Skip to content

    Infertility & Reproduction Health Center

    Font Size

    New Trends in Infertility Treatment

    Experts describe the latest advances in techniques for treating infertility.

    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    For one in eight couples in the U.S. plagued with fertility problems, getting pregnant is an elusive -- and frustrating -- dream.

    But if they seek medical help sooner rather than later, the outlook has never been brighter. Infertility treatments have improved, options have expanded, and doctors are more skilled at the techniques. Evaluations are done earlier than in years past, and the trend is to treat more aggressively, especially if the hopeful mom-to-be is older.

    Recommended Related to Infertility & Reproduction

    Infertility and Artificial Insemination

    When you and your partner talk to a doctor about getting help for infertility, he may suggest a technique called "artificial insemination." It's a simple procedure with few side effects, and it can help some couples who haven't been able to get pregnant. In artificial insemination, a doctor inserts sperm directly into a woman's cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus. The most common method is called "intrauterine insemination (IUI)," when a doctor places the sperm in the uterus. Why is this helpful?...

    Read the Infertility and Artificial Insemination article > >

    "Success rates have improved dramatically in the last 10 years," says Mousa Shamonki, MD, director of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and a reproductive endocrinologist at the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine. The average success rates for births at fertility clinics have roughly doubled in the past decade, he says.

    In 2003, more than 48,000 babies were born in the U.S. as a result of assisted reproductive technology or ART, according to the CDC. That's an increase of more than 2,000 over 2002 and 7,000 more than in 2001.

    The Earlier the Better

    "Often couples [who can't conceive] are told by family members, 'Just relax and take a vacation, you will get pregnant,''' says Eric Surrey, MD, former president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) and a fertility specialist in Denver.

    That won't work for couples with underlying fertility problems, he says. And at some point, seeking medical help is wiser than persisting on their own. If a woman is under age 39 and has been attempting to conceive for a year without success, it's a good time to seek medical help, says Surrey. If she is over 39, the evaluation should be performed after six months of trying to conceive without success, he says.

    Treatment Options

    Sometimes infertility can be treated with medication or surgical repair of reproductive organs. Another standard fertility treatment is to do one to three cycles of ovarian stimulation and intrauterine insemination, says Guy Ringler, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Santa Monica -- UCLA Medical Center.

    That involves stimulating the ovaries to boost egg production by giving medicine such as Clomid and then inserting a thin catheter into the uterine cavity to place the sperm there.

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

    Today on WebMD

    Four pregnant women standing in a row
    How much do you know about conception?
    Couple with surrogate mother
    Which one is right for you?
    couple lying in grass holding hands
    Why Dad's health matters.
    couple viewing positive pregnancy test
    6 ways to improve your chances.
    Which Treatment Is Right For You
    Conception Myths
    eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
    Charting Your Fertility Cycle
    Fertility Specialist
    Understanding Fertility Symptoms
    invitro fertilization

    WebMD Special Sections