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What are Different Types of Fertility Treatments?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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There are many types of fertility treatments for those who are having difficulty conceiving a child. Success is not ensured with any of the different types of fertility treatments. As well, certain treatments are now raising ethical issues both inside and out of the medical community.

A basic infertility diagnosis is the first step toward fertility treatments. Often, a couple needs to try conceiving naturally for at least a year to 15 months prior to seeking fertility treatments. In some cases, couples may not be diagnosed with any fertility problems.

When no fertility problems are diagnosed, couples may be given specific instructions as to when to conceive, based on the woman’s ovulation cycle. They may also be given instructions on sexual positions, holding positions after sex, and in other areas, in order to help increase the chances of getting pregnant. In some cases, those having trouble conceiving may use injections of sperm, rather than intercourse to increase likelihood of pregnancy.

When problems are diagnosed, fertility treatments depend significantly on the type of problem. A woman with scarring in the fallopian tubes may undergo surgery to remove scarring and increase chances of pregnancy. As women age, age of ova also can affect ovulation in a healthy woman, meaning that women may not always ovulate at predictable times or eggs may not be viable.

In some cases, fertility treatments involve injection of fertility medications to boost ovulation and cause women to release possibly more than one egg per month. These medications are usually hormone based, and they do have some unwanted side effects, like weight gain, skin breakouts, and instability of mood. Many women feel these side effects are worth the price.

Men may also take medication to boost sperm count, if this is one of the recommended fertility treatments for a couple. Medications used may result in pregnancy, but also carry a higher rate of both miscarriages and multiple births. In men, temporary feminizing characteristics may occur.

When injections and other methods still do not result in pregnancy, couples may look to in vitro fertilization in order to achieve pregnancy. In this procedure, eggs and sperm are harvested from the couple, and then combined to create an embryo. At the appropriate time of the month, several embryos are injected into the uterus.

In vitro fertility treatments are highly expensive. Usually one round of in vitro injection costs about 10,000 US dollars (USD). Others believe in vitro compromises ethical issues that have not been thoroughly resolved. For example, since more than one embryo is implanted, this significantly increases the risk of heavy multiple births.

While a woman can usually carry twins or even triplets to term, a greater number of babies means greater health risks to all the unborn children. In these cases, doctors may strongly advocate aborting some of the embryos. This position is thought by many to be a violation of religious ethics. As well, such fertility treatments often create embryos which will never be implanted, and thus must be destroyed. Some people believe that the creation of such embryos with no intent to give them a chance at life is morally wrong. Others worry about these embryos being donated and later exploited for the purpose of stem cell harvesting.

Since many in the public have registered concern of fertility treatments that result in extra embryos, some in stem cell research are now putting forth effort to harvest stem cells from elsewhere, like from umbilical cord blood. At some time in the near future, the use of embryos to harvest stem cells may no longer be an issue.

Others forgo common medical fertility treatments and explore alternative or complementary medicine. Some follow strict dietary practices, pursue acupuncture, or take herbs that appear to increase fertility. Since the medical community does not study many of these methods, it is of value to research results of these practices, and safety, prior to attempting them.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By cafe41 — On Aug 22, 2010

BrickBack- I think that women that go through these treatments should also belong to a support group or at least talk to other women who are experiencing the same issues so they don't feel alone.

Anytime when we are struggling especially with something as important as having a child, we can feel really lonely. It is best to talk about your feelings in order to help yourself through the process.

BabyCenter has a wonderful forum for women going through fertility treatment.

By BrickBack — On Aug 22, 2010

Sunshine31- I just wanted to say that going to a fertility treatment center is not easy. All of these options offer physical side effects along with emotional stress.

I really feel for couples that are having these issues. I have two wonderful children and I am so grateful that I did not have these issues.

I did have a coworker who did go through a variety of fertility treatments, and when she got off on the medication and stopped all of the fertility interventions she got pregnant.

This is just about the time she was going to give up. She now has two healthy children and the doctors told her that there was nothing else they could do. Her fertility treatments cost her about her $20,000, but I think she is so happy and appreciates her children even more.

By sunshine31 — On Aug 22, 2010

Bananas- I didn’t know that.I did want to add thath that there are a lot of fertility treatment options.

Women with fertility problems can seek fertility treatment in the form of fertility drugs, surgery, or artificial insemination.

Usually women using fertility drugs like gonadtroping or clomiphene usually have up to a 50% chance of conceiving. But the cost of fertility treatments is expensive.

Gonadtroping can cost up to $5,000 a month. Surgery is also another option, but this can cost up to $10,000 and it's usually done when there's a case of fibroids.

Artificial insemination is about $700 for each procedure that it has a maximum success rate of 25%.

By bananas — On Jan 05, 2009

There is some indication that using cell phones interferes with fertility. At a Cleveland Clinic study of men, in 2008 it was found that the longer the men used the cell phone the lower their sperm count and higher the percentage of abnormal sperms.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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