For many couples, getting pregnant is not an easy task. In the United States, about 15% of couples are unable to get pregnant after a year of regular, unprotected sex. Couples who fall into this group should talk to a doctor about fertility treatment options. Because there are so many fertility treatment options available, here are some questions that may be helpful to ask.
WHAT CAN I DO TO IMPROVE MY FERTILITY?
Some research has shown that simple lifestyle changes can boost fertility by up to 69%. For example, in one study, couples who took antioxidant supplements had a 23% greater chance of success with in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The best strategies to boost fertility will depend on the health of each individual person. For example, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may find that eating a diet lower in carbohydrates increases chances of getting pregnant. Each couple should ask the doctor about individual risk factors and recommendations for boosting fertility.
WHAT TYPES OF INFERTILITY TREATMENTS DO YOU RECOMMEND?
Treatment for infertility can vary. Two of the most common infertility treatment options are intrauterine insemination (IUI) and IVF. Both these treatments aim to help sperm more easily fertilize an egg. Depending on the reasons for infertility, couples may also want to consider donor sperm or donor eggs in infertility treatments.
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF INFERTILITY TREATMENTS WORKING?
Some forms of assisted reproductive technology, such as IVF, have over a 40% success rate. Couples should understand, however, that success rates decrease with age. This is true for both the male and female partner. Additionally, the success of any fertility treatment can be affected by the health and lifestyle habits of both the male and female partner.
WHAT CAN MY PARTNER DO TO IMPROVE HIS FERTILITY?
In up to one-third of infertile couples, male infertility plays a role. Most of the time, male infertility is due to problems with sperm. Male infertility can result from certain medications, such as those used to treat depression, digestive problems, arthritis, or high blood pressure.
Sometimes the reason for male infertility is hard to identify. In these cases, fertility treatment may start with conservative options like IUI and progress to sperm retrieval techniques if conservative approaches are unsuccessful.
INFERTILITY TREATMENT IS A PARTNERSHIP
Infertility can be challenging, but treatment options are available. Treating infertility is best approached as a partnership between the couple and the healthcare provider. Patients should ask the doctor about the factors that could affect fertility and what infertility treatments may be most effective on an individual basis.