You might be feeling alone, worried and hopeless, but we’re happy to see you. You need to know you’re not alone – one in seven U.S. couples experience infertility during their lives. Want another piece of good news? Many women experiencing infertility become mothers. Whether the problem is due to a hormonal disorder, a low egg reserve or physical issues with the reproductive system, there are solutions you can trust.
Several of them include…
Ovulation Induction (OI) – Hormonal therapy to stimulate egg development and release. Oral or injectable fertility medications get used to regulate/promote ovulation to produce a single healthy egg or increase the number of eggs reaching maturity in a single cycle, thus increasing the chances for conception.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – A fertility treatment where sperm gets placed inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization.
In vitro Fertilization (IVF) – A process involving the retrieval of eggs and sperm to be fertilized outside of the body before being implanted back in the woman’s uterus. The process also entails ovulation stimulation and takes place over several weeks and stages (typically referred to as a cycle). Learn more about IVF.
Reproductive Surgery – A procedure to remove uterine growths or damaged tissue.
Diet and Nutrition – Both factors can play an important role in fertility and pregnancy, particularly with the management of PCOS.
Counseling – Featuring individual and couples counseling, support groups, third-party reproduction– counseling, and patient-to-patient support networking, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Northern California specialists can provide a variety of problem-solving strategies in a supportive environment.
Age always represents the largest challenge to overcoming infertility. By the time a woman reaches her early 30s, her pool of eggs has substantially decreased, with nearly 40 percent of the remaining eggs being of low-quality due to genetic imbalances.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends any woman over 35 with 12 months of unsuccessful attempts to schedule an appointment with a reproductive specialist. Women 35 and older should see a specialist after six months.
Hormones control every step in achieving pregnancy, from stimulating the development of an egg to ovulation and implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. Each hormone that plays a role in conception must be produced in a specific amount at a precise time in the menstrual cycle.
Hormonal evaluation studies help identify hormonal imbalances that may impair fertility. Hormones that control ovulation and implantation of the egg include:
Estradiol – Stimulates the growth of the follicles and the production of fertile mucus from the cervix while preparing the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg.
Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) – Generally a good indicator of ovarian reserve.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) – Stimulates the development of the egg.
Luteinizing hormone (LH) – Stimulates the release of the egg from the follicle (ovulation).
Progesterone – Stabilizes the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg and supports early pregnancy.
Androgens – Excess production of this hormone may interfere with development of the follicles, ovulation, and cervical mucus production.
Prolactin – Stimulates milk production.
Thyroid – Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can result in high prolactin levels.
A procedure used to induce ovulation with medications to stimulate many follicles in the ovaries and develop multiple eggs. During this procedure, the doctor will evaluate a patient frequently during this time to make sure the follicles (egg sacs) are developing properly and to evaluate the right time for egg retrieval. Once the follicles reach full development, the doctor will retrieve the mature eggs.
What to expect during ovulation induction:
Ovulation induction involves treatment with medications to stimulate follicle growth. A GnRH analog may be used to control follicle growth.
A few days after a period begins, the patient may start treatment with follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) and/or human menopausal gonadotropins (hMG).
For the next week or so, the doctor will evaluate the patient’s hormone levels and examine the follicles by ultrasound frequently, to evaluate their development. The doctor will also be monitoring the patient for potential medication side effects.
Just before the follicles reach maturity, the doctor will instruct the patient to take your human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) injection to help the final maturation of the eggs. The injection usually occurs about 35 hours prior to a scheduled egg retrieval.
For more information on female infertility treatment options in San Francisco, please contact us today.