Category: Health

Male Infertility Treatments

Some causes of male infertility are sometimes correctable. A varicocele may be surgically repaired to improve fertility. Treatment with antibiotics of a chronic infection can enable a previously infertile man to become fertile. In some situations where substance abuse is a contributing factor, it may be essential for the male to abstain entirely from alcohol and/or other drugs and to join self-help groups in order to do so. Re-evaluation of medications prescribed to treat a chronic illness may produce positive results. A careful study of the man’s exposure to occupational hazards such as radiation, lead, or dangerous pesticides may indicate a possible solution through change in employment.

In other cases, administration of various hormones can increase a borderline sperm count or suppress sperm antibodies enough to make conception possible. These hormones include testosterone, thyroid hormone and cortisone. In some situations clomiphene citrate (Clomid) or human menopausal gonadotropins (Pergonal), medications that are used to induce ovulation in infertile women, may also be given to a man whose pituitary deficiency is the cause of his inability to father an offspring. In vitro fertilization, originally used more for female infertility, is being used increasingly for the treatment of male infertility.

What is being described as a revolution in treating infertile men originated in Belgium in 1993, when researchers produced several successful pregnancies by the direct injection of a single sperm cell into a human egg in a Petri dish. The important discovery was that men who had no viable sperm in their semen often had at least a small number in their testes. The problem was that getting the sperm out of the testicles required a very expensive operation and an extended hospital stay.

In 1995, American researchers found a much easier and cheaper way to extract the sperm: by aspirating them through a thin needle in a procedure that can be done in the doctor’s office. Even though the needle aspiration is not very expensive, it has to be combined with in vitro fertilization and the direct injection of sperm into eggs. The combined procedures, known as intracytoplasmic single sperm injection (ICSI), can cost as much as $15,000, an amount not likely to be covered by insurance.

The extraordinary advantage of this new development is that it has reduced fertilization to getting the sperm’s genes into the egg. It doesn’t matter whether the sperm can swim vigorously or even if it can penetrate the egg’s outer layer. All that matters is that it is alive. Dr. Richard J. Sherins, director of the male infertility program at the Genetics and IVF Institute in Fairfax, Virginia and the developer of the aspiration technique, believes that it should be of the greatest use to the approximately ten million American men who have had vasectomies. This is encouraging news because while the vas may be surgically repaired, this does not always result in the resumption of fertility. And according to the “New York Times” (6/19/95), even though the method is expensive, it has resulted in a diminishing market for sperm donors both in this country and Europe.

Drugs to Help You Get Pregnant

Facing a hard time to get pregnant? If so, then it’s crucial to know the fact that most fertility problems don’t have anything to do with women. In fact, research shows that 40 percent of fertility problems arise due to male fertility, 40 percent due to female infertility and 20 percent due to both. In certain cases where a man shows low sperm motility, the woman needs to take the fertility drugs to get pregnant. Use of drugs to help you get pregnant is common these days. These medications help to create an ambiance inside the reproductive system of the woman that is quite friendlier to the sperm.

It is quite depressing for a couple to face problems related to pregnancy, especially if they have tried several times to conceive a child. The good news is that advancement in the field of medicine in the last few years has been helping women to get pregnant successfully. Today, most women who have had problems with infertility years after marriage can find that they are able to get pregnant with the help of the fertility drugs.

Given below is the list of drugs to help you get pregnant:

Clomid

Clomid is one of the commonly prescribed fertility drugs. It is available in pill form and taken orally. This pill is prescribed to help women having trouble in ovulating regularly and for complication related with unexplained infertility. Clomid or clomiphene is generally known under its brand names- Serophene or Clomid. This works by stimulating the glands present in the brain to release two sorts of naturally occurring hormones-LH or LSH. Both these hormones then stimulate the ovaries to create or release mature eggs for fertilization.

Gonadotropins

This is another fertility drug which helps you to get pregnant. Basically, this drug duplicates the hormones produced by your brain normally. And Gonadotropins is usually given as injection. Gonadotropins is often used together with Clomid and IUI procedures (this is when sperm is injected into the uterus artificially) if it doesn’t produce results on its own. There are three commonly used Gonadotropin types to help you to get pregnant. These include:

1. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)

HCG is usually known under brand names-Pregnyl and Ovidrel. This medication is used in combination with HMG, clomiphene or FSH. This drug stimulates follicle to ovulate or release its egg.

