Sponsored By: The Stork® OTC
New advancements in science and technology are happening every day, and with that there are many new innovations in health that are making great contributions to our lives. We see developments in the way patients can communicate with their health care provider through telemedicine and in how we monitor our health with wearable technology. Another area of great advancements is in infertility treatments for couples or individuals struggling to conceive.
There are pros and cons to each type of infertility treatment. Some are affordable while others cost thousands of dollars, and some are more invasive compared to ones that can be done in the privacy of your own home.
It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about the best infertility treatment for you and your body. Learn more about five different options on the market that you can try if you are struggling with infertility issues.
1. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination is a procedure where a man’s sperm is injected into a woman’s uterus after she receives hormone shots. The average cost of IUI is around $865, according to Parents.com.
IUI is considered to be one of the most dangerous types of procedures for pregnancy for both the mother and the child, because it is a major cause of quadruplets, quintuplets and sextuplets. In fact, IUI is the procedure that resulted in the sextuplets made famous in the TLC program, “Jon and Kate Plus 8.”
Multiple fetuses are created when high-potency hormones that are used with the procedure overstimulate the ovaries and produce a large number of eggs. Often, this leads to a tough choice for the parents as well as the doctors. Which fetus should be eliminated to avoid complications for both the mother and her children? Or, will the parents keep all the babies and face the risk?
According to Dr. Sherman Silber, who specializes in the field of infertility at the Infertility Center of St. Louis, Missouri, the pregnancy rate for IUI is lower than that for in vitro fertilization, and you don’t have to have control over multiple fetuses when using IVF.
2. The Stork® OTC
The Stork® OTC is an FDA-cleared, over-the-counter and at-home conception aid. The product assists in fertility difficulties experienced by both men and women, such as low sperm count and motility, and unfavorable vaginal environment due to pH imbalances.
The Stork OTC was developed with the intention to increase chances of pregnancy by serving as a conception aid through the method of cervical cap insemination. It features two parts: The Conceptacle and The Applicator.
The Conceptacle is used to collect and hold the sperm during intercourse. It consists of a cervical cap that is inside of a “condom-like” sheath and is made of silicone.
The sheath of the Conceptacle is rolled down and off of the cervical cap that is inside the bottom of it once the semen has been collected. This action can be compared to rolling off a condom after ejaculation.
The Applicator allows the cervical cap containing the sperm to be delivered to the cervix. The cervical cap is placed into the applicator after the semen has been collected and closes the cap so it is easier to slide into place. The applicator is then used to insert the cap into the vagina near the opening of the cervix.
“As with all fertility treatments today, getting the sperm and egg closer together is what we all try to support,” said Dr. Michael Pelekanos, M.D., OB/GYN at Forbes Regional Hospital, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The cervical cap is left next to the cervix for four to six hours and then removed using a string, a method similar to using a tampon. You can carry on with your daily activities while the cervical cap is in place, just as if you were wearing a tampon. The logic behind the cervical cap is that it keeps the semen as close to the cervix as possible so the sperm can swim up to the egg. The Stork OTC can be bought at your local drug store or Target for $79.99.
3. In vitro Fertilization (IVF)®
In vitro fertilization is a treatment in which eggs are removed from the ovaries and joined with sperm in a petri dish, and then are inserted into the womb for gestation. IVF is known to be more effective than IUI, but IUI is used twice as often because it is a less invasive and less expensive procedure covered by insurance companies.
However, the argument can be made that using IVF instead of IUI lowers the risk of multiple births, which would lower the risks and medical costs associated with multiple births.
Dr. Pelakanos recommends beginning with the least invasive path, like the Stork OTC and then later exploring more invasive approaches which require more detailed diagnoses on both the male and female side.
“We often try IUI first for unexplained infertility, low sperm count, and unfavorable vaginal tract issues before exploring IVF options. Of course the cost differences are quite different where IUI is much less expensive than IVF,” he explained.
The cost of IVF is about $8,000 per cycle, not including medications, estimates Parents.com. The amount of cycles needed to conceive differs per patient.
4. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is a fertility method performed by an embryologist. An embryologist selects a healthy, single sperm from a male semen sample and injects it directly into a woman’s egg with a microscopic needle that has been removed from the woman’s ovary.
Once the embryo develops, the embryo is transferred into the uterus through IVF. ICSI is commonly used in couples with low sperm count, or poor-quality sperm count. ICSI is known to have an estimated 35 percent success rate and costs $1,000- $2,000 per cycle, not including the cost of IVF, according to Parents.com.
5. Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
Gamete intrafallopian transfer is a method in which a woman’s eggs are removed from the ovaries and are mixed with a man’s sperm in a petri dish. The eggs are immediately placed inside the fallopian tubes, which is where fertilization occurs.
GIFT is a preferred method for couples in which the woman has at least one functioning fallopian tube and/or the man has low sperm count or low sperm motility. Couples who have moral and or religious objections to IVF may prefer GIFT.
GIFT allows fertilization to occur in a natural environment, but is a more complicated procedure than IVF, due to the fact that a laparoscope is used to insert the egg and sperm into the fallopian tubes. Similar to IUI, GIFT can result in multiple births if more than one egg is used. GIFT is also more expensive around $15,000-$20,000, according to Parents.com.
Parents. Fertility treatment options. June 7 2015. http://www.parents.com/getting-pregnant/infertility/treatments/guide-to-fertility-methods/#Gamete%20Intrafallopian%20Transfer%20(GIFT)
The New York Times Health. Grevious choice on the risky path to parenthood. May 31 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/12/health/12fertility.html?_r=0
The Stork OTC Rinovum Women’s Health. How it works. May 31 2015. http://www.storkotc.com/how-it-works
Reviewed June 10, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith