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Infertility Services

Female infertility is a woman’s inability to become pregnant or to carry a pregnancy to term. Infertility treatments have the goal of helping a woman conceive, carry and bear a child. Because infertility has many causes that may disrupt the process of conception and pregnancy at numerous stages, infertility services encompass a wide range of treatments designed to intervene at different parts of this process.

Infertility is a frustrating and often mysterious dilemma, covering numerous medical conditions such as:

Ovulation disorders

Hormonal disorders can cause women not to produce eggs or to produce fewer eggs than normal. One hormonal imbalance that’s often responsible for ovulation problems is polycystic ovarian syndrome. With this condition, eggs may not form properly or be released at the usual time. Ovarian insufficiency, when women stop ovulating early in life, may also lead to infertility.

Problems with the fallopian tubes

Sometimes, endometriosis or pelvic disorder [link to pelvic disorders condition page] may cause the tubes that lead from the ovaries to the uterus to be blocked. Blockage prevents the egg from getting to the uterus to be fertilized.

Problems of the uterus

Occasionally, the uterus may have a condition that prevents fertilized eggs from implanting or growing. The uterine walls may be too thin as a result of hormonal variations, for example. Or uterine fibroids, benign growths on the uterine walls, may prevent pregnancy.

The woman’s health & well-being

Many external factors can impact fertility, including alcohol use, excess weight or underweight, smoking and stress. Diseases from diabetes to STDs can make it more difficult to conceive, too.

Infertility treatment starts with assessing the reasons why the patient cannot become pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term. Doctors may take a couple’s history, perform physical exams and perform specialized tests on men and women.

Once a cause of infertility has been determined, treatment options are selected to correct the problem and also to enhance the general environment for fertility. Multiple treatments may be administered. For example, a woman may be encouraged to stop smoking, while also administered a medication to help with ovulation.

Treatment Options

Some of the most common treatments for infertility in women include medical management, in-vitro fertilization, gamete intrafallopian transfer, surrogacy and gestational carrying.

Medications for Infertility

Medications for infertility often work by stimulating the ovaries to produce eggs. Some medicines act on the pituitary gland to cause ovulation. Others work on the ovaries themselves to spur egg production or to regulate the timing of ovulation so eggs are released when they are ready to be fertilized.

Other medications adjust levels of hormones, such as testosterone or prolactin, that may be interfering with egg production.

In-Vitro Fertilization & Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer

In-vitro fertilization occurs when eggs are fertilized in a lab setting, then inserted into the uterus. First, the woman typically takes a drug that causes multiple eggs to be formed. Next, the eggs are removed and fertilized with the sperm of a partner or donor.

In a variant of this procedure known as gamete intrafallopian transfer, eggs and sperm are collected outside the woman’s body, then transferred into the fallopian tube to be fertilized internally.

Gestational Carrying

Gestational carrying is used when the woman’s eggs are viable but she is unable to complete a pregnancy for other reasons (for instance, she may have had a hysterectomy). In this treatment, the woman’s eggs are harvested and fertilized, then placed with a volunteer via in-vitro insemination. The volunteer carries the pregnancy to term.

Surrogacy & Egg Donation

Surrogacy and egg donation are treatments for infertility in which another woman’s eggs are used for part of the embryo’s genetic makeup.

  • In surrogacy, a volunteer is fertilized with the partner’s sperm, then carries the pregnancy to term.
  • In egg donation, eggs are retrieved from the donor, fertilized and then implanted via in-vitro fertilization.

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