There are several ways to increase a couple’s fertility, and the specific treatment depends on the cause of infertility. Sometimes surgery is needed to correct a specific problem, such as removing endometriosis, fibroids or polyps [Link to Surgery Page].
Often times, however, fertility medications are used with methods of sperm washing and sperm transport to increase a couple’s fertility. Some women never ovulate and require medications to induce ovulation. For other women, the fertility medications (i.e., Clomid® or FSH shots) may lead to more than one egg maturing each cycle, which creates more “targets” for the sperm to reach, and, incidentally, leads to a risk of multiple gestation pregnancies (e.g., twins or triplets). This treatment is referred to as superovulation or controlled ovarian stimulation (COS).
Fertility treatments can also assist the sperm and egg to meet and fertilize by placing the sperm closer to the egg at the time of ovulation – using either, intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). More advanced reproductive technologies can be used during IVF to help improve fertilization and pregnancy rates. For instance, a common technique, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), places one sperm inside the egg to facilitate fertilization.
Other treatments aid implantation by opening the outer shell of the embryo before transfer, called assisted hatching (AH). More recently, comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS)/ preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), which involves embryo biopsy of cells to provide DNA for chromosome testing to gather information about an embryo BEFORE a woman conceives. This gives the opportunity to select more viable embryos to transfer. As with any technique, CCS/PGS has both risks and benefits that are important to consider before committing to this treatment.