Infertility is the condition of not be able to conceive a child despite frequent and unprotected sex. The inability to get pregnant is the characteristic symptom of this disorder. This disorder can affect both men and women. Some women with this disorder might have an irregular or absent menstrual cycle. In men abnormal sperm production or function can cause infertility.
HOW IS INFERTILITY DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis of infertility may be done based on symptoms and physical examination. In females tests for confirming infertility are: ovulation testing, hysterosalpingography, ovarian reserve testing, hormone testing, imaging tests to examine the pelvis and uterus. In males, semen testing, scrotal ultrasound, hormone testing and testicular biopsy are conducted.
HOW IS INFERTILITY TREATED?
Infertility can be treated with medicine, surgery, intra-uterine insemination, or assisted reproductive technology. Many times these treatments are combined. Doctors recommend specific treatments for infertility based on—
• The factors contributing to the infertility.
• The duration of the infertility.
• The age of the female.
• The couple’s treatment preference after counseling about success rates, risks, and benefits of each treatment option
DID YOU KNOW?
Complications of infertility treatment may include:
• Multiple pregnancy.
• Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
• Bleeding or infection.
Commonly, infertility may be defined as the inability to conceive a baby, even after a year of unprotected sex. According to recent research, 20% of all infertility cases occur because of some problem with the male partner, while 40% to 50% of the cases occur because of some problem with the female partner. Many a time, a couple may be unable to conceive because both have some kind of medical issue.
A number of reasons behind infertility in women are- age, smoking and alcohol consumption, being either overweight or underweight, excessive stress, disorders related to food habits and ovulation disorders. Infertility causes for men include low count of sperm, testicular infection and in some cases testicular cancer.
Recent advancement in medical science, especially in the field of reproductive endocrinology has resulted in the introduction of many fertility treatments including medicines and various types of surgery. Thus, initially depending on the cause of infertility your doctor may prescribe medications and also advise you to make certain changes in your lifestyle, which may include healthy eating and regular exercise. If you are still unable to conceive, your doctor may recommended either of the following methods of assisted conception-
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) – through the IUI procedure, a healthy sperm sample is acquired and introduced into the female’s uterus with the help of a catheter. The sperms are introduced when the female is ovulating for the most effective results. An IUI is performed when the male partner has a low sperm count or erectile dysfunction.
In-vitro-fertilization (IVF) - Through the IVF procedure, the fertilization of the best specimens of sperms and eggs takes place in a petri dish. As the embryo develops, it is introduced into the mother’s womb and allowed to grow. Generally a baby which result out of IVF is known as a test tube baby. Studies have shown that about 5 million births have been a result of IVF. As IVF may not have positive results in the very first try itself, many couples choose to have frozen embryo transfers (FET). FET basically involves freezing additional embryos just in case the first try is unsuccessful.
A sperm donor may be considered if the male partner’s sperms are not healthy for the above two methods. Similarly many couple also opt for surrogacy, when the female partner’s uterus does not support a pregnancy.
You do not have to be embarrassed about infertility issues, it is a medical problem that can affect anybody. Just consult your doctor in case of any concern and get treated as soon as possible.
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