Need help getting pregnant?
Any woman under 35 who has tried to get pregnant for at least 12 months without success should see a doctor. Women over 35 should seek help after 6 months of unsuccessful attempts. A reproductive specialist will perform testing to gauge the reproductive health of both parties. If there is a known issue, the medical team can recommend various treatments based on the severity of infertility. Sometimes, the couple may have unexplained infertility, which may also benefit from treatment. Patients should explore all options while considering cost and effectiveness.
The natural options
People seeking natural fertility treatments want to avoid medication or assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment. This option takes a holistic approach to enhancing fertility, aiming to improve overall physical and reproductive health. The couple will be encouraged to keep trying naturally while making lifestyle changes such as dietary improvements, rest, stress reduction, acupuncture, and exercise. Avoiding smoking, alcohol, and recreational drug use is also recommended. In some cases, the medical team may recommend herbal supplements to improve fertility, though the results may vary.
Pros and cons
Natural options are useful since couples have a non-invasive, gentle approach to handling fertility troubles. This route is helpful for those with mild issues, which can clear up with the right lifestyle changes. The focus is on overall health and wellness, which also benefits the couple in the long run. Best of all, natural options are much cheaper than ART and are more accessible to underserved communities. However, the drawback is there is no certainty that pregnancy will be achieved. This option can also take much longer than medical fertility treatment. Natural options also rely on self-monitoring by the couple and breaking bad habits, which can be difficult. Some women also have complex fertility issues like endometriosis or diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), which require medical support.
Medical fertility treatments
Couples struggling to conceive can benefit from medical fertility treatments. A fertility clinic will combine medication with reproductive techniques to increase the chances of pregnancy. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are the most well-known forms of ART. Both are multi-step treatments, often requiring multiple cycles. This field is constantly evolving, and hundreds of thousands of children are born thanks to medical fertility treatments.
ART pros and cons
The most significant advantage of medical fertility treatment is that there is a known success rate. Although statistics can vary slightly based on age and underlying fertility issues, IVF is typically quoted as having a 50% success rate. Should subsequent cycles be required, the success rate is even higher when trying again. Medical fertility treatments can also help older patients who lose fertility over time. While effective, there are also drawbacks to medical treatment. ART treatments can be invasive, requiring samples, procedures, and even surgeries. The process is also lengthy and involves testing and medication use. Some couples must travel to other states to find the best help. All of these stressors can take a serious financial, physical, and emotional toll on couples.
Making the right choice
Infertility is stressful and challenging. However, couples trying to get and stay pregnant should not give up hope. Choosing between natural and medical options doesn’t have to be confusing. First, consider natural means if there is no severe medical issue. If this approach fails, consider moving on to medical options with higher success rates. For many patients, age and finances play a significant role, so the sooner couples consider fertility treatments, the better.