Women2Women - Summer 2017 - 31

What are some of the reasons for infertility?
Common causes of infertility include male factors such as abnormally
low sperm counts, how the sperm moves or swims, and/or how the
sperm is shaped and female factors such as fallopian tube blockages
or scarring and ovulation disorders such as irregular or no periods.

What are the most common treatment
options for fertility patients?
The most common treatment options for fertility patients include
assistance with ovulation using fertility medications. Insemination
techniques such as intrauterine insemination are common as well.
In vitro fertilization treatment is an option for many couples.

What is intrauterine insemination (IUI)?
IUI is the injection of "washed" sperm into the uterine cavity. The sperm
specimen, collected on the day of the IUI, is prepared by separating
the sperm from the fluid, adding it to a small amount of sterile culture
medium ("washing") before it is injected. Some of the reasons it is
offered include abnormal sperm counts, donor sperm insemination,
cervix/cervical mucus abnormalities and as an additional treatment
when patients are undergoing ovulation medication treatments.

What is in vitro fertilization (IVF)?
IVF is the fertilization of eggs and sperm in the laboratory after the
eggs are collected during an egg retrieval procedure. The culture of
embryos eventually are transferred into the uterus. In many cases,
we consider it a "bypass" procedure for male and tubal factor issues.

How do physicians determine if
someone is a candidate for IVF?
The indication would depend on the cause of the infertility. For
example, candidates might include couples in which the male partner
has a severely low sperm count or the female partner has blocked
fallopian tubes. The physician also may recommend IVF if more
conventional treatments fail.

How is the relationship between patients and
their care team important during treatment?
It is important for patients to have trust in their care team. Good patientteam relationships, education and reliability promote patient satisfaction
and understanding of the fertility diagnosis and treatment process.

What advice do you have for patients
going through the process?
I'd advise that you stay well informed throughout the process. Ask
questions. Pregnancy rates for various treatments will vary, depending
on multiple factors, so feel free to ask what your individual rate
estimate would be. Be sure to know your options for management. n
Shahab Minassian, MD, is Chief, Reproductive
Endocrinology and Infertility, at Reading
Health System. He and his colleagues
at Reading Health Physician Network -
Advanced Fertility and Reproductive Medicine
have a proven track record for helping
couples create a family. The team combines
personalized care and state-of-the-art
reproductive techniques, and earns nationally
competitive statistics for fertility success.

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