Treatments for Infertility


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Treatment of Infertility: medical news summaries: The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Infertility:

Treatments of Infertility discussion: Depending on what the tests turn up, different treatments are recommended. Eighty to 90 percent of infertility cases are treated with drugs or surgery.

Therapy with the fertility drug Clomid or with a more potent hormone stimulator--Pergonal, Metrodin, Humegon, or Fertinex--is often recommended for women with ovulation problems. The benefits of each drug and the side effects, which can be minor or serious but rare, should be discussed with the doctor. Multiple births occur in 10 to 20 percent of births resulting from fertility drug use.

Other drugs, used under very limited circumstances, include Parlodel (bromocriptine mesylate), for women with elevated levels of a hormone called prolactin, and a hormone pump that releases gonadotropins necessary for ovulation.

If drugs aren't the answer, surgery may be. Because major surgery is involved, operations to repair damage to the woman's ovaries, fallopian tubes, or uterus are recommended only if there is a good chance of restoring fertility. 1

New, more complex assisted reproductive technologies, or ART, procedures, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), have been available since the birth 18 years ago of Louise Brown, the world's first "test tube baby." IVF makes it possible to combine sperm and eggs in a laboratory for a baby that is genetically related to one or both partners. IVF is often used when a woman's fallopian tubes are blocked. First, medication is given to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Once mature, the eggs are suctioned from the ovaries (1) and placed in a laboratory culture dish with the man's sperm for fertilization (2). The dish is then placed in an incubator (3). About two days later, three to five embryos are transferred to the woman's uterus (4). If the woman does not become pregnant, she may try again in the next cycle. 1

Gamete intrafallopian transfer, or GIFT: Similar to IVF, but used when the woman has at least one normal fallopian tube. Three to five eggs are placed in the fallopian tube, along with the man's sperm, for fertilization inside the woman's body.

Zygote intrafallopian transfer, or ZIFT (also called tubal embryo transfer): A hybrid of IVF and GIFT. The eggs retrieved from the woman's ovaries are fertilized in the lab and replaced in the fallopian tubes rather than the uterus.

Donor egg IVF: For women who, for example, have impaired ovaries or carry a genetic disease that can be transferred to the offspring. Eggs are donated by another healthy woman and fertilized in the lab with the male partner's sperm before being transferred to the female partner's uterus.

Frozen embryos: Excess embryos are frozen, to be thawed in the future if the woman doesn't get pregnant on the first cycle or wants another baby in the future. 1

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Infertility: NWHIC

Last revision: Nov 26, 2003

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