Doctor in Oasis Centre For Reproductive Medicine- Chennai
There are many reasons leading to infertility, but one of the main causes is the inability of the sperm to travel all the way up to the uterus to fertilize an egg. This is caused by defective sperms and could be due to poor sperm quality, poor motility, etc. There are multiple reasons for this, and even smoking, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, etc. could be reasons.
Many technical advancements in fertility treatments are being done, and they try to keep the natural process of fertilization intact, at the same time improving the chances of success. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI, often used as a standalone term iksee) improves the rate of fertilization in that the sperm is directly injected into the egg. The environment of this artificial fertilization is completely controlled, and the fertilized egg is then placed into the womb for further growth. It is one of the recent methods of improving fertility, a part of ART (assisted reproductive technology).
- Poor sperm perms motility
- Semen where sperm concentration is low
- Male infertility with unidentifiable cause
- Poor sperm quality, with sluggish sperms
- Ejaculation issues, such as retrograde ejaculation (semen is ejected into the bladder)
- Useful in couples who have failed IVF
- Low AMP reserve
- Low egg quality
- Tubal blockage
What to expect?
The following outlines some of the steps for both male and female before and during the procedure.
Before the procedure - males:
- The first step is the sperm collection; a screening is first done
- Sperms collection happens through either masturbation or directly from the testicles via a small incision
- Sperms could be collected fresh or collected and frozen for later use
Before the procedure – women:
- In the normal menstrual cycle, only a single egg is released. However, prior to ICSI, the woman is given ovulation drugs, which are high-dose hormone injections prior to ovulation. This ensures multiple eggs are released, which are then retrieved for fertilization in the external environment.
- Blood and urine are monitored regularly to identify the ovulation time, and eggs are collected within 24 to 36 hours of release
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Treatment
The process of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is a laboratory procedure where the egg is fertilized with the sperm in a laboratory dish and is implanted into the woman’s uterus. Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is an assisted reproductive technique wherein a single sperm is injected into the cytoplasm of the oocyte with the help of special micro-manipulators.
The uterine cavity has a tissue base that is known as the endometrium. When this endometrium spills over or spreads to the other parts of the reproductive organ, it begins to outgrow through the uterine lining. Such a condition creates complications and even infertility, and is known as endometriosis.
Read on to know more about endometriosis and how it can cause infertility.
When the endometrium tissue spreads to areas like the ovaries, and the abdominal cavity, it can lead to numerous complications. Apart from pain, this may also cause infertility. 5 to 10% of the women worldwide suffer from this condition and have trouble conceiving. Additionally, about 30 to 40% of the infertility cases are due to endometriosis, not all cases. These figures are all confirmed by various medical studies.
How does it cause infertility?
Endometriosis can prevent ovulation, which is the process that occurs every month. During the ovulation process, the ovaries release eggs that may be fertilised in order for the woman to conceive. In this condition, the fimbria of the fallopian tubes also has trouble in capturing the egg, which prevents conception from taking place. This leads to infertility in the long run. Endometriosis also interferes with the proper production of the hormones that are required for normal ovulation and fertilisation of the egg.
Diagnosis: The diagnosis of the condition can be done with the help of lab tests and ultrasounds as well as imaging tests that can create the image of the womb and the endometrium lining. This will help in showing the severity and damage caused by the tissue. A surgical procedure called a laparoscopy may be carried out by the doctor to ascertain whether the patient is suffering from this condition. In this procedure, a small incision will be made and a camera will be inserted to view the insides on a screen, to learn more about the tissue’s spread and the kind of treatment that will be required. The doctor will also diagnose the condition on the basis of various symptoms like irregular and heavy bleeding.
Treatment for endometriosis associated with infertility needs to be individualized for each woman. There are no easy answers, and treatment decisions depend on factors such as the age of the woman, the severity of the disease and its location in the pelvis, the length of infertility, and the presence of pain or other symptoms. Some general issues regarding treatment are discussed below.
Treatment for Mild Endometriosis
Medical (drug) treatment can suppress endometriosis and relieve the associated pain in many women. Surgical removal of lesions by laparoscopy might also reduce the pain temporarily.
However, several well-controlled studies have shown that neither medical or surgical treatment for mild endometriosis improving the pregnancy rates for infertile women as compared to expectant management (no treatment).
For treatment of infertility associated with mild to moderate endometriosis, controlled ovarian hyperstimulation with intrauterine insemination - IUI is often attempted and has a reasonable chance to result in pregnancy if other infertility factors are not present.
Treatment for severe endometriosis
Several studies have shown that medical treatment for severe endometriosis does not improve pregnancy rates for infertile women.
Unfortunately, infertility in women with severe endometriosis is usually resistant to treatment with ovarian stimulation plus intrauterine insemination. If the pelvic anatomy is very distorted, artificial insemination is unlikely to be successful. These women often require in vitro fertilization in order to conceive.
