ovulation—if they’re doing it and when,” Dr. Streicher says. “You can’t assume.”
See what other options you and your partner can try before jumping into a costly IVF! Click next for more!
2. Test partner’s sperm
“I don’t do anything that’s painful or invasive until we do a semen analysis,” Streicher says. “If there’s a man in the picture, too often we find the guy has no sperm or it’s moving in the wrong direction. For me, that’s part of the initial fertility evaluation.”
As Ghodsi claimed earlier, almost a third of all infertility are a result of the males sperm. Before you do anything, your partner should test his sperm’s potency, then, you can move forward with any other treatment options from there.
3. Hysterosalpingography (HSG)
An HSG is a diagnostic test that looks to see if the fallopian tubes are functioning properly and if they’re open. The process requires doctors to inject a special dye into your vagina and conduct and X-ray. MAny women claim to have success with conceiving after undergoing an HSG–seemingly for no reason.
“Nobody really knows why, but we know that fertility increases afterward,” Dr. Streicher claims. “The simple explanation is that we’re cleaning out your tubes.”
4. Saline Ultrasound
Saline ultrasounds, like an HSG, are used to analyze what’s happening on the inside. Strangely enough, this procedure has also yielded positive results from mothers after having undergone the process.“If you want to move this ahead as quickly as possible and particularly if we know you are ovulating and we don’t have any explanation, it’s relatively easy to do,” says Streicher.
Clomid is a drug that is used to stimulate ovulation. Most of the time, doctors prescribe this drug to monitor your cycle and ensure that you’re not overstimulated. Dr. Streicher claims that this helpful little medication “[W]ill definitely enhance fertility in someone, even if they’re known to have normal ovulatory function.”
6. Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) injections
HCG, is a hormone that doctors typically inject patients with in order to force ovulation and maximize the efficiency of your cycle. Experts say that this can also be done during artificial insemination.
This article originally appeared on Glamour
READ: New research shows fertility treatment is more effective than ever
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