2. Follicle-stimulating Hormone (FSH)

This is also known under brand names- Bravelle, Follistim and Gonal-F. The FSH functions by stimulating ovaries to produce the mature egg follicles.

3. Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (HMG)

The HMG is known for its popular brand names-Menopur or Repronex. This medication is usually prescribed for women who don’t ovulate as their pituitary glands fail to stimulate the ovulation. HMG contains both LH and FSH that directly stimulates ovaries to ovulate.

Metformin

Also described as glucophage, Metformin is a prescribed medication when insulin is considered to be the major cause of infertility and in cases of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrone or PCOS. This infertility drug functions by reducing the insulin resistance. Once the present insulin level is found to be normal, the ovulation and menstrual periods generally become regular. Moreover, Metformin is also used to treat Type 2 diabetes. These drugs can actually prove effective if you and your partner are facing infertility problems. However, it is important to consult with your doctor before taking drugs to help you to get pregnant. You can discuss any side effects or risks of these medicines with your doctor during or after the treatment. Fret not to talk about any kind of concerns which you may have.

Are There Infertility Drugs for PCOS?

PCOS, which stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a condition affecting many women of reproductive age. It is, in fact, one of the main causes of infertility for women. A lot of women first discover that they have this condition upon seeking consultation with a fertility specialist if they are unable to become pregnant. Some estimate that fewer than a quarter of the women with the condition are unaware that they have it. This is often because a lot of the symptoms of the condition are attributed to other potential causes. It is not until women try to get pregnant, and cannot, that they seek medical consultation to determine the cause and find they have the condition.

Women who have PCOS produce a good deal of insulin, which may lead to the production of more male hormones called androgen. This can negatively affect the ability of the body to produce female hormones that are required for ovulation, so egg follicles do not mature. Instead, some follicles may contain cysts. With ovulation not present, progesterone, the hormone that causes the uterine lining to thicken for implantation of the embryo, does not get produced and the menstrual cycle may become irregular.

To treat the condition, many turn to fertility drugs such as Clomid, which block the estrogen receptors in the brain so the body thinks that estrogen is low and production of LH and FSH increase. The latter hormones are what lead the body to ovulate. Some patients with PCOS turn to injections of LH and FSH, which directly increase levels of those hormones in the body so that follicle production and ovulation is stimulated. Many will turn to these injections if they do not find success with Clomid or other treatment options.

But not all women with the condition turn to fertility drugs to become pregnant. Some may turn to procedures like in vitro fertilization, which extracts eggs from the ovaries and combines them with sperm inside of a dish in a laboratory setting. The eggs and sperm create embryos, which can be transferred to the uterus for implantation. Still, medication may be required to stimulate the production of mature eggs capable of creating embryos. Many other assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are used as well, but many of these also require the use of fertility drugs to stimulate the production of mature eggs. Make sure that you speak with your doctor regarding the potential side effects of these medications.

Infertility Treatment and Your Health

Infertility treatment plans are based on the origin or the many causes of infertility. It also depends on just how far you want to take the treatment. This is a very emotional time and can be financially stressful as well. You should consider all the alternatives and discuss and end point. Insurance will cover some of the cost but not all and then there are possible surgery and IVF treatments to consider. So, try and set the emotions a side and at least come up with a preliminary plan. You can always make adjustments to the plan along the way.

Low-tech and natural forms of treatments are being used widely all over the world. Natural remedies such as vitamins to help promote ovulation or increase semen, acupuncture is being used for males and females and treatments as simple as eliminating lifestyle issues that may be creating infertility issues.

Then there are the traditional fertility specialist forms of treatment such as medications and surgery that make up more than 85% of the treatments for couples dealing with infertility. This does not mean that all of these couples require medication or surgery this is just the method that they chose to improve fertility for them. However, 3% of infertile couples will resort to using Assisted Reproductive Technologies such as IVF. Couples that begin treatment for infertility are likely to improve their health condition and more than two-thirds of these couples are also likely to have a child.

