Women who are unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy after 12 months of trying to get pregnant have treatment options. Infertility affects nearly 6.7 million women in the US alone, and many factors such as age, health conditions and other issues can make it difficult for some to become pregnant. An endocrinologist, urologist, or an OB/Gyn can diagnose infertility by conducting a series of physical exams, and blood and urine tests to check hormone levels present in the body. If medical lab results determine infertility, women have an array of treatment options that can help increase the chances for getting pregnant.
Infertile couples can take certain fertility medications that help regulate key hormones in the body that assist women to ovulate regularly, thus increasing the chances of conceiving. Women who are diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries, may benefit from taking fertility drugs like clomiphene citrate, which helps increase the follicle-stimulation hormone and luteinising hormone that are essential for ovulation. Women who are recommended this drug by their doctor usually take a 50mg dose of clomiphene citrate, and it is estimated that 80% of women who take treatment will ovulate successfully, however, fewer than 50% of women will achieve pregnancy.
Women who are unsuccessful at getting pregnant using current medications may benefit from intrauterine insemination. This procedure is conducted by placing sperm into the uterus during ovulation to facilitate fertilization. Patients who undergo this procedure are often given other fertility drugs that help ovulate and increase chances for a pregnancy. The success rate of intrauterine insemination is dependent on the woman’s age and the quality of the male sperm. For women in their early 30s, intrauterine insemination has a success rate of about 20%, but this rate significantly drops to lower than 5% for women in their mid 40s.
In Vitro Fertilization Steps
In Vitro Fertilization
The most effective way for women to achieve a pregnancy is through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Women who undergo IVF receive a series of procedures where eggs are removed from the ovaries and then fertilized with the male sperm in a lab. After the insemination is performed, the eggs are then implanted into the woman’s uterus. A full cycle of IVF can take up to 2 weeks, and women are then tested for pregnancy through blood and urine samples. What makes IVF different from other fertility treatments is that the procedure can be conducted using the sperm or eggs from other individuals. The benefit of IVF is that using other eggs and sperm can increase the chances of conceiving in more complex infertility cases. The success rate of IVF is the highest for younger women around 40%, but the average rate for other women is around 20-35%.
It is important to note that the fertility rate is related to the age of the woman trying to conceive. Pregnancy rates for women in their 20s is at the highest, while rates of women in their 30s are estimated around 25% per ovulation cycle. However, the likelihood of pregnancy significantly drops to around 5% per cycle after a woman reaches her mid 30s to early 40s. These rates are based on the age related degeneration in the quality of eggs a women carries in the ovaries.
For more information about fertility treatments and medications, visit our Fertility Conditions Page.