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Options for infertile couples
If you are having fertility issues, your doctor can refer you to a fertility specialist, a doctor who treats infertility. The doctor will need to test both you and your partner to find out what the problem is. Depending on the problem, your doctor might recommend treatment. About 9 in 10 cases of infertility are treated with drugs or surgery. Don't delay seeing your doctor as age also affects the success rates of these treatments. For some couples, adoption or foster care offers a way to share their love with a child and to build a family.
Some treatments include:
- Drugs – Various fertility drugs may be used for women with ovulation problems. It is important to talk with your doctor about the drug to be used. You should understand the drug's benefits and side effects. Depending on the type of fertility drug and the dosage of the drug used, multiple births (such as twins) can occur.
- Surgery – Surgery is done to repair damage to a woman's ovaries, Fallopian tubes, or uterus. Sometimes a man has an infertility problem that can be corrected by surgery.
- Intrauterine (in-truh-YOOT-uh-ruhn) insemination (IUI), also called artificial insemination – Male sperm is injected into part of the woman's reproductive tract, such as into the uterus or fallopian tube. IUI often is used along with drugs that cause a woman to ovulate.
- Assisted reproductive technology (ART) – ART involves stimulating a woman's ovaries; removing eggs from her body; mixing them with sperm in the laboratory; and putting the embryos back into a woman's body. Success rates of ART vary and depend on many factors.
- Third party assistance – Options include donor eggs (eggs from another woman are used), donor sperm (sperm from another man are used), or surrogacy (when another woman carries a baby for you).
Finding the cause of infertility is often a long, complex, and emotional process, and treatment can be expensive. Many health insurance companies do not provide coverage for infertility or provide only limited coverage. Check your health insurance contract carefully to learn about what is covered. Some states have laws that mandate health insurance policies to provide infertility coverage.