Options For Women

Infertility Treatment Options for Women

Although infertility affects men and women equally, 1/3 of all cases have issues with the female partner. The infertility causes in females can vary such as, ovulation disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), premature ovarian failure (POF), or physical problems with the reproductive system which can also cause damaged fallopian tubes or fibroids. Our medical team at RMA of Southern California will evaluate your health condition through initial consultation,  testing and examinations to find out the cause of your infertility and suggest the best treatment option.

Once our physician diagnoses the cause of your infertility, there are several possible treatments for you to choose, including but not limited to:

  • Ovulation Induction (OI). This hormonal therapy stimulates healthy egg development and releases the egg by using oral or injectable fertility medications to cause or regulate ovulation or increase the number of mature eggs in a single cycle, to increase the chance to get pregnant.
  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). The IUI procedure is considered  a ‘low tech,’ starting  point for many couples or individuals. This procedure is to increase the numbers of sperm from the male partner or donor directly into the uterus and reach the Fallopian tube and to boost the chances of fertilization.
  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). We retrieve both the sperm and eggs from each partner and manually inject the sperm into the egg creating embryos (all performed in our IVF Laboratory). The embryos can grow for up to 6 days outside the uterus. The embryo is implanted into the woman’s uterus either the same month or at a later date if we are doing genetic studies prior to implantation.  IVF is a process that extends over several weeks and encompasses multiple stages, also known as a “cycle.”
  • Reproductive Surgery. For patients with uterine growths or damaged reproductive tissues, surgery may be the best solution.
  • Acupuncture. RMA of Southern California will refer you to certified acupuncturists if you choose to do acupuncture before, during and/or after your treatment.  Acupuncturists apply traditional Chinese treatment to stimulate healthy reproductive activity, combining traditional and modern methods.
  • Diet & Nutrition Counseling. A healthy life style includes a well-balanced healthy diet which is beneficial to your reproductive health, and can play a pivotal role in managing infertility and achieving a successful pregnancy. Diet is also very important for managing PCOS.
  • Counseling. RMA of Southern California believes in providing compassionate, thorough patient care. Part of your treatment can include various types of counseling, such as specialized support groups, third-party reproduction counseling, couples counseling, and support networking with other patients.

Female Infertility Factors

The Reproductive age is the biggest challenge for women encountering infertility. A lot of people do not realize that at birth, a woman will have all the eggs she will ever have in her lifetime, nearly 1-million. But by the time she is in her early 30’s her pool of eggs has decreased substantially to less than half, and the egg quality decreases with age. By the time a woman is in her late 30’s nearly 40% of her eggs will be of low-quality due to genetic imbalances or other issues related to her age. Fertility rates for women without infertility drop after the age of 35, and more significantly after the age of 40.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends seeing a reproductive specialist if you are a woman under 35 years old and trying to get pregnant for 12 months without success. If you’re over 35 years old, ASMR recommends you see a specialists after 6-months of trying without success.

Female Evaluation

Hormonal evaluation studies help identify hormonal imbalances that may impair your fertility.

Hormones control every step in achieving pregnancy — from stimulating the development of an egg to ovulation and implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. Each hormone that plays a role in conception must be produced in a specific amount at a precise time in your menstrual cycle. Hormonal studies measure the levels of certain hormones produced by your body during your cycle. You are likely to have a series of simple blood tests at various points in your cycle. The tests your doctor orders may help determine your diagnosis as well as identify the best treatment options.

Hormones that control ovulation and implantation of the egg:

  • Estradiol – stimulates the growth of the follicles and the production of fertile mucus from the cervix, and prepares the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg

  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) – the level of AMH in a woman’s blood is generally a good indicator of ovarian reserve
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) – stimulates the development of the egg

  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) – stimulates the release of the egg from the follicle (ovulation)

  • Progesterone – stabilizes the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg and supports early pregnancy

  • Androgens – normally, small amounts of androgens — testosterone and DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) — are produced in women; excess production may interfere with development of the follicles, ovulation, and cervical mucus production

  • Prolactin – stimulates milk production; blood levels may be higher than normal in certain disorders or if you are taking certain medications

  • Thyroid – underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can result in high prolactin levels

Treatment Options

Ovulation induction uses medications to stimulate follicles (egg sacs) in your ovaries to develop multiple eggs. Your physician will evaluate you frequently during this time to make sure your follicles are developing properly and to evaluate the right time for egg retrieval. Once your follicles are developed, your physician will retrieve the mature eggs.

What to expect during ovulation induction:

Ovulation induction involves treatment with medications to stimulate follicle growth. A GnRH analog may be used to control follicle growth. Your treatment will depend on your specific needs.

  • A few days after your period begins, you may start treatment with follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) and/or human menopausal gonadotropins (hMG).
  • For the next week or so, your physician will evaluate your hormone levels and examine your follicles by ultrasound frequently, to evaluate their development. Your doctor will also be monitoring you for potential side effects from the medication.
  • When your follicles are almost mature, your physician will tell you when to take your human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) injection. hCG causes the final maturation of the eggs. The hCG injection is usually given about 35 hours before egg retrieval is scheduled.

Please contact us for more information on female infertility treatment options in Southern California.