Not being able to have children is one of the most heartbreaking conditions in the medical community. Luckily, many people who are struggling with infertility can make their dreams of being parents come true with cutting-edge fertility treatments that are now available. While there are many different high-tech medical treatments currently in practice for infertility, much more are coming in the next few years. Here are 10 promising future treatments for infertility. Whether you’d class this as “alternative” or mainstream healthcare is perhaps irrelevant since it is a personal and individual choice.
- Having More Than Two Parents
One of the newest treatments that are starting to make headlines is three parent IVF, or in vitro fertilization. This type of treatment could allow parents with genetic problems in their sperm or eggs get help from donor cells from other individuals. There also may be an opportunity to allow same-sex couples to both contribute genetic material to their unborn child in this type of procedure. Today, same sex couples typically must elect one person to serve as the biological parent and find another person of the opposite sex to donate the other piece.
- Maturing Eggs in the Lab
An issue that plagues some infertile couples is when a woman’s eggs don’t mature properly to allow for fertilization. Some medical research is showing promising ways of helping eggs mature to allow for successful IVF treatment. Called IVM, or in vitro maturation, the practice has resulted in at least one live birth recently. Being able to control the way the egg matures could help an entire generation of women be parents.
- Enhancing Sperm Cells
For couples that have male factor infertility, the future of sperm enhancement may show some promise. Men who don’t make sperm may have some hope now with using stem cells to help start up production. Some recent studies in China have been able to help generate new sperm cells from the stem cells of mice.
- Transferring Wombs
Women who have uterine structure problems may struggle with carrying a baby to term. Other patients who are transgendered may also be confronted with the limits of current fertility treatment. One option for both of these situations is a womb transfer. While this practice is still in its infancy, there have been some promising developments in womb transplants over the past few years.
- Eliminating Disease
While the main focus of today’s fertility treatments is to help couples have children of their own, tomorrow’s fertility treatments may be able to do more. A controversial way that the science of in vitro therapy may be used in the future is to select embryos based on genetic makeup. This practice could help eliminate genetic disorders or other chronic conditions.
- Designing Artificial Ovaries
Another type of future fertility treatment centers around the woman’s ovary. This organ is responsible for egg production and maturation. Today, women who have had to get their ovaries removed due to disease or other problems may have to resort to donor eggs to have a child. In the future, doctors may be able to rebuild the ovaries using donated tissue and hormones.
- Performing Penis Transplants
Transgendered men and other men who have suffered catastrophic accidents to their genitals have traditionally not been able to father children. One advance that may help these individuals pass on their genetic makeup to a child is the penis transplant. Complex organ transplants have come a long way, and this type of transplant will soon become more commonplace.
- Reducing the Miscarriage Risk
Additionally, another key step in helping more people have children is to reduce the miscarriage rate. Women who have recurrent miscarriages may be able to get more help from their doctors in the future with additional hormones and supplements that could help their babies survive those first few weeks. More research is being conducted to investigate the causes of miscarriage, which could help millions of women across the world.
- Finding New Fertility Drugs
Next, the science of fertility drugs is being revolutionized. Most types of fertility treatment involve high amounts of hormones, which come with a variety of side effects for women and men. In the future, more effective drugs may be offered that don’t have as many uncomfortable side effects. Drug companies like i2 Pharmaceuticals, led by bruce eaton, are helping the medical community find better alternatives to some of the most common drug therapies.
- Screening Embryos More Effectively
Finally, fertility treatment aims to create healthy and hardy embryos that will be able to implant into a women’s uterus and grow to a full-term baby. The grading and screening process to choose the embryos to transfer or freeze will continue to improve over time. This could help prevent couples from having to transfer more than one embryo, which could lead to a higher risk multiple pregnancy.
Fertility treatment continues to evolve and advance as science introduces new ways to help infertile men and women. New advances in stem cell research, drug therapies, and other fertility treatment procedures should revolutionize this type of medicine in the next few decades. If you’re based in the US, you may want to read more about licensed agents for Medicare health plans