Female Infertility and Treatment with IVF
Approximately 10-15% of couples struggle with conceiving. Numerous factors influence fertility in men and women. Couples who have been trying to conceive without success may be interested in pursuing IVF treatments. Since opening in 1987, HMC’s IVF department has assisted in the conception of 9,000 babies.
Why Choose IVF
In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment provides a solution for couples who have failed to conceive naturally for over a year. It also serves those who have already gone through a series of unsuccessful fertility treatments, or as a starting treatment in instances of fallopian tube blockage or low sperm quality - both only treatable by IVF.
Infertility is the condition where pregnancy is not achieved one year after the beginning of conception attempts. It is relatively common, with close to 15% of couples experiencing obstacles to conception. Fertility problems can occur in either men or women, and in some cases both partners. Artificial insemination or IVF involves a lengthy medical procedure, whereby the egg and sperm are extracted and fertilized in a laboratory and then reinserted into the uterus. For couples who have failed to conceive naturally, the ultimate objective of the IVF procedure is the result of a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
Causes and Diagnosis of Infertility in Women:
There are numerous reasons as to why a woman may struggle to conceive. Medical conditions, hormone irregularities, or abnormalities of the reproductive organs can all affect fertility. Your physician will assess your medical history and try to identify suspect causes, as well as perform a physical exam and series of blood tests, in order to find a cause and appropriate solution.
- Ovulation disorders are caused by various hormonal dysfunctions, and contribute to approximately 20-25% of all infertility cases. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), for example, can result in irregular or even absent ovulation. Ovulation disorders can be diagnosed through blood tests and ultrasound. Once an ovulation disorder is discovered, a suitable treatment can be found.
- Fallopian tube blockage is the result of different inﬂammatory processes in proximity to the fallopian tubes, which can be dangerous. It is caused either by internal blockage (polyps, for example) or by external adhesions. Pelvic inflammatory disease, commonly caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD), can also be responsible. In such cases the egg’s ability to reach the uterus through the fallopian tube can be greatly reduced. Tube blockage can be detected through hysterosalpingography or laparoscopy.
- Endometriosis is a gynecological disease in which cells of the uterine lining (endometrium) can be found proliferating outside of the uterus in different areas of the body, mainly around the reproductive system and pelvis. The causes of the disease are not entirely known, but in moderate to severe cases it has a direct impact on a woman's fertility. Conclusive endometriosis can be determined through laparoscopy. Following this, a suitable treatment can be implemented.
- Cervical problems, due to cervical mucus abnormality or antisperm antibodies that destroy sperm, can also diminish fertility. A post-coital test is performed to determine the status of the sperm in the cervix. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and IVF can be beneficial.
- Primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure) can occur in women below the age of 40. Either the ovaries fail to release eggs, or not enough of them, or there is a hormonal imbalance (too little estrogen). These factors may interfere with a fertility treatment's success. Ovarian failure can be diagnosed through ultrasound and blood tests. Your physician will access your best treatment option.
Other endocrinology tests may be performed to determine thyroid function, prolactin levels and elevated levels in testosterone (indication of polycystic ovarian syndrome), which all may affect infertility.
Other Causes of Infertility in Women:
Women in their mid-30s and onwards wishing to conceive may experience difficulties, as their eggs begin to decline and are of poorer quality. Environmental factors like smoking, weight, sexual history and alcohol are all high risk factors that influence infertility. Unexplained infertility is a phenomenon defining 15% of infertile couples that undergo all required tests, without reaching a diagnosis from a physician. Even though the cause for infertility remains unknown, in most cases at HMC we treat these couples successfully.
By consulting with our specialists at HMC before conceiving, we can advise treatments to determine the cause of infertility, and to improve your fertility. If you have been experiencing problems conceiving for over a year, or if you experience irregular or painful menstruations, suffer from endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease, our specialists may be able to help apponting you to the appropriate IVF procedure.