A tubal ligation, also known as having your tubes tied, is the process of cutting or blocking the fallopian tubes to prevent pregnancy, and is meant to be a permanent form of birth control. Later in life, many women change their minds about expanding their family, and a tubal reversal can allow you to conceive again.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves placing healthy sperm directly into the uterus during ovulation, close to a mature egg. IUI reduces the distance that sperm have to travel to reach the egg, improving their chances of fertilizing. IUI can sometimes be accomplished without the need for ovulation-inducing medications, and the non-invasive procedure is typically the first method we suggest to treat unexplained infertility and mild male infertility. It is also the standard procedure for artificial insemination if you require donor sperm to conceive a child.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a complex process involving numerous procedures that allow us to fertilize your mature eggs outside of your body, and then cultivate the embryos (fertilized eggs) before transferring them back into the uterus. IVF offers an impressive list of benefits, including the confirmation of normal fertilization and embryo development. During an IVF procedure, we can utilize your eggs and your partner's sperm, or donor eggs or sperm, if necessary. IVF is often recommended after various other infertility treatments have failed. Additionally, it is possible to test the embryos for genetic abnormalities through embryo biopsy and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) and diagnosis (PGD).
Embryo transfer involves the process in IVF in which embryos are selected and transferred to the uterus. Embryos begin to develop in the Fertility Center Laboratory, and are typically transferred to the uterus either on day three or day five. Our Center has high success rates for both types of transfer.
After fertilizing mature eggs with healthy sperm, embryos are cultivated in an incubator (typically for about three days) before being transferred into the mother’s uterus. A blastocyst describes an embryo that has matured for five or six days following fertilization, dividing into many more cells by the time it is transferred. By using more mature embryos, a blastocyst transfer has a higher probability of implanting into the lining of the uterus, which translates into an increased chance of pregnancy.
As a woman ages, the membranes that surround her embryos, known as the zona pellucida, may become thicker. For an embryo to grow and mature into a fetus, it first must implant itself into the lining of the uterus. Before implantation can occur, the embryo must break free, or “hatch,” from the zona pellucida. Laser-assisted hatching involves the use of a microlaser to create a weak spot in the zona before it is transferred into the uterus, making it easier for the embryo to emerge.
Since IVF requires an excessive amount of mature eggs to be produced during ovulation, you may consider freezing the embryos that mature into blastocysts, but are not selected for transfer. If you choose to conceive a child in the future, a frozen embryo transfer (FET) offers the benefits of embryos that are younger than the eggs you currently produce. FET can also allow patients to skip the first few steps of the IVF process, namely retrieving eggs and sperm, and fertilizing the eggs in a laboratory.
Fertilizing a mature egg during an IVF treatment is often achieved by combining sperm with eggs and allowing them to incubate overnight. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an alternate method used during the fertilization phase of an IVF procedure. If the male partner’s semen analysis suggests a low sperm count or other sperm-related infertility factors, then ICSI can often facilitate fertilization by directly injecting a single healthy sperm into each mature egg.
For hopeful parents frustrated by unsuccessful attempts to conceive, we offer counseling on lifestyle changes to boost fertility. We can help you understand how hormones, age, timing, weight, stress, and underlying medical conditions all interact to affect the ability to conceive. Once one of our experienced specialists has reviewed your medical history, they can recommend lifestyle tips such as stress management and healthy eating and exercise.
Donor sperm treatment can be an effective method of helping women and couples who have had difficulty conceiving. Using donor sperm as part of an IUI or IVF cycle can help couples overcome male infertility issues, as well as providing single women and same sex couples an opportunity to have children of their own. Patients will have the option to use sperm from someone they know, such as a friend or a family member, or they may choose to use sperm from an anonymous donor as part of their fertility treatment.
There are many causes of infertility in both men and women. Men can experience abnormal sperm production or function from genetic problems, health complications such as diabetes, HIV, or other problems like undescended testicles. Certain environmental factors such as cigarette smoking, alcohol, and other drugs can have an affect on both male and female infertility. Women can experience ovulation disorders, thyroid disorders, ovarian cysts, and other conditions that affect egg production.
While infertility is often placed primarily on females, men are also capable of experiencing different symptoms of infertility. Problems with sperm production, ejaculation disturbances, immunologic disorders, certain infections, congenital disorders, and other complications account for almost 30 percent of all infertility. This can have a devastating emotional effect on men as they typically associate their power and masculinity with their ability to successfully create offspring.
Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that is supposed to line the uterus grows outside of the uterus. This can be very painful and can potentially cause cysts to grow on the uterus. In extreme cases, the tissue surrounding the uterus can become inflamed and develop scar tissue. Women may experience painful menstrual cycles, sex, bowel movements and urination. There are treatments for endometriosis, though, and our specialists can provide helpful care.
Fertility Center of San Antonio
p (210) 692-0577
San Antonio Office