A Variety of Treatment Approaches
Once you have had an evaluation for infertility, there are a variety of ways to treat infertility, including:
- Medication, drug therapy
- Surgery to repair damage to a woman's ovaries, fallopian tubes or uterus, or to correct a man’s infertility problems
- Intrauterine insemination/artificial insemination where the woman is injected with carefully prepared sperm (e.g. intracytoplasmic sperm injections) from the husband, partner or sperm donor
- Assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrafallopian transfer
Most often, a fertility specialist treats infertility with medication or surgical repair of the reproductive organs. In addition, lifestyle changes may help alleviate infertility, such as reducing stress, diet modification, stopping drugs or alcohol or reducing the temperature around the testes.
We may recommend different treatments for infertility depending on the problem. We treat about 90% of patients with drugs or surgery. We may use various fertility drugs for women with ovulation problems. It is important to talk with your doctor about the drug being used. You should understand the drug's benefits and side effects. Depending on the type of fertility drug and the dosage used, multiple births (such as twins) can occur in some women. Some types of drug therapy:
- Clomiphene citrate (Clomid): This medicine causes ovulation by acting on the pituitary gland. It is often used in women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or other problems with ovulation. This medicine is taken by mouth.
- Human menopausal gonadotropinm, or hMG (Repronex, Pergonal): This medicine is often used for women who don't ovulate due to problems with their pituitary gland. hMG acts directly on the ovaries to stimulate ovulation. It is an injected medicine.
- Follicle-stimulating hormonem or FSH (Gonal-F, Follistim): FSH works much like hMG. It causes the ovaries to begin the process of ovulation. These medicines are usually injected.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) analog: These medicines are often used for women who don't ovulate regularly each month. Women who ovulate before the egg is ready can also use these medicines. Gn-RH analogs act on the pituitary gland to change when the body ovulates. These medicines are usually injected or given with a nasal spray.
- Metformin (Glucophage): Doctors use this medicine for women who have insulin resistance and/or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This drug helps lower the high levels of male hormones in women with these conditions. This helps the body to ovulate. Sometimes clomiphene citrate or FSH is combined with metformin. This medicine is usually taken by mouth.
- Bromocriptine (Parlodel): This medicine is used for women with ovulation problems due to high levels of prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone that causes milk production.