Infertility treatment is never easy as it involves a great deal of physical, financial and emotional pressure. Things can get worse if the treatment fails to yield result cycle after cycle. If something like this happens, the couple needs to know when they should go for another treatment option. The decision is not an easy one as the change should come at the right time. Losing patience and giving up hope too soon would be wrong. And so would be waiting too long, as the wait may become endless. The couple should therefore study all the options and time their decision right. They should consult their infertility specialist and decide the best game plan for the future.
Infertility treatment should always start with the basics, with the simplest treatment alternative. Transitioning from a basic treatment to an advanced one is a logical step if the former has failed repeatedly. Factors like age, the number of failed cycle with a particular treatment, and medical complications need to be taken into account while moving over to another treatment. Here, a doctor can also help a patient to decide when time is ripe for the transition. They can study the available data and statistics to guide the patients for making an informed decision.
First things first: Do I need to see an infertility specialist?
To begin with, it is important for a couple to understand when they need help. Failure to conceive despite having regular, unprotected sex for a year rings warning bells. This means that the couple needs to see a doctor and have themselves evaluated for infertility-related complications. If the woman is over 30, she should consult a doctor after six months of attempting pregnancy. It is vital to seek treatment sooner rather than later because her biological clock is ticking.
The first visit to the infertility specialist would include comprehensive consultation, with the specialist recording the complete history. Following this, they would be made to undergo a series of diagnostic tests for both the partners. These would include the basic blood work, hormonal testing, ultrasound examination, and advanced tests, if required. Based on the results of these tests, a treatment plan is to be chalked out.
Beginning with Basics-Clomid Therapy
Though there is an array of advanced infertility treatment options available for patients, it is best to start with the simplest ones. There is a possibility that these basic, less expensive techniques would yield successful results. Oral medication, namely Clomid, is used as the first-line therapy in case the woman suffers from irregular/absent ovulation. Three to four cycles with Clomid therapy are regarded as feasible time to attempt pregnancy this way. If the woman is over 35 years of age and suffers from unexplained infertility, she should move to a more advanced treatment even sooner.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Once three or four cycles with ovulation medication fail, the specialist would recommend moving over to IUI. He may suggest a non-medicated IUI cycle or one with ovulation induction. A non-medicated cycle is suggested in case of mild male factor infertility. Ovulation induction may be opted when the specialist thinks that it would enhance the chances of IUI success. With IUI too, the couple should wait for a maximum of three failed cycles before moving on. Young couples may try a fourth time too, if the specialist supports their decision. The older ones would definitely be suggested to move on.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Couples of advanced age should better proceed with In Vitro Fertilization if IUI does not get them results. IVF is a more aggressive approach, with excellent success rates. Even women over 35 years have considerably good chances of conceiving with IVF right in the first attempt. Additionally, IVF cycle yields multiple embryos and a woman can have a few of them frozen for subsequent cycles. This means that she has chances to have children using Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) IVF later too.
Donor Egg IVF
But IVF too does not come with the guarantee of success. An IVF failure can be a huge setback for the couple. A failed cycle calls for detailed analysis to detect the exact cause and handle it before the next cycle. Medical and physical complications have to be resolved with proper treatment before taking another chance. On the other hand, donor egg IVF is the option that has to be explored by women with poor quality eggs. Women of advanced maternal age may be referred a donor egg cycle at the first instance only. Donor egg IVF offers better chances of success because it is carried out with healthy eggs of younger women.
Knowing their options is important for infertility patients as this gives them a fair idea about what to expect. A patient may probably not need all of them but it is still important to know that these exist. Further down the road, there is the option of surrogacy, a third party infertility technique. Surrogacy involves a surrogate, the woman who rents her womb for a patient who cannot carry the pregnancy herself. Finally, if the patient is still unable to conceive with all these treatment options, acceptance of the truth would help. For such patients, planning an adoption is the best way to start a family.
Gaudium IVF is one of the leading IVF clinics in India and is renowned for bringing high-tech treatment for female infertility and gynecological problems to the doorstep of women.
Visit here for a free second opinion and expert advice from Manika Khanna, the top IVF specialist in Delhi.