Some of the common methods of infertility treatment are:

Drugs or Medications: Fertility medications are very usually prescribed to woman experiencing ovulation disorders. More than 25% of the reported cases of infertility worldwide are due to ovulation disorders and prescription drugs are considered to be the first line of treatment for this condition. Fertility medications are believed to have helped more than 80% of the women to ovulate on time. Some of the common drugs in this category are Clomid, Arimidex, Femara, Gonadotropuns and others. Taking prescription medication is not always enough. To help promote proper ovulation many times lifestyle changes are need as well so that the patient will respond well to the treatment.

Surgery: Fallopian tubes obstruction is the leading cause of infertility that requires surgery. In over 35% of the case of female infertility, the fallopian tubes are either blocked or are not functioning properly. There could also be problems with the abdomen and the pelvis as well. A test is conducted to see if the internal organs are functioning properly or not. If there is a blockage, a laparoscopic surgery may help in removing the obstruction and repair any damage within the tubes. This procedure will allow the patient to get back to a normal life very soon.

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART): ART refers to the infertility treatments involving the embryos or the eggs. This technology includes different treatment options like GIFT, ZIFT and IVF. IVF is a very common infertility treatment and is one of the most successful as well. IVF is most effective when a woman is under the age of 35; the success rate is 35% during this stage. However, as a woman ages the success rate of this method declines.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): Also known as artificial insemination, this procedure involves the placing of sperm into the female uterus directly. This method is commonly used in treating unexplained infertility, problems with male infertility and cervical mucus in woman. The success rate of this infertility treatment has been quite high. However, this treatment also requires adequate care.

Infertility treatments vary from patient to patient. Many natural forms of therapy are available, however in some more severe cases couples may require medical treatment and possibly even surgery. As always a patient needs to consult a doctor for his or her proper diagnosis and treatment.

Anovulation and Infertility

Many women have abnormal or irregular periods. If infertility becomes an issue, then these irregular periods may be a sign that you are not ovulating normally. If you are not ovulating at all, it is referred to as anovulation.

Many things can affect your ovulation ability. Certain diseases such as diabetes and liver disease can stop you from ovulating. There are also a number of glandular disorders that can halt ovulation. There may be adhesions or other complications with the ovaries themselves. Whatever the reason, it is important to work closely with an infertility specialist to rule out certain disorders before continuing with hormonal treatments for anovulation.

Fertility drugs such as clomid are fairly effective in stimulating ovulation. The purpose of fertility drugs like clomid is to block the effects of estrogen in the body. When estrogen is blocked, it simulates the natural drop in estrogen that should be occurring, but may not be, in your body. When estrogen drops, your body produces luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). These hormones stimulate the ovaries into ovulating.

Multiple ovulations are common and sometimes multiple births can be expected. Your doctor will monitor the effects of the fertility drugs and adjust the dosage to best suit your needs. Generally, you will start out low and increase over six months until you become pregnant. Different medications may be prescribed if the first one does not seem to be effective.

Some fertility drugs stimulate the ovaries and others actually mature the egg so that it can be released. When given in combination with each other, these can be very effective. Most fertility drugs are administered by injection, sometimes daily, and some are taken orally. Your infertility doctor will take regular blood tests and perform many ultrasounds to monitor your egg development.

Some problems that can occur include bloating and fatigue, irritability and headaches. Sometimes infertility drugs can alter cervical mucus and actually make it a hostile environment for sperm. In this case, artificial insemination can be used to bypass the cervix and fertilize the egg in utero. Intrauterine Insemination, IUI, is the most common form of artificial insemination. This is where sperm is introduced directly into the uterine cavity or fallopian tubes, bypassing any cervical problems that may be present.

In the case of polycystic ovary syndrome, the body produces too much testosterone and develops an insulin resistance. This causes ovulation not to happen. Your doctor may provide fertility drugs to combat these effects and start ovulation again.

The goal of using fertility drugs to combat anovulation is to get your cycle back on track and get ovulation started. Talk to your infertility specialist about what options may be available to you.

PCOS Treatment Using Diabetes Medication

PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is a complex condition that has a direct impact on the ovaries. This condition is considered complex due to the fact that there are some very particular appearances of the ovaries that give the condition its name, but these traits do not have to be present for a woman to be suffering from PCOS. Specifically, PCOS can impact the woman’s ability to become pregnant.