Although the studies of in vitro fertilization for women with severe endometriosis do not all show similar results, pregnancy success rates are usually good if the woman is relatively young (under 40) and if she produces enough eggs during the ovarian stimulation.
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a medical procedure followed for those women or couples suffering from infertility or for certain specific genetic problem. In the normal course, women or couples experience positive results within a few IVF cycles. However, in spite of reasonable pregnancy rates, some women may require few more cycles to achieve pregnancy. In such cases, in order to ensure a healthy pregnancy, the gynecologist may suggest the women undergo Endometrial Scratching before IVF.
Endometrium explained in brief:
The uterus is located in the pelvic region and it is in the size and shape of a pear. The inner cavity of the womb or uterus is protected by the tissue lining called endometrium, also called endometrial. The endometrium plays a significant role in supporting the pregnancy.
The enhanced success of achieving pregnancy:
The endometrial scratching procedure is a very simple one, which is resorted, so as to improve the results of IVF procedure. In this procedure, the gynecologist uses a very fine catheter and makes a small scratch on the endometrial lining. In fact, the scratch causes a kind of inflammatory reaction in the uterus. This inflammatory reaction induces the endometrium to be highly receptive to embryos during the successive menstrual cycle. This added receptivity enhances the success of pregnancy during the next menstrual cycle.
Considering the higher level of success in achieving pregnancy, the endometrial scratching procedure has gained popularity in the IVF procedure. However, some of the other issues related to endometrial scratching may be as follows:
- Endometrial scratching optimises the uterine lining and thereby, makes it easier to continue the embryo implanting procedure. Normally, before the endometrial scratching procedure, the gynecologist may suggest endometrial biopsy.
- The endometrial procedure is usually suggested for those women who had two or more unsuccessful IVF procedures, despite having good quality embryos. However, in some cases, depending on the health of the patient and various other factors, the gynecologist may suggest this endometrial scratching at the very first IVF procedure. This procedure can be availed either for fresh embryos of the couple or frozen embryos or for the donor egg.
- Although this is a part of a surgical procedure; endometrial scratching is very simple and painless and it is done without administering anesthesia. The procedure does not require any hospitalisation. In fact, the patient can go home soon after the procedure. Except for a few pain killers, this procedure does not require any extensive medication.
This is a safe and easy procedure. Neither does it lead to any side effects, nor is the procedure burdensome for your wallet. Many couples have been benefited by this endometrial scratching procedure.
PGS or Pre-implantation Genetic Screening is a test conducted to decipher the chromosome count of the embryo. Today, if you are planning to get pregnant or using alternative technologies for pregnancy; there are several tests that need to be conducted so that the child is born healthy and stable. One such test is the PGS, it determines whether or not the count of chromosomes is normal, which is forty six, is present in the embryo. If there are abnormal numbers of chromosomes present in the embryo then it might lead to additional problems in the future. In such cases, special treatments and procedures are conducted.
Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening is employed in the following cases:
However, based on individual cases, the doctor takes a call on whether this technique is required for the couple.
There are several advantages of PGS. Some of them are highlighted in details below.
- Healthy pregnancy: Interestingly, a man can produce sperms throughout his lifetime. But a woman is born with the eggs already created. The chances of producing a healthy baby with those eggs decrease as the age of the woman increases. It is seen that those women who think of delivering a child in their older ages are often found with chromosome deficiencies in the embryo. Thus, to avoid such a situation, it is best to perform PGS.
- Reduces the chance of miscarriage: Pregnancies which occur without having performed any prior tests like the PGS have high chances of resulting into a miscarriage at the slightest of carelessness. But research has found that those pregnancies which take place after considering the chromosomal health of the embryo have reduced the risk of being abnormally terminated.
- Time reduction between two IVF Circles: For those who do not know IVF stands for In-Vitro Fertilisation. It is a process which aids a woman in becoming pregnant. It is often opted by those who are having issues in naturally conceiving a child. PGS here plays an important role. If the test detects abnormal embryo, then the next IVF circle can be started right away without wasting any time. But if the PGS detects a normal embryo then the IVF circle is deemed to be successful and the woman can continue with the pregnancy.
PGD may be recommended if:
- You/Your Partner is a carrier of genetic abnormalities
- You/Your Partner has chromosomal abnormalities
- You/Your Partner has a family member that is a carrier of genetic abnormalities.
Thus, these are some of the main advantages of Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening. This helps to determine whether the embryo is of the desired choice or not and whether the baby born out of it would be healthy and normal. It is one of the tests which need to be conducted preceding implantation to provide better results after the implantation process is carried out.
Pregnancy can be easy and smooth, while on the other hand, it might be time consuming, marred with conception difficulties all along the way. Pregnancy may seem exciting to some, whereas it can be stressful for others. Regardless of whether it is the first child you are planning or have had a successful pregnancy previously; there are some tips you need to keep in mind in order to improve fertility and give birth to a healthy child.
Some fertility boosting factors are:
These fantastic swimmers are at the very root of male fertility. Some important components which