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Five Lower Cost Fertility Treatments
If you are considering infertility treatment, do you automatically think it’s going to cost you a lot of money? If so, think again. According to national statistics, only 2% of women with infertility nationwide need IVF; that’s a very small group of patients who require a potentially expensive fertility treatment. For the other 98% of women with infertility, low cost fertility treatments may be what is needed to conceive.
Dr. Jane Frederick, Medical Director of HRC Fertility in Southern California, says the following five procedures are worth exploring. What’s right for you depends on your age and infertility diagnosis.
- Monitored Clomid Cycle with Ovulation Induction. This is a first line of treatment, especially in women under 40 where pre-testing indicates good sperm parameters, the fallopian tubes are open and the patient has good ovarian reserve, Frederick says. A day-3 ultrasound provides a baseline; the oral fertility drug Clomid is taken on days 3-7; a second ultrasound is administered and estradiol levels are checked on day 12 or 13. The doctor will trigger ovulation with HSG, and if sperm parameters are normal, the couple will be advised the optimum time to have intercourse to conceive. If sperm parameters are sub-optimal, Dr. Frederic suggests two intrauterine inseminations per cycle. Clomid is a low cost fertility drug, and this treatment only requires only 3 to 5 doctor visits per cycle.
- Laparoscopy and Hysteroscopy. Both laparoscopy and hysteroscopy are minimally invasive surgical procedures that can diagnose and treat endometriosis, adhesions and scar tissue that might be hindering pregnancy. With laparoscopy, a very small telescope-like tube (laparoscope) is inserted through a small incision near the belly button and allows the doctor to view the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. A hysteroscopy allows the physician to see the inside of the uterus with a hysteroscope. These outpatient surgeries are often covered by insurance.
- Monitored Gonadotropin Cycle. Based on the results of a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy, a monitored gonadotropin cycle may be the right course of fertility treatment, Frederick says. Gonadotropins are injectable fertility drugs that stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs. These fertility drugs are generally started on cycle day 2 to 4, and the patient will use the fertility drugs for 5 to 11 days. Like the aforementioned Clomid cycle, monitoring will take place and ovulation will be triggered with HCG. Sperm parameters will help determine whether IUI is appropriate.
- Mini IVF. Mini IVF is a low cost IVF option that may be right for patients with unexplained infertility, Frederick says. Mini IVF, sometimes referred to as low-stim IVF, is similar to convention IVF: ovulation induction, egg retrieval, fertilization and embryo transfer, but uses fewer fertility drugs and requires less monitoring and therefore fewer office visits. As a result of the minimal stimulation, fewer eggs are created, but in patients who are good candidates, there is a good chance of success, Frederick adds.
- Freeze All IVF Cycle. A freeze all IVF cycle is recommended for poor responders over the age of 40, women with high FSH, and women who might need maximum stimulation, Frederick says. A freeze all cycle mimics a regular IVF cycle, except instead of a fresh embryo transfer, all the embryos are frozen. The embryos are thawed, and combined with fresh (or previously frozen) embryos from one or more subsequent IVF cycles. Out of that pool it is determined, with preimplantation genetic diagnosis, the best embryos to transfer for the highest chance of pregnancy. “The patient saves because there is no transfer on the first or second "banking cycle" and the PGD is only billed once when all embryos are batched to see which one is genetically viable for transfer,” Frederick explains.
If you’d like more information on low cost fertility treatments contact our Patient Care Advocates at 855-955-229.