PCOS is a common cause for anovulation, a condition in which a woman’s body does not release eggs at all or on a regular basis causing irregular periods and difficulty conceiving. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is very common, affecting ten percent of all women between the ages of 15 and 50 making them infertile. For the population at large, PCOS affects twenty five percent of all women.

While PCOS makes getting pregnant difficult, there are a number of very good treatment options available. A rather newer treatment option that has been shown to be very effective is metformin. Metformin is a medication that typically has been used to treat and control diabetes. Metformin is effective in treating PCOS on its own, but not 100 percent of the time.

There are times when metformin is used in conjunction with other medications that treat PCOS such as clomid. This combination has been shown to be effective in helping those women that do not respond to metformin alone to ovulate. Should the combination of metformin and clomid not be effective, metformin can also be used in conjunction with letrozole, injectable FSH hormone, and in vitro fertilization.

There are side effects that are worth noting when using metformin to treat PCOS. Twenty five percent of women that use metformin experience some side effects such as: cramping, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort. While these side effects are not life threatening, they can become severe enough for a woman to stop using metformin.

If metformin is a treatment option for you, your doctor may order some lab work to make sure metformin is safe for you to use. These lab tests can include a fasting blood sugar and insulin levels, LH, FSH, DHEAS, testosterone, 17-OHP, TSH, kidney function and liver function as well as estradiol. These tests are important because some women may be insulin resistant and these tests can help determine that. Women that are insulin resistant should not take metformin.

There is also patient education that needs to be addressed before a woman takes metformin. For example, knowing when to have intercourse is important. Women will need to know the possibility of ovulating; this means regular intercourse is ideal to increase the chances of a woman becoming pregnant. Regular intercourse is defined as intercourse every two to three days. It is also important that the woman keep a menstrual calendar or journal. Keeping track of the days that there is bleeding and the days that she has intercourse.

Typically metformin will be prescribed at the dosage the woman can tolerate. For most women this is going to be a 500 mg tablet taken three times a day, this dose is built up to gradually. The starting dose is 500 mg once a day for the first week, the second week is 500 mg twice a day, and the third week is a 500 mg tablet three times a day. If taking metformin three times a day cannot be tolerated that woman will be kept on the twice daily regimen, noting that the most effective dose is 500 mg three times a day.

Fertility Problems and Possible Solutions

Making a baby isn’t always easy. Even if neither of you have fertility problems, you have only a 25% chance of falling pregnant each cycle.

Many doctors will not consider a couple has a fertility problem until they have been trying for a baby for at least one year. But one in every seven couples needs some kind of medical help to conceive.

Causes of infertility

One cause of fertility problems for women is Endometriosis – a gynaecological condition where tissue, similar to the lining of the womb, grows in other areas of the body, most commonly on the ovaries, causing inflammation, scarring and adhesions.

Another cause is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) when a hormone imbalance prevents eggs from maturing in the ovaries. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID); fibroids, STDs, chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer and thyroid disease can also interfere with fertility.

As many as 25% of couples with fertility problems have a sperm allergy. It can occur in both men and women when an immune reaction makes sperm immobile and unable to swim towards the egg.

Fertility can also be affected by being overweight or underweight, smoking (cannabis or cigarettes). Stress and too much alcohol can also seriously affect your fertility.

The male to female infertility ratio is about 40/60. A man’s health and lifestyle are factors, but medical problems can be to blame, like a blockage in the sperm-carrying tubes – possibly caused by a sporting injury to the testicles, STDs or hernia repairs. Only one in ten of men with blocked tubes are born that way.

Genetic disorders exist, but are rare. Chromosome irregularities can disrupt cell division and sperm production.

Men can also have hormone irregularities. For example the over-production of the female hormone prolactin in men has an affect on fertility.

Possible Treatments

• Fertility drugs (clomid or gonadotrophins) to stimulate the ovaries to produce more mature eggs each month, increasing the odds of conceiving. Multiple pregnancies are a risk.

• IVF (in vitro fertilisation). Fertility drugs stimulate egg production. These are removed and put into a Petri dish with a fresh sample of sperm. If healthy embryos develop one or two are returned to the woman’s uterus. Remaining embryos can be frozen for the future. If the man’s sperm is unviable a donor can be used.