For 1 in 10 couples in America, infertility is a frustrating problem, and pregnancy is often an elusive dream. However, the sooner a couple seeks treatment at a fertility center, the better the chances of becoming pregnant. Women over 40 are at increased risk for fertility problems. Find out about the fertility options for women over 40 years of age.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves collecting the man’s sperm in a specimen cup after masturbation, and processing the sperm in a wash procedure. Once the sperm is washed, it is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus with a small catheter. To increase the success rate, Clomid is given to stimulate the ovaries to boost egg production. Based on statistics, IUI increases pregnancy rate from 3% to 7% for women over age 40.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In vitro fertilization is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART). With this technique, the egg and sperm are combined in a laboratory dish, which results in one or more embryos. The steps of IVF are:
- Stimulate egg production – Fertility medications are given to stimulate egg production. Tests during this step are transvaginal ultrasound (examine to ovaries) and blood testing (check hormone levels).
- Egg retrieval – Eggs are then retrieved in a minor procedure using ultrasound guidance and inserting a hollow needle through the pelvic cavity.
- Sperm sample – The man ejaculates into a specimen cup, giving a semen specimen.
- Insemination – The eggs and sperm are combined in the laboratory setting. For some cases, the sperm is injected into the egg in a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The eggs are monitored to confirm cell division and embryo development occurs.
- Embryo transfer – One or more embryos are transferred into the female’s uterus in 3-5 days after fertilization. This procedure involves inserting a small catheter into the uterus and injecting the embryos. Implantation usually occurs around 6-10 days after egg retrieval.
For many women over age 40, the quality of eggs are an issue. In addition, older women are faced with a condition called diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), which is characterized by less eggs in the woman’s ovaries, or inability to develop existing eggs. Donor eggs can be used to increase chances of pregnancy for women with poor quality eggs and DOR. Once a donor is selected from the profile bank, the eggs can be fertilized with the male partner’s sperm using ICSI. After embryos develop, one or more can be transferred to the recipient female’s uterus.
DHEA is a hormone produced naturally in the body. This hormone is converted into testosterone and estrogen (androgens). These hormones are responsible for a woman’s ability to conceive, as well as for the quality of her eggs. By supplementing DHEA, pregnancy rates increase. Research shows DHEA improves quality of eggs, reduces the number of chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo, and decreases the number of IVF cycles needed for a woman to get pregnant.
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, acupuncture increases pregnancy success rates. In a recent study involving more than 1,400 IVF cycles, acupuncture before and after embryo transfer improved the fertilization rate, especially for women age 35 years and older. Another research report found that acupuncture boosted pregnancy chances by 10%.
The top fertility clinics in Los Angeles are Pacific Reproductive Center. With 4 locations in the Metro area, the practice offers comprehensive treatment with Board Certified providers. This includes IVF, ICSI, hormone treatments, PGD testing and more! Call us today.