Health 101: Infertility in Women

How is infertility treated?

How you're treated for infertility depends on your test results (a woman experiencing ovulation problems would likely be treated differently than one with fibroids, for example), your age, how long you've been trying, and many personal decisions, including financial pros and cons.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, up to 90 percent of infertility cases are treated with drugs or surgery -- not assisted reproductive technologies like IVF. As a general overview, women are typically treated for infertility in one of the following ways, or often, through a combination of several:

  • Drugs that trigger ovulation: Taken orally or injected, fertility drugs deliver different hormones that help boost ovulation. Many of these drugs increase your risk of getting pregnant with multiples.
  • Surgery: Fallopian tube blockage, fibroids, or other problems in the uterus may be treated through different surgeries or procedures.
  • Intrauterine insemination: Also known as IUI or artificial insemination, sperm are directly inserted into the uterus using a syringe.
  • Assisted reproductive technology: This includes several methods (IVF is the main one) where eggs are fertilized with sperm in a lab and then put back into your body to develop into a fetus. ART increases your risk of getting pregnant with multiples.


Sources: 100 Questions and Answers About Infertility, by John D. Gordon, MD, and Michael DiMattina, MD; The Fertility Diet, by Jorge E. Chavarro, MD, and Walter C. Willett, MD; American Society for Reproductive Medicine sections on infertility; National Women's Health Information Center; sections on infertility; sections on infertility

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