As struggling mothers-to-be, we have looked at about every option to aid in conception.
But even so, some of us – as I like to say – may hop into a boat without knowing how to paddle. In other words, it is hard to completely grasp all the dangers and risks associated with medical fertility treatments, and not to mention the cost that accompanies them. I mean, there has to be another way, right!? But before we go too far into the “dangers” of these therapies and eventually to the alternatives, let us first lay down a basis. What procedures are even out there? And how do they work? These are most likely questions we have all asked ourselves.
Well, let’s get to it then!
Common treatments include:
• Fertility drugs – such as Clomid
• Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
• In vitro fertilization (IVF), Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT)
• Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
• Donor eggs and embryos
• And even surgery (as covered in previous articles)
Fertility Drugs Clomiphene (Brands: Clomid and Serophene) and other drugs, such as injectable Gonadotropin (Brand: Pregnyl), have been used to regulate hormones relating to the reproduction system and also to influence the body to release one or more eggs during ovulation for fertilization.
Although these drugs have proven to increase chance of conception, this does not mean you simply shade in the risks and forget about them. And on top of that, the use of drugs is never a guarantee, but always a risk.
Only relating to the use of Clomiphene and Gonadotropin, these drugs can cause the body to experience:
• abdominal swelling
• mood swings
• breast tenderness
• ovarian cysts
• pelvic pain
• dry cervical mucous (often actually hurting your fertility)
• and even forms of depression
Gonadotropin, specifically, has also been popularly known to cause Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome – where the ovaries swell with fluid and become considerably painful.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) This specific procedure can be used in conjunction with In Vitro and consists of the harvest of both sperm and eggs. After the collection, a single sperm is injected into an egg and then the egg is placed into either the fallopian tube or directly into the uterus. A notable aspect to this procedure, however, is that Gonadotropin injectables are often used to allow for the development and release of more eggs for harvest. This, as mentioned before, has risks within itself.
ICSI has been known to only have a % 25 - % 35 success rates and cost, on average, $1500 per cycle. Additionally, this procedure has been linked to the cause of many side effects. The most extreme, as included in the references, are those of increased risk of birth defects and the higher possibility of multiple pregnancies.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) IVF is perhaps one of the most common and heard of treatments for fertility. This specific therapy is the action of extracting eggs and sperm and combining them within a laboratory. If fertilization is deemed successful, the embryo, or embryos, are then planted into the uterus for proper development and are then carried to term. However, there is only an average %20 success rate, depending on age. Also, there are also two specialized, less common procedures that fall under IVF.
Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) This still entails the mixing of eggs and sperm; except instead of the transfer of an embryo into the uterus, the egg/sperm mixture is placed inside the fallopian tube so that natural fertilization can take place.
Zygote Intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) This is very similar to GIFT, except that during this transfer, the doctor ensures that the eggs have been fertilized (zygote) before placing them into the fallopian tubes via laparoscopic surgery.
The downfall to IVF is that it is both very expensive (up to $25,000!) and that it also, like the other more-invasive infertility treatments, includes the use of Gonadotropin injectables and – with it – the enhanced chance for OHSS.
With IVF, it is also possible for the transfer of multiple embryos, increasing the chance for multiples. Implantation of eggs into the uterus can also cause unexpected bleeding and spotting, which can be uncomfortable and surprising.
Additionally, IVF often uses surgery, entailing the possibility for infection, soreness, scaring, and troubled recovery.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) This procedure is perhaps one of the least “intensive,” following regular pharmaceuticals. IUI is the process of injecting sperm through the cervix and into the uterus. This treatment can be the reason for mood swings, cramping, OHSS, and multiples; similar to other infertility treatments. IUI is generally used as a treatment for male infertility, but as discussed in other articles, there is still hope for them, too!
A Different Path Now that you have been further exposed into the specific procedures that can take place for infertility, it is important to understand what exactly they entail. Not only do they carry certain side effects along with them, but it also is not the most natural thing you can do for your body. You are introducing new drugs, undergoing anesthesia, and overall, undergoing disturbance within the reproductive system. And for what? A 15 or 30 percent chance and thousands of dollars out of your pocket? Sure, you may say it would be worth it, and I do not mean to disregard or disrespect these treatments, as for some they truly are the best option.
However, wouldn’t it just be so much better to use something that actually works WITH the body to achieve conception, rather than disturbing it!?
With herbs and other natural therapies such as:
You not only unite with the body, but you receive the same benefit of increasing your chance for conception. And not to mention that many of these therapies are beneficial to areas outside of the reproductive system! To improve your fertility and support your immune system at the same time? Sounds great, doesn’t it!?
But back to the point, you have to think about it like this: your fertility is just a game of clue. If you figure out the missing piece – the preventative – you solve the mystery. Whether it be hormone imbalance, a thinning uterine lining, or simple malnutrition.
Your source of infertility can be cured without all those “fancy,” risky, and expensive treatments. So what do you think? Is it worth the risk to hop in that boat? Or would you rather pair with your body to make for the perfect fertility duo?!
Sarah Clark empowers couples to discover how lifestyle and diet can dramatically impact their chances of conceiving. She was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at 28 and had both her kids with donor eggs. Not until years later did she discover that the root cause of her infertility was a food intolerance. Join the Free Fab Fertile Support Group on Facebook for mini-challenges, motivation and inspiration!