The struggle and heartbreak of infertility affects millions of Americans each year. Did you know that 12 percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term? (Centers for Disease Control).
There is no simple cure for infertility. We take into account a wide variety of factors when we help you on your journey to start a family. Our office is adept at treating infertility in Chapel Hill, NC.
“Fortunately, there are always new innovations in helping our patients conceive, and we want them to know that they are not alone,” said Dr. Pat Chappell.
We’ll take a look at four infertility treatments and how they can help you.
4 Innovative Infertility Treatments
1. Infertility Treatments with Letrozole
Letrozole is for breast cancer treatment in post-menopausal women. It inhibits estrogen production, which in turn affects how the pituitary and hypothalamus function in relation to ovulation (National Institutes of Health).
Letrozole may be particularly effective in helping women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) conceive.
The Role of the Pituitary Gland in Ovulation
The pituitary gland produces a number of hormones that have a direct effect on ovulation. A healthy menstrual cycle is the result of several organs working in concert: the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, the ovaries and the endometrium.
The pituitary gland releases a luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) that “communicate” to the ovarian follicles when to release a mature egg. As a result, the ovaries do not release eggs. The ovaries may also release eggs that are not fully developed (National Institute of Health).
2. Treatment with Gonadotropins
These medicines help women who don’t ovulate regularly each month or ovulate before the egg has matured. It works with the pituitary gland by adjusting when a woman ovulates to ensure a mature ovum.
Some women may be treated with both letrozole and gonadotropins during in vitro fertilization.
3. Infertility Treatments with Clomid
This medication also works with the pituitary gland by inducing ovulation in women who do not develop an egg.
Treatment with Clomid improves the way the ovaries respond to the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), resulting in improved live-birth rates.
4. Innovative treatments for in vitro fertilization
There have also been several improvements with in vitro fertilization, including pre-implantation genetic screening and studies to determine if the endometrium will be receptive to embryo placement. These methods improve oocyte quality. An oocyte is an ovarian cell that must undergo division in order to form an ovum, or a mature female reproductive cell (National Institutes of Health).
What Factors Influence Fertility?
Age is one of the primary factors that influences infertility. Roughly one-third of those over 35 have struggled with it, and aging can also increase the risk of having a miscarriage.
Health habits can also have some impact. While they are not the sole factor, smoking, excessive alcohol use or weight issues —either a large weight gain or a severe weight loss — can all contribute to the inability to get pregnant.
In some cases, extreme emotional or physical stress can result in amenorrhea, the absence of periods.
What Are the Main Causes of Infertility?
There are several causes of infertility. These causes include ovulation difficulties. Irregular menstrual periods or amenorrhea can be signs of ovulation difficulties. One of the most common causes of infertility is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), where hormonal imbalances interfere with ovulation cycles.
Other causes of infertility include:
- Physical problems with the structure of the uterus
- Blocked fallopian tubes
- Primary ovarian insufficiency, which occurs when the ovaries stop working before a woman is 40
- Male factors, such as low sperm count, can account for 40% of fertility issues.
Can Infertility Be Cured?
There isn’t a simple cure for infertility.
However, we utilize the latest treatments to ensure that those who want to conceive have the best prognosis possible. We’re thrilled to say that we have helped a countless number of patients have healthy babies.
Following are some of the strategies we have used to help patients:
Treat Underlying Problems
First, we treat any underlying problems such as thyroid issues, endometriosis or uterine fibroids.
The partner should also be tested to see if there is a low sperm count. In one-third of infertility cases, the issue is due to a health problem with the partner (The Mayo Clinic).
Men exposed to radiation or environmental toxins are also at risk of fertility problems. In addition, if the testes have been consistently exposed to high temperatures, which can occur in a hot tub or sauna, the man can develop fertility issues.
Treatment with Intrauterine Insemination
Sperm are inserted into the uterus during this treatment. It is often referred to as artificial insemination. It’s used in conjunction with medication.
How Common Is Infertility?
Those who are diagnosed with infertility face a number of physical and emotional challenges, but they are not alone. Infertility is a more common problem than many may realize. About 6.1 million American women have difficulty getting or staying pregnant (U.S. Office of Women’s Health).
There are several factors that can influence fertility, and the chance of getting pregnant diminishes with age. For healthy patients in their 20’s, there is a 25 to 30 percent chance that there will be a pregnancy during any menstrual cycle, but by age 40, that number decreases to less than 10 percent (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists).
At Chapel Hill OBGYN, we are fertility specialists and work closely with our patients to provide both medical and emotional support in their journey to become pregnant. There have been several innovations in infertility treatment that improve fertility success rates.
We Have Effective Solutions for You at Our Clinics in Chapel Hill, NC and Durham, NC
Infertility is heartbreaking and is a challenge both physically and psychologically. We want you to know that we have helped patients successfully conceive for more than four decades, and we’re dedicated to helping you find a solution. Schedule an appointment with us so we can discuss your options.
We Tailor Our Infertility Treatments to Fit Your Individual Needs
At Chapel Hill OBGYN, we are always up to date on the latest breakthroughs with infertility treatments, and we’re able to provide the research-based sophistication of a university medical center with the “small-town feel” of a family practice where everyone knows your name.
We’ve successfully cared for generations of women and have helped them overcome the emotional and physical challenges of infertility with compassionate, evidence-based care. Contact us today if you are having difficulty getting pregnant.
For more than 40 years, Chapel Hill OBGYN has served patients in the Triangle area, sharing the joy of little miracles and supporting them during challenges. Our board-certified physicians and certified nurse midwives bring together the personal experience and convenience of a private practice with the state-of-the-art resources found at larger organizations. To schedule an appointment, please use our online request form or call 919-525-3971.