Fertility Treatment FAQs
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) includes clinical procedures and laboratory techniques that are used to treat infertility. ART includes fertility treatments such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI or artificial insemination), In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), and Ovulation Induction (OI).
IVF technology like Single Embryo Transfer (SET), Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), and genetic testing can be used with IVF to help ensure a healthy and successful pregnancy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is used to treat many causes of infertility, especially when there is a problem with the sperm, such as low sperm count or low motility. IUI is a type of artificial insemination that allows a physician to inject sperm directly into a woman’s uterine cavity during an optimal time of ovulation increasing the chances of a pregnancy.
Typically, IUI cycles have a live birth rate between 5 – 20%. Success depends on several factors including a patients age, diagnosis, and whether fertility drugs were used.
The chances of getting pregnant with IUI depends on a patient’s age, diagnosis, medications prescribed, and the number of IUIs performed. Success rates for IUI typically range between 5 – 20%.
It is recommended that you wait 2 weeks after an IUI before taking a pregnancy test. This waiting period is often referred to as the “two-week wait.”
IUI is when sperm is injected into the uterine cavity of a woman. IVF is when sperm and eggs are retrieved, combined in a laboratory to form embryos, and then implanted into the uterus.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common fertility treatment and has the highest success rates. IVF consists of stimulating the ovaries with medications, retrieving and fertilizing eggs, and then implanting embryos back into a woman’s uterus.
IVF success rates are highest from women between the ages of <35 and 37. The quality of an IVF clinic’s laboratory and embryology team correlates with success rates.
When genetic testing is paired with IVF it further ensures that only the healthiest embryos are implanted. Genetic testing can improve the chance of success, potentially reduce time in care, and provide important information for supporting a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Genetic testing allows the embryologist to determine the highest quality embryos for transfer. Selecting high-quality embryos improves implantation rates and reduces miscarriage.
Frozen Embryo Transfers (FET) have been shown to increase implantation rates and improve obstetrical outcomes.
FET is also considered a healthier implantation process in that it allows for a better connection between the placenta and the mother. In addition, frozen cycles, versus fresh transfer cycles, show higher birth weight deliveries and lower risk of prematurity.
Frozen embryo cycles allow for optimal timing and a more natural transfer experience since the embryo can be cryopreserved or “frozen” until the patient’s hormone levels return to a more natural, receptive state, usually on their next cycle.
Other benefits of FET include:
- Healthier implantation process and success rates
- Increases ongoing pregnancy rates
- Better connection between placenta and mother
- Increased live birth rates
- Decreased miscarriage rates
- Decreased risk of pre-term labor
- Healthier babies born
ICSI or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection is performed as part of an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedure. It is an IVF technology that involves injecting one sperm directly into an egg.
Doctors may recommend ICSI to treat many causes of infertility, especially when there is a problem with the sperm, such as low motility (movement) or a low sperm count. ICSI is especially useful in cases where the sperm cannot penetrate the female’s egg naturally or if the sperm are abnormally shaped.
The purpose of Ovulation Induction (OI) is to produce multiple eggs to increase the likelihood of conception. Outlined below are the steps of ovulation induction:
- Ovulation-inducing medications are taken orally in conjunction with an IUI, IVF, or on their own in a natural cycle.
- If the oral medication regimen does not produce a pregnancy, a patient may be prescribed injectable ovulation-inducing drugs.
- While taking the medication, the doctor will use bloodwork and ultrasound to monitor the development of the patient’s follicles (egg sacs) to determine the right time for an insemination or egg retrieval.
- Once the follicles are fully developed and the eggs are mature, your doctor will perform either an IUI procedure, where sperm is inseminated into the uterus, or an egg retrieval procedure, where egg and sperm are fertilized outside the body.
- If a patient is using an OI medication to conceive naturally, monitoring can also help a couple schedule an optimal time for intercourse.
- The doctor will order a blood test about two weeks after an IUI procedure or nine days after an IVF procedure, then call the patient with the results of the pregnancy test.