Maybe baby? Infertility Part III: The Tx…

- by Pocahontas

It’s amusing to hear some of the “old folks” talk about fertility treatments. Since things like Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In vitro Fertilization (IVF) didn’t exist back in their day, they often look at these procedures with hesitation and think they would be unnecessary if the woman undergoing them would “just relax which would help her get pregnant the old fashioned way”. But if you are one of the unfortunate women in the world who suffer from an IF diagnosis, you may have to get used to hearing unsolicited “elder” advice and even advice from peers like, “why not just adopt?” when you inform people that you are doing ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology). These misguided and sometimes in appropriate comments can come with the territory. What might actually help instead is to explain the usefulness of such procedures in the lives of hundreds of thousands of women for whom they bring the gift of life in the form of a baby.

IUI and IVF are two of the most popular (yet controversial) ART tx (treatments) in the IF world today. There are others like ZIFT and GIFT that are used far less frequently. So let’s examine what each of these tx entail and which ones suit what IF situations. Remember only an experienced RE will be able to tell what will give you an optimal chance at pregnancy given your circumstances.

IUI stands for Intrauterine Insemination, but you’ll sometimes hear it referred to as “Artificial Insemination” depending on the source. describes it as the woman being, “ injected with carefully prepared sperm from the husband, partner, or a donor”. This technique can be used in instances where there is a male IF problem (like low motility…meaning the sperm aren’t “swimming” properly) or where the vaginal canal for whatever reason is too acidic for sperm to survive. The sperm is processed, drawn up into a catheter and injected directly into the woman’s uterus bypassing the vaginal canal altogether. Sometimes it is done without any medication. Often times it is done in conjunction with Clomid or an injectible hormone (like the ones described in Part II of this series). The drug is given to help the woman either have a stronger ovulation or ovulate more than one egg to give the sperm “more targets” so to speak.

IVF stands for In vitro Fertilization, and hopefully you won’t have to hear anyone archaically refer to it as “test tube babies” (although you might depending on the generation of the person). It is a more invasive treatment than IUI and is typically used when all other treatment options have not been successful. However, there are some instances in which IVF is the first course of action. These would be cases where a woman has had to have a fallopian tubes removed previously, where both tubes are blocked and unable to be repaired, or in cases of women with their tubes tied who decide they want more children and IVF is their only option. It is also used before other ART techniques when a man has had testicular cancer and may have to rely on previously frozen sperm or has such a low sperm count that ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) has to be used during IVF. ICSI is a procedure in which one single sperm is injected into the egg under a microscope using a needle. During IVF, a woman’s eggs are fertilized outside her womb and requires stimulating her ovulation (typically with injectible drugs), a retrieval of her eggs under conscious sedation or general anesthesia, incubating sperm and eggs together, and then tx’ing the resulting embryos back into the woman’s uterus typically 3 to 5 day later.

ZIFT (Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer) is a similar procedure to IVF except a woman must have healthy tubes for it to work since the embryos are tx’ed into her tubes as opposed to her uterus. For this reason it is sometimes referred to as Tubal Embryo Transfer (TET).

GIFT (Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer) is also similar to IVF and ZIFT except once the woman’s egg is mixed with her partner’s sperm, they are immediately placed back in the fallopian tube which means fertilization takes place there. Whereas with IVF and ZIFT fertilization takes place outside of the woman’s body.

Regardless the ART procedure used to achieve pregnancy, every IF woman’s desired end result is a healthy baby. It may not be as easy for a woman suffering from IF to achieve that result as a woman who has no issues conceiving, but if you have been diagnosed with a problem that makes it difficult to get pregnant, take heart in knowing that technology and medicine have come a very long way and with the right tx, you, too, can experience motherhood.


Anonymous said...

Cuzzie: Wonderful series! Its not just old folks who suffer from foot in mouth disease. Now that you've explained the how may I please add one comment to all who read: please do NOT ask married people when they are going to have a child. Just don't do it. You never know who is dealing with IF or how long they have been trying. Trust if they are trying they don't need your help or suggestions (unless you are a dr or have a referral for a specialist they can use). Once pregnant you'll find out when they are ready to tell you. This topic should not be discussed or debated at family dinners, reunions, weddings, christenings, birthday parties, showers etc. Outside of the immediate couple there is no reason for you to know prior to delivery although more than likely you'll find out before then.

I've sat and cringed while people with nothing else to say go on and on because they don't see the pain their "trying to be helpful" conversation is causing someone. What shouldn't be public then has to be because that's the only way to get the wannabe Maternal Martha Stewart to change the subject.

And I will CLOCK the next person who says "well Sarah had to wait til she was 90 to have a baby just leave it to God"! I'm getting mad all over again & I'm not even trying. Just hurts my heart to watch friends that are having to also deal with unthinking people around them. Hugs to you for writing this!! Will keep and forward as neccesary.

Anonymous said...

My name is Holly Lem and i would like to show you my personal experience with Clomid.

I am 28 years old. I got preg first time on my own & miscarried. after a while of trying, my dr put me on clomid. after the first round i got pregnant & miscarried. i decided not to try or think about it at all probably for a 9 months... right around the time baby would be due & then started trying again. after a few months got back on clomid. after 5 months and no pregnancy i'm giving it a rest again. it's to much disappointment. i'm going to give it a try again soon, in the mean time we're keeping our fingers crossed for the old fashioned way to work.

I have experienced some of these side effects-
HOT FLASHES, moody, cry easily, weight gain, headaches etc!!

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Holly Lem

Blog Widget by LinkWithin