Where infertility is caused by a hormonal imbalance of the woman hormone therapy (also called fertility drugs) is generally the first step in fertility treatment. There are a number of medications available that are to regulate irregular periods and trigger ovulation.
Where a man is unable to father a child, the doctor will in some cases initially also recommend treatment with medication. They can help, for instance to improve sperm quality or treat hormonal imbalance.
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
Louise Brown, the world’s first baby to be conceived through IVF (in vitro fertilisation), was born a healthy baby in 1978. Now, each year thousands of children are conceived by IVF. With IVF, the egg is fertilised outside of the body. IVF is usually used, where the egg cannot reach the uterus, because the fallopian tubes have become blocked due to inflammation. IVF can help to conceive, if the woman has uterine fibroids (myoma) or develops antibodies against the sperm, or with insufficient sperm quality, or where the doctor has found no cause for infertility.
In-vitro maturation (IVM)
In-vitro maturation (IVM) is a new technique, which is not yet a standard option and only offered by a few fertility centres. In IVM, the doctor removes immature eggs from the ovaries of the woman. The eggs then mature in a test tube while exposed to hormones. The further procedure is as with IVF or ICSI.
An operation can help with getting pregnant, if the fallopian tubes are blocked or abdominal adhesions prevent conception. Where the vas deferens has become blocked during hernia surgery, surgeons are sometimes able to unblock it surgically.