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Infertility

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Treatment

Treatment for infertility depends on a number of factors, including how long the couple has been trying to become pregnant, the age and health of the couple, the cause of infertility, and the couple's preferences about infertility treatments.

The process can begin with a visit to a gynecologist/obstetrician, urologist specializing in infertility (andrology), reproductive endocrinologist (certified infertility specialist), or fertility clinic. A fertility treatment plan, involving both the man and woman, may include changes in nutrition, lifestyle, and environmental factors.

Not all cases of infertility can be resolved, but 85% to 90% of cases can be successfully treated using conventional medical therapies, according to the National Institutes of Health. Depending on the problem and diagnosis, one or more of the following treatments may be used:

  • Medications, such as drug therapies to improve a man's sperm count or fertility drugs to stimulate a woman to ovulate
  • Surgery—for example, in men, to remove a blockage that is preventing sperm moving through ducts and tubes or, in women, to remove growths in the uterus called polyps or fibroids
  • Intra-uterine insemination (IUI)—placing sperm directly in a woman's reproductive tract at or near the time of ovulation
  • Assisted reproductive technologies (ART)—these procedures involve handling the egg and sperm in the laboratory and the inserting the fertilized egg (ovum) back into the woman's uterus. A common example is in vitro fertilization (IVF). See the Related Pages section for links to more information on these.

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