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Fertility treatment at Geisinger

If you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant for a while, you might be asking, “Why am I not getting pregnant?”

Due to many possible reasons, one in six couples have difficulty conceiving a baby. The good news: most couples who seek medical help go on to have healthy babies. Geisinger’s reproductive endocrinology specialists, also known as fertility specialists, focus on determining the cause of your infertility and work with you and your partner to create a personalized treatment plan to help you grow your family.

What is infertility?

Infertility, for most couples, is difficulty getting pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least one year. Issues with fertility can stem from both partners and are more common than you think.

Common causes of infertility

Both men and women can have fertility issues. For women, risks of fertility issues increase with age, starting in the mid-30s. Common causes include:

  • Age (for women, being older than 35)
  • Cancers and their treatments 
  • Endometriosis
  • Lifestyle (e.g., smoking, excessive stress, extreme weight gain or weight loss)
  • Ovulation disorders (e.g. polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
     

When to see a fertility specialist

In general, if you’ve been trying to conceive for a year without success, you should consider seeing an fertility specialist. However, this timing may vary based on your age and situation:

  • Over age 35 and trying for 6 months 
  • Over age 39 and trying for 3 months
  • Have known ovulatory disfunction such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and trying for 6 months
  • Have history of ectopic pregnancy or repeated miscarriages

Our goal is to help you determine the cause of your infertility and create a care plan that’s tailored to you and your partners’ specific needs.

Find a fertility specialist

Our fertility specialists are close to home and focused on helping you turn your dreams of starting a family into a reality.

Find a specialist

Fertility testing

The first step to overcoming infertility is determining the cause. At Geisinger, fertility tests are performed in your specialist’s office and are non- and minimally invasive. Fertility tests may include:

  • Semen analysis to examine the quantity and quality of a man’s sperm
  • Laboratory evaluation of blood samples
  • X-ray procedures (hysterosalpingography or HSG procedure) to check for potential blockages or abnormalities in a woman’s uterine cavity or fallopian tubes
  • Ultrasound (sonohysterography) to examine a woman’s uterus for abnormalities
  • Minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure to evaluate a woman’s uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and pelvic cavity through a small abdominal incision

 

Fertility treatment options

Once the cause of your infertility has been determined, your specialist will work with you to create a treatment plan that’s right for you and your partner. Our fertility treatment options at Geisinger include:

Medicine 

Medications are used to stimulate a woman’s egg production or egg release during ovulation. Treatment may include oral therapy or injectable medications.
Surgery

Surgically repairing abnormalities or blockages in men and women can help improve fertility.
Intra-uterine insemination (IUI)

Also known as artificial insemination, this process involves placing sperm into a woman’s uterus around the time of ovulation.
In vitro fertilization (IVF)

If you and your partner have tried other fertility treatments without success, in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be a great option for you. Though an advanced treatment, IVF is commonly used for patients with the following conditions:

  • Endometriosis
  • Fallopian tube damage or blockage
  • Prior tubal ligation
  • Ovulation disorders
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Low sperm production or function
  • Unexplained infertility

Even if you don’t have any of these conditions, but have been unsuccessful in getting pregnant, IVF can drastically increase your chance of conceiving. 

Our experienced reproductive endocrinologists and highly trained staff are here to support you and guide you through your IVF treatment. 

The basics: How does IVF work and what’s involved?

In an IVF treatment cycle, your specialist will use fertility drugs to gently stimulate your ovaries to help produce mature eggs. When ready, your eggs will be retrieved and placed with sperm (either from your partner or from a donor) together in a special dish to produce high-quality embryos, which are closely monitored. The carefully selected embryo or embryos are then placed in your uterus in a process called an embryo transfer. This boosts your chances of pregnancy.

A typical IVF treatment cycle occurs in a few steps:

  1. Stimulation of ovaries to produce mature eggs
  2. Egg and sperm retrieval 
  3. Fertilization of the egg with sperm
  4. Embryo development and growth
  5. Embryo transfer to uterus
  6. Pregnancy test

PGT-A/PGT-M testing 

Genetic tests are performed to determine if an embryo is euploid or aneuploidy. This helps your specialist select the best embryo for transfer to improve your chance of pregnancy. 

Cryopreservation (freezing)

Sperm, eggs or embryos are frozen and thawed for use in IVF (or in the future). This may provide an extra embryo transfer without having to go through another full IVF cycle.
Family building for LBGTQ couples, single women and men

Treatment options are available for LGBTQ couples, single women and men seeking to build a family. Your specialist will work with you (and your partner, if applicable) to evaluate your fertility health and/or discuss options to help you achieve your goal of parenthood.
Donor egg or sperm

If conception isn’t likely using your own eggs or sperm, your doctor may suggest using a donor.
Counseling and support services

Struggling to get pregnant can be emotionally taxing, but it’s important to know that you are not alone. Your care team at Geisinger is here to support you through your journey, and can refer you to a therapist, counselor or support group in your time of need.

Dr. Gell discusses IVF treatment at Geisinger

What to expect when you see a Geisinger reproductive endocrinologist

Our fertility specialists see patients in Danville, State College and Wilkes-Barre, PA. So, you don’t have to travel far to get the advanced care you need.

To begin evaluating potential causes of your fertility issue, your specialist will talk in-depth with you and your partner about your medical histories. Then, he or she will perform any necessary fertility testing. Pinpointing the cause of your fertility issue may take some time, but don’t be discouraged. Once your specialist pinpoints the cause, they will develop a treatment plan that’s right for you. Your care team will be there to guide you through and support you on every step of your journey to parenthood.

Your first appointment checklist

It’s normal to feel nervous about your first appointment with a fertility specialist. Being prepared can help reduce your stress and make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Here’s what to bring to your first appointment:

  • A copy of your medical records from your OBGYN, primary care physician or urologist, if applicable (you may send these over before your appointment).
  • Insurance cards (for both you and your partner, if applicable).
  • A list of questions (write them down, so you don’t forget).
  • Your partner or a supportive relative or friend. Even if your partner doesn’t undergo treatment, they can help you digest the information and ask relevant questions.