7 Things You Need to Know About Fertility Treatments and Your Employees
Wonder what your employees are up against with fertility treatments today? Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse or the inability to carry a pregnancy full-term.
Fertility treatments are those medications/procedures that increase the chances of pregnancy. Here’s a quick review of the latest fertility solutions:
- Fertility medicines. Fertility drugs are usually the first treatment used to increase the chance of pregnancy by promoting ovulation. Some fertility medicines work by stimulating hormones in the brain that trigger an egg to develop and be released by the ovary. Other fertility drugs work by stimulating the ovaries to produce an egg (or several). Another bonus, fertility drugs help to improve and balance a woman’s hormone levels, boosting the likelihood of embryo implantation and a healthy pregnancy.
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI). This is a popular, relatively low-tech assisted reproduction technique that deposits washed sperm directly into the uterus through the woman’s cervix. Artificial insemination and IUI can benefit those with male factor infertility, unexplained infertility or cervical mucus problems. IUI also helps single women and lesbian couples get pregnant and have children, using donor sperm.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). This procedure helps couples with male infertility problems such as low sperm count, poor sperm quality, or sperm that cannot penetrate or fertilize the egg. With ICSI, the man’s sperm is injected directly into the egg for IVF.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF). This is a method of assisted reproduction that involves surgically removing an egg from the ovary and combining it with prepared sperm in a culture dish where fertilization takes place. The resulting embryo is transferred into the woman’s uterus.
- Egg-freezing or oocyte cryopreservation. This involves stimulating the ovaries with hormones to produce multiple eggs, retrieving the eggs from the ovaries and taking them to the laboratory, where they’re refrigerated to subzero temperatures to be thawed later. The frozen eggs are stored at a cold (-196 degrees) temperature, so they do not deteriorate over time. The eggs can be retrieved later, thawed and fertilized during an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle.
- Donor sperm. Donor insemination is the introduction of sperm from a volunteer donor into a woman’s vagina, cervix or uterine cavity to achieve a pregnancy. Donor sperm helps with male infertility or the when a man lacks sperm, has a low sperm count or poor sperm quality. For a single woman or a woman in a lesbian relationship, donor sperm can help the woman get pregnant. Artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization (IVF) is used with donor sperm.
- Donor eggs. Donor eggs are eggs from a volunteer (may be paid or unpaid) and fertilized with the partner’s sperm or a donor sperm. The embryos are then transferred to the woman’s uterus for implantation and pregnancy. Women may choose to use donor eggs if they have diminished ovarian reserve or premature menopause. Some women use donor eggs to reduce the chances of passing on a genetic disease.
More than 1 in 8 couples are infertile today, and along with the latest fertility treatments come costs. According to FertilityIQ data, fully-loaded, per treatment cycle costs are now $23,050, or nearly double the $12,400 that is popularly reported today by fertility companies. Ongoing storage for frozen eggs is an additional cost of at least several hundred dollars annually. That doesn’t include charges for fertilizing and implanting when the patient wants to conceive.
 7 things every woman should know before freezing her eggs. PBS Newshour. December 10, 2014. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/freeze-eggs/
 Miller, Steven. Fertility Services Distinguish Employers as Family Friendly. Society for Human Resource Management. August 18, 2016. https://www.shrm.org/ resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/fertility-services-family-perks.aspx. [Accessed July 26, 2017].