Alternatives to IVF

Couples with low fertility will be advised to explore alternative, cheaper options before using IVF. There are many options available that can prove more effective, and IVF is generally considered further down the line of fertility treatments. Couples may try some of the following methods:

Fertility drugs

The chance of pregnancy is increased by manipulating the hormones to stimulate the production of eggs, may women find that their infertility is due to an imbalance in hormones, if the hypothalamus is not releasing a normal balance of follicle stimulating hormone then normal ovulation will not occur and this will lead to infertility. Three to six months’ worth of menstrual cycles will be controlled using fertility drugs before you will be advised to move on to other methods.

Clomiphene is an oestrogen receptor modulator meaning that it effects the information that the hypothalamus received about the production of gonadotropins, "tricking" the brain into producing more. Aromatase inhibiters lower the production of oestrogen and is normally used in cancer patients, however, research is being conducted onto how it can be used to stimulate follicle stimulating hormones the a similar way to Clomiphene. Fertility drugs aim to recreate natural hormone production, Clomiphene should increase follicle stimulating hormones.

Intrauterine insemination

Intrauterine involves using a sperm donation or the sperm of one of the partners. The sperm is taken to a lab to be washed and prepared for insemination. The sperm is also tested for transferable diseases.

The sperm can be inserted in several ways, firstly, using a needless syringe. The syringe will insert the semen into the vagina, using a long tube to enable place it as deep as is necessary. This is known as intra-cervical insemination.

Intrauterine insemination involves the semen being placed directly into the uterus, this semen must have been treated to remove unnecessary components to prevent it from being expelled from the body via urine cramping. After the procedure, movement is not recommended for at least 15 minutes.

Chances of fertilisation are higher using this method than intercourse as the sperm is entering closer to the egg. If you use this method then your doctor will monitor when it is the prime time for fertilisation. Artificial insemination may also be used by couples where the women is fertile and the cause of infertility is with the male, or this method may be used by same sex couples. Couples will be recommended to repeat the procedure up to 6 times.

« What is Metabolomics? History and Development of IVF and ICSI »