After trying to conceive for many months unsuccessfully, many couples will turn to a fertility specialist for help. For the most part, they will have to undergo various tests before a fertility treatment plan is established.
Such a plan could include the use of Clomid, or doing an IUI or IVF, or perhaps Laparoscopic surgery if the woman has endometriosis. These couples will progress from one step to another, usually starting with Clomid and ending with IVF. Some of them will be successful in bringing home a healthy baby in 9 months. For these couples, fertility treatments are a blessing.
However, there are some couples who bypass traditional fertility treatments in lieu of more aggressive options. Instead of having testing done, they jump straight into using Clomid or undertaking Laparoscopic surgery or even moving straight into IVF before understanding the risks and the other, more natural options available to them.
Clomid is a drug that helps to induce and regulate ovulation and is usually prescribed for women with anovulation.
However, Clomid can have adverse side effects, such as mood swings, headaches, fatigue, and breast tenderness. In approximately 30% of women taking Clomid, their cervical mucus will become hostile to sperm, thereby preventing conception.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI), is a procedure in which washed sperm is inserted directly into the uterus via a catheter through the cervix.
One of the major side effects of having an IUI is the increased risk of having multiples. Because most IUI’s are done in conjunction with the woman taking ovarian stimulating drugs, such as Clomid, the number of eggs that are released during ovulation is not controlled.
Other concerns are cramping, infection, and minor injury to the cervix that causes bleeding and spotting.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the process of fertilization by uniting an egg with sperm in a Petri dish. Once fertilized the ensuing embryo is then transferred to the uterus.
Women who undergo IVF have to inject themselves daily with FSH and sometimes another fertility medication. Because of the large doses injected every women runs the risk of developing Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
Symptoms range from mild to severe, with severe being life threatening. In this situation, fluid collects in the abdominal cavity and chest causing swelling and a shortness of breath. A woman with OHHS will need to be hospitalized in order to drain the fluid. Other complications of OHSS are kidney damage, blood clotting disorders, and ovarian torsion.
Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that is used to identify and remove mild to moderate endometriosis. The doctor will insert a laparoscope through a small incision on the abdomen.
If there is scar tissue or endometriosis that needs to be removed, the doctor will remove it by making another incision and inserting surgical instruments to aid in cutting and removing the tissue.
As with any surgical procedure, complications can arise during the surgery, such as uncontrolled bleeding; damage to organs such as the bowel, bladder and large blood vessels; and gas embolus.
Complications may also arise during the recovery period and include infection of the uterus, infection of the incision, urinary infection, and difficulty urinating.
While we are grateful to have these medical procedures when they are absolutely necessary, many women do not have to go through such drastic measures to become pregnant. There are many natural alternatives shared on this site that can help you to make your body healthier so it is able to ovulate, become hormonally balanced, and carry a healthy pregnancy to term. These natural alternatives also do not have the sideffects most fertility drugs and procedures create. The herbal rule of thumb is to start with the mildest remedy and go from there. That could look like this:
Fertility Specific Herbs and Supplements
Herbs + Acupuncture
Fertility Diet, Herbs, Supplements in preparation for IVF, IUI
1. Clomid. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2009, from Womens Health:womens-health.co.uk/clomid.asp
2. Dickey, R. P., Taylor, S. N., Lu, P. Y., Sartor, B. M., Rye, P. H., & Pyrzak, R. (January 2001). Relationship of follicle numbers and estradiol levels to multiple implantation in 3,608 intrauterine insemination cycles . Fertility and Sterility , 69-78.
3. Frequently Asked Questions about Intrauterine Insemination. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2009, from Fertility Plus: fertilityplus.org/faq/iui.html
4. Laparoscopic Surgery for Endometriosis. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2009, from Web MD: webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/laparoscopic-surgery-for-endometriosis
5. Risks and Complications of IVF Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2009, from IVF - Infertility: ivf-infertility.com/ivf/standard/complications/ovarian_stimulation/ohss.php