SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
If you've been trying to conceive for a while without success, you're probably feeling frustrated and anxious. Now you may be faced with a regimen of multiple medications, dosing schedules, and regular injections. Your doctor and nurses can certainly help you get organized and deal with your medication regimen, but more and more couples are finding assistance from another source: specialty pharmacies.
What is a Specialty Pharmacy?
Until recently, there was no standard definition of a specialty pharmacy. Some were typical retail drug stores that also compounded (mixed or reconstituted) medications. Others delivered treatments through the mail for a narrow range of conditions. Typically, these pharmacies operate by compounding and delivering treatments, plus providing services that can take a lot of pressure off patients, save them money, and even improve the outcome of treatment- i.e. help you get pregnant!
Benefits on Your Benefits
One of the advantages of using a specialty pharmacy is that their experts will guide you through the process. They deal with insurance companies-and what medicines and therapies they do and don't cover.
Having an expert work directly with your physician and your insurance company not only takes that burden off of you, but can also result in you paying less for your treatments.
We know that getting pregnant is very important to you, but the many schedules, medications, recommendations, and medical appointments that accompany fertility treatment can be overwhelming. Your physician's office will be your primary guide, but a good specialty pharmacy can provide extra help. The best offer 24/7 telephone access to pharmacists who are experts in fertility treatment plans, drugs, and procedures. So if you've got a question in the middle of the night, you don't have to worry about trying to reach your doctor-you can speak with a professional who knows the fertility field, has access to your files, and can answer your questions quickly and accurately.
How it Works
Most specialty pharmacies are not brick-and-mortar drugstores, but they can be easily accessed by telephone, on the Internet, or through your physician's office.
Normally, your fertility medications and supplies are sent to your home in a discreet, temperature-controlled package.
At Your Service
The benefit of all this "extra" contact and communication with your pharmacy not only ensures that you get exactly what your doctor prescribed, but also helps give you confidence that you're doing everything you can to be successful. The peace of mind that comes from having experts to back you up every step of the way is one of the best parts of the specialty pharmacy experience. With their help, you've got the very best chance of achieving your goal of pregnancy.
Spotlight: IVP Care
On your path to starting a family you may be directed down a road that is unfamiliar and requires special attention and medication. It is approximated that one-quarter of all women can expect to have at least one episode of infertility during their childbearing years.
What Causes Infertility?
Typically infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after one year. Both female and male factors can influence infertility. Statistics show 30 to 40 percent of infertility cases are female-related, 20 percent may be male-related, 30 to 40 percent may involve both partners, and in some cases (10 percent or more), even after medical testing, the cause for infertility may remain unknown.
Talking to Your Healthcare Team
Although it can feel daunting to discuss your concerns with your partner or doctor, talking openly is an important first step for you to determine which fertility tests and therapies are most helpful for you. Depending on your age, fertility, and medical history of you and your partner, your physician will most likely refer you to a Reproductive Endocrinologist who will work with you to develop a fertility treatment plan.
Your Fertility Treatment Plan
To develop your treatment plan, your healthcare team will ask you questions about your and/or your partner's age, medical history, menstrual history, fertility and clinical history, insurance coverage, emotional status, and family-building goals and concerns. From this information, your reproductive specialist team will determine the most appropriate diagnostic tests to help uncover possible barriers to your fertility goals.
What Are My Options?
Working with your fertility healthcare team, you'll decide on the fertility treatment path that is best for you. Ovulation Induction (OI) is often the first starting point for women who have difficulty conceiving due to ovulation challenges. It may also be used for male infertility to help improve a couple's chances of fertilization. The basic ovulation induction involves the medication clomiphene citrate on specific cycle days as directed by your doctor. Your doctor and healthcare team will advise you when during your cycle to have intercourse to improve your chances of becoming pregnant.
Depending on your history, or if OI alone isn't effective, your doctor may recommend intrauterine insemination (IUI). IUI is ovulation induction with clomiphene citrate and gonadotropins, which are injectable medications (hMG, FSH and hCG). In addition to the medications in IUI, a procedure is performed following ovulation where the reproductive specialist injects a sample of the male's sperm into the uterus to improve fertilization outcomes.
Your doctor may alter your IUI therapy to also include a GnRH antagonist to better control your ovulation timing or they may add leuprolide therapy.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) are other options for couples wanting to conceive. The primary difference with ART therapies from OI and IUI therapies are that eggs are removed or retrieved and fertilized outside of the body. The medications typically used include gonadotropins and leuprolide or a GnRH antagonist as well as progesterone. The medications assist your body to produce viable eggs which are removed from your body and allowed to develop in a safe, controlled environment for a few days until they become blastocytes (multi-cell embryos). The blastocytes are then inserted back into your uterus.
In some cases, your doctor may suggest donor egg therapy. Donor egg prepares your body to receive a fertilized egg from an egg donor. Both you and your egg donor will undergo fertility treatments. Your donor will undergo the egg retrieval and you will receive the uterus implantation of the donor's fertilized egg. In the case of donor egg, you are responsible for the medication and procedure costs for you and your donor.
Male infertility can be caused by many factors including disease and infection, scrotum and testicular conditions, and abnormalities in the size, shape, quantity, quality and/or strength of the man's sperm. Your doctor may prescribe medications to assist sperm quality or motility and/or use some of the same therapies mentioned above including clomiphene citrate and gonadotropins to help increase sperm quantity.
Choosing a Fertility Pharmacy
Obtaining fertility medications is often difficult. Many pharmacies do not have these medications readily available. And, many pharmacies are not experienced in the cycle-sensitive needs of patients on fertility therapies. A fertility pharmacy can relieve the stress and minimize the problems that can be associated with obtaining and administering fertility medications.
Choose a fertility pharmacy that is committed to providing the highest level of confidential care for women and couples undergoing infertility treatment and much more than simply filling a prescription.
- Pharmacists and nurses available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Dedicated insurance specialists, providing complete benefits investigation on a drug-by-drug level against your and your partner's pharmacy and medical insurance benefits to make sure that your fertility coverage is maximized and your out-of-pocket responsibility is minimized
- Free individually wrapped injection supplies for all of your IUI, IVF and ART therapy needs
- Free patient education materials-such as IVPCare Specialty Pharmacy's Patient Education CD, which includes a specialized injection training program, a printable injection training handbook and Demystifying Infertility, an interactive educational tool
- Free nationwide overnight business day delivery for all of your fertility medications
- Online information, medication ordering, tracking, and customer support
- Real time translation service covering over 100 languages
- Online education and medication management tools
- Personal, confidential care from a pharmacy team, specializing in fertility treatments
- JCAHO accredited to ensure the highest level of performance in key functional areas, such as patient rights, patient treatment, and infection control are aligned with national standards
Sponsored by: Village Pharmacy, IVP Care and Apthorp Pharmacy.