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Getting pregnant

A guide to fertility methods

If you've been trying to conceive for over a year, it could be time to see a specialist. Read on for a break down of fertility options.

By Karen Robock
Photo: iStockphoto Photo: iStockphoto

The good news: according to Jason Hitkari, co-director of Genesis Fertility Centre in Vancouver and clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia, the techniques and technology available to help you get pregnant are better than ever. We asked him to walk us through the most common fertility treatments—including how they work, how much they cost and their success rates. Read on for the basics, then talk to your doctor about which one may be right for you. Once you’ve chosen a clinic, get to know your physician, advises Hitkari. “Going through fertility treatments is emotionally demanding and often costly,” he says. “It’s a bit easier if you can develop a rapport with the person who’s on that journey with you.”

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Method: IUI

How it works: This involves inserting a sperm sample, which is specially prepared, directly into the cervical canal through a thin, flexible tube. Women often take a fertility drug (like Clomid) as well, to increase their chances of fertilization.

Best for: Men with slow-moving sperm, low sperm count or erectile issues.

Cost: $300 per un-medicated insemination (this increases by $100 when done in conjunction with Clomid, and up to $1,000 more with fertility injections).

Success rate: Nine to 15 percent per try.

Method: IVF

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How it works: A woman’s eggs are extracted and fertilized with sperm in the lab. The embryo is implanted in the uterus.

Best for: Women over 40 or who have damaged fallopian tubes; men who have too few sperm.

Cost: Varies by province but averages about $5,000 plus fertility medications ($1,000 to repeat the process if necessary, if there are usable frozen embryos remaining from the original procedure).

Success rate: 45 percent for women under 35; 20 percent for women over 40.

Method: IVF with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

How it works: A single healthy sperm is injected directly into the egg with a microscopic needle. The embryo is then transferred to the woman’s uterus through IVF.

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Best for: Men with poor sperm quality.

Cost: $6,500 plus any fertility medications.

Success rate: About the same as IVF.

Method: Egg Donation

How it works: Another woman (usually younger and in optimal health) donates eggs that are then fertilized by the recipient’s partner. The embryos are transplanted into the recipient’s uterus through IVF.

This article was originally published on Oct 11, 2010

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