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A fertility workup will help your doctor—and you—determine the right course of fertility treatment. With the right fertility treatment, almost 90 percent of fertility patients are able to have a baby.
When most people hear the term “infertility treatment” they think of in vitro fertilization (IVF), whereby a fertilized egg (embryo) is transferred to the uterus. In reality, IVF accounts for less than 3 percent of infertility services. Variations on standard IVF include natural cycle IVF, low-stimulation (low-stim) IVF, gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT). IVF can also be performed with donor eggs and/or donor sperm.
If more embryos develop than will be implanted during an IVF cycle, those embryos will be frozen, or cryopreserved.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is procedure that also bypasses the fallopian tubes; sperm are inserted into the uterus at the time of ovulation. This is an appropriate first treatment option for many fertility patients.
Women with ovulation disorders are typically given fertility medication in order to induce ovulation. The oral fertility drug Clomid is often the first line of treatment; injectable medications are prescribed to spur follicle growth when oral medications don't work.
Occasionally fertility treatment cycles may be cancelled. Cancelled cycles may be the result of ovarian hyperstimulation, poor stimulation, or eggs that don’t fertilize.
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) screens embryos for chromosomal abnormalities, and provides an opportunity for patients to transfer the embryos with the best chance of implantation. (It may also be used for gender selection.) PGD is used with IVF.
Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture and Chinese herbs are gaining wider acceptance from the Western medical community, are being integrated into infertility treatment plans, and offered at some fertility clinics in the U.S.
The Two-Week Wait and Pregnancy Tests
With both IUI and IVF, there is what is referred to as a “two week wait.” This is the amount of time between the procedure and the pregnancy test. Understandably it’s often a time filled with great anxiety, and the temptation always looms to use a home pregnancy test. For accurate results, a blood pregnancy test done in your physician’s office is recommended.