One out of every six couples will have difficulty becoming pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy.  The realization that the conception of their child may not occur as easily as hoped is one of the most emotionally painful circumstances that couples may face in their life together.

The Standard

Couples who have sought treatment for infertility at fertility clinics are often dissatisfied with the care they received for a variety of reasons.  They complain that very little was done to attempt to identify the underlying causes of their infertility before they were encouraged to begin aggressive interventions, such as intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization (IVF).  Couples report misgivings about strong medications and invasive procedures.  The average cost of a single cycle of in vitro fertilization, based on national data is $12,400, not including the cost of medicines.  They are often not told that on average 4 out of every 5 embryos created by the IVF process will be destroyed.  They are not counseled that they may end up with leftover embryos — their children — and agonize over the difficult decision of what to do with them.  Finally, many are not told that some interventions, such as in vitro fertilization, pose significant risks to the child if they are successful in achieving a pregnancy.

According to the CDC [1]:

  • 39% of IVF pregnancies result in multiple births.
  • 33.2% of babies conceived through IVF are born preterm.
  • 27.8% are low birth weight.
  • According to the CDC:

“Although ART helps millions of infertile couples to achieve pregnancy, it is associated with potential health risks to both mother and infant. Because multiple embryos are transferred in the majority of ART procedures, ART often results in multiple-gestation pregnancies and multiple births. Risks to the mother from multiple births include higher rates of cesarean deliveries, maternal hemorrhage, pregnancy-related hypertension, and gestational diabetes. Risks to the infant include prematurity, low birthweight, infant death, and elevated risk for birth defects and developmental disability (418). Further, even singleton infants conceived with ART have a higher risk for low birthweight and prematurity than singletons not conceived with ART.”1

The Gianna Alternative

Doctors at the Gianna Center, however, view infertility as a symptom and start from the fact that there is a reason that a couple is not conceiving and if adequate efforts are made to identify all of the factors which contribute to a couple’s infertility, medicines and interventions can then be implemented which correct the underlying problem, restore health, and allow the couple to conceive naturally rather than introducing a procedure like IUI or IVF.  The potential contributing problems are usually multifactorial and may be on the woman’s side, the man’s side, or both.  They may include subtle hormonal abnormalities that were missed in the basic testing done at the fertility clinic.  It may be anatomic and curable with corrective surgery.  It may be an abnormality in ovulation itself.  The list of contributing factors is extensive.  At a patient’s first visit, they are provided with an in-depth overview of what factors may be contributing to their underlying infertility or miscarriages, the approach to evaluating these factors and what treatment might entail.

For most underlying causes of infertility, the effectiveness rates of the Gianna approach are comparable to IVF.  The rate of multiple pregnancies, preterm birth and low birth weight are at or below the national average for couples who conceive naturally and are markedly lower than pregnancies achieved through IVF.  And often, the evaluation of the couple reveals underlying health issues which, with correction, actually improve the woman’s overall health.

Patients interested in learning more are encouraged to schedule an initial consultation at their local Gianna Center.  For patients who do not have access to a Gianna Center in their community, several Gianna affiliates offer remote consultations by phone.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/ss/ss6606a1.htm