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Fertility treatment options

Women seeking answers about fertility options may undergo several treatments available. Fertility drugs, surgical procedures, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization are probably the best known therapies, but there are also gamete and zygote intrafallopian transfers and intracytoplasmic sperm injections. Some women may also decide to take donor eggs or embryos, or to have someone carry their child for them (surrogate mother). Before making the decision, it is best to know something about all these procedures.

Fertility Medications and Surgery

Gonadotropins and clomiphene are commonly prescribed to women who cannot conceive. The treatment lasts about 3 to 6 months and during that time, these drugs should regulate reproductive hormones in a woman’s body and cause release of one of more eggs during ovulation. Fertility drugs can be combined with some other fertility treatment and the success rate is then 20 to 60%.

Clomiphene may cause headaches, cramps, hot flashes, bloating and dry vagina, while gonadotropins are known to provoke rashes, bloating or soreness. Talking about the price, clomiphene pills are $50 per month (plus additional expenses for doctor’s appointments, ultrasound and further fertility treatments). Gonadotropin injections are pricy and will cost you $2.000 to $5.000 for one month of treatment.

Blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and fibroids may cause infertility and surgery is one of the ways to sort it out. Although surgery usually costs from $3.000 to $10.000, there is 40 to 60% chances to conceive after surgical treatment for endometriosis and some 10 to even 90% to become pregnant after clearing of blocked fallopian tubes. Laparoscopic surgery may cause sore abdomen or discomfort in the chest and shoulders for a few days.

Artificial Insemination

Some women may conceive after injection of her partner’s (or donor’s) sperm into the uterus. This process is known as artificial insemination and it is found to be successful for 5 to 25% of women. Costs for the procedure are about $300 to $700 and some women may experience cramps or need to use certain fertility drugs.

In Vitro Fertilization

IVF, as this treatment is well known of, consists of removal of the eggs from the ovaries, lab fertilization with your partner’s sperm and then placement of embryos into the uterus. IVF is seen to cause pregnancy in 28 to 35% of treated women. The procedure costs somewhere in the region of $8.000 to $15.000 and the only downfall may be hyperstimulation syndrome.

Other Fertility Therapies

Gamete and zygote intrafallopian transfers (GIFT and ZIFT) are characterized by mix of the sperm and the eggs in the lab and then surgical injection to the body. The difference is that GIFT leaves fertilization to take place inside the body, while ZIFT injects already fertilized eggs into the fallopian tubes. Success rate for both treatments is 25 to 30%, while syndrome of hyperstimulated ovaries and the price of $8.000 to $15.000 might be potential downfalls.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is found to lead to pregnancy in 35% of all treated women, while donor eggs or embryos are successful in 43% of infertility cases. Costs of these treatments are over $10.000 and up to $20.000.

Some women may decide to find another woman to carry their embryo and give birth to the child. This is probably the most expensive option ($15.000 to $50.000) and you cannot control all aspects of pregnancy, but for some women this might be the only option to become mothers.

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