Understanding Infertility


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) –Infertility is defined as an inability to get pregnant after having frequent, unprotected sex for a year. For couples experiencing fertility issues, seeking in vitro fertilization, or IVF, treatment may be the first solution that comes to mind. However, there are things you need to know before going the IVF route.

Whether they’re naturally made or made with a little help, everyone can agree babies are cute. IVF has become a popular option for women who want a baby but have trouble conceiving on their own. However, the hefty price tag may steer some away.

“It can cost between eighteen and twenty thousand dollars for a single attempt.” Said Eve Feinberg, MD, at Northwestern Medicine

Most doctors say about 90 percent of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy or surgical treatments, which should be prior options before IVF. Less than three percent need advanced treatments such as IVF.

Another thing to note, success rates of IVF treatments go down as age goes up. Women under 35 have more than a 40 percent chance of getting pregnant, while women over 40 have only a 15 percent chance. And genetic testing of embryos can go a long way to ensure that your future baby is free of life-threatening diseases at birth.

“The ability to know from the get go that your baby is unaffected and has a higher likelihood of being healthy is amazing.” Dr. Feinberg told Ivanhoe.

Fifteen states, including California, Illinois, and Texas, have laws that require insurance companies to offer coverage for infertility treatments.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.

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REPORT #2449

BACKGROUND: Studies show in the United States, ten to15 percent of couples are infertile. Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year without using birth control. It can result from an issue with either partner. Causes of male infertility include abnormal sperm production or function, problems with delivery of sperm, overexposure to certain environmental factors or damage related to cancer and its treatment. Causes of female infertility may include ovulation disorders, uterine or cervical abnormalities, fallopian tube damage or blockage, endometriosis, primary ovarian insufficiency, pelvic adhesions or cancer and its treatment.  In about 20% of infertile couples, both partners have fertility problems, and in about 15% of couples, no cause is found after all tests have been done. Risk factors include age, tobacco or alcohol use, being over or under weight and exercise issues. Half of the couples who seek help do eventually have a child, either on their own or with medical help. There are many safe and effective therapies that significantly improve your chances of getting pregnant.

(Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infertility/home/ovc-20228734 and http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/understanding-infertility-basics)

STANDARD TREATMENTS: Some fertility issues are treated more easily than others. As a woman ages, her chances of getting pregnant go down while her risk of miscarriage goes up. If you are 35 or older, your doctor may recommend that you skip some of the steps younger couples usually take. That’s because your chances of having a baby decrease with each passing year. Treatments for fertility concerns in women may include taking medicine like Clomiphene, which stimulates your ovaries to release eggs, hormone injections, or insemination. Metformin may be used to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome.  If mild to moderate endometriosis seems to be the main reason for your infertility, treatment may include laparoscopic surgery to remove endometrial tissue growth. Tubal surgery may be needed if the fallopian tubes are blocked.  For fertility concerns in men, your doctor might recommend you try insemination first where the sperm are collected and then concentrated to increase the number of healthy sperm.

(Source: http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/tc/fertility-problems-treatment-overview#1)

OTHER OPTIONS: Treatments for fertility can be extremely costly so it is important to discuss with your partner how far you want to go with fertility treatments. Insurance often doesn’t cover these expenses. Many couples who have difficulties getting pregnant must decide after initial treatments don’t work whether they want to try assisted reproductive technology (ART). In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common type of ART. In this treatment, a fertilized egg or eggs are placed in the woman’s uterus through the cervix. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, is where your doctor injects one sperm into one egg. If fertilization occurs, the doctor puts the embryo into the woman’s uterus. Discussing and planning this ahead of time may help keep you from becoming emotionally and financially drained from trying a series of treatments you hadn’t planned for.  At this point, some couples decide to spend their resources on adoption instead of IVF.

(Source: http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/tc/fertility-problems-treatment-overview#2)

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Sheila Galloro

Media Relations