Finding the right
fertility treatment

First things first: before starting a fertility treatment, you’ll need to have some tests done. Testing—often referred to as a fertility evaluation—helps your reproductive endocrinologist (RE) figure out what makes sense for you, treatment-wise.

Fertility evaluations may include:

Blood work

To check for hormonal abnormalities or potential genetic factors that can contribute to infertility

To check your ovarian reserve

Semen analysis

To determine if sperm

production is normal

Ultrasound

To look for obstructions and/or blockages of the tubes that transport semen

To count the number of small follicles in the ovary (also known as an antral follicle count)

HSG (hysterosalpingogram) test

To help the doctor check for blockage and show the path leading through your fallopian tubes

Diagnostic hysteroscopy

To check your uterus for any potential abnormalities that could contribute to infertility

Get some guidance

Need a little extra help? That’s what My Fertility Navigator is here to do. To get you the information you need to understand fertility challenges and your treatment options, and to help you talk about them with a fertility specialist, also called a reproductive endocrinologist or RE.

Sign up for My Fertility Navigator

What happens next?

Once your RE has a better sense of the big picture, you’ll discuss your options. Remember: Every woman’s body is different, which means the plan of action can differ greatly from one person to another. For some, lifestyle changes (either on the part of you or your partner) are enough—but in many cases, you’ll be discussing one or more of the options below.

Possible treatment
options include:

Ovulation induction (OI)

OI is one of the first treatment options your doctor may discuss. Often referred to as ovarian stimulation, OI is generally the first step of IVF (in vitro fertilization) or IUI (intrauterine insemination). It’s the process of stimulating the ovaries with fertility medications to produce multiple eggs.

What is OI?

During OI, fertility drugs are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Normally, the ovaries will produce only a single egg each month. With OI, multiple eggs are produced to increase chances for conception.

Medications for OI may include:

  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) (used in conjunction with FSH)
  • Clomiphene citrate
  • Letrozole
  • Human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG)
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)

IUI, IVC, and IVF

You may have heard of IUI and IVF, but IVC is another option that can be used to treat infertility. Let's break down the differences.

What is IUI (intrauterine insemination)?

Usually, IUI is one of the first treatments your RE might recommend, after commonly used oral or injectable fertility medicines. During the procedure, sperm is placed directly into the uterus in order to bypass the cervix and place the sperm closer to the egg. But while IUI is often less expensive, it only offers about an 8-10% chance of pregnancy per cycle.

What is IVC (intravaginal culture)?

With IVC, eggs and sperm are placed in a device, and then the device is positioned in your vagina for fertilization and incubation. After an incubation period, your doctor removes the device and transfers one or more viable embryos into the uterus. IVC could be an option for women who want a more effective fertility treatment than IUI (about a 25% success rate per embryo transfer), but are concerned about the cost of other options like IVF.

Get the details on IVC

What is IVF (in vitro fertilization)?

With IVF, sperm and eggs are combined outside the body in a laboratory. A developed fertilized egg (embryo) is then reintroduced into the uterus in hopes of achieving pregnancy. While IVF is the most effective fertility treatment option with a 48% success rate,* it’s also among the most expensive.

*Success was defined in clinical data as live births
per cycle.

Get the details on IVF

Surgery to correct
medical conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as problems with your fallopian tubes, endometriosis, or fibroids, can cause fertility issues. In many cases, surgery can correct these problems, restoring your chance to conceive. And thanks to medical advances, most of these procedures are minimally invasive and have a short recovery period.

Here’s a list of common fertility-related surgeries:

Laparoscopy: Often used as a diagnostic tool, laparoscopy involves the insertion of a small, lighted camera into the pelvic cavity, which allows your doctor to check for scar tissue, endometriosis, and blockages impacting the outer wall of the uterus, as well as the fallopian tubes and ovaries. If issues are discovered, your surgeon may use other surgical tools to correct the problems.

Operative hysteroscopy: In addition to being a diagnostic tool, a hysteroscopy can also be used to remove tissue or growths that interfere with fertility. Unlike laparoscopy, which allows your doctor to examine and treat the outer wall of the uterus, operative hysteroscopy goes deeper, providing a view of fibroids, scar tissue, polyps, and abnormalities inside the uterine cavity.

Myomectomy: Myomectomy refers to the removal of uterine fibroids and is sometimes called fibroidectomy. It’s often done through laparotomy (which is a major surgery—see below), but can sometimes be done via laparoscopy or hysteroscopy, which are less invasive.

Laparotomy: If your doctor needs a better view of your reproductive organs, he or she may recommend laparotomy. This is a major surgery, performed under general anesthesia on an inpatient basis (which means you'll be spending time in the hospital).

Be your own advocate—and check your coverage

Not all insurance plans cover fertility treatment, so it's important to know your coverage as you begin your fertility journey. And when you’re armed with the right information about insurance, navigating your options becomes easier.

Get help with understanding your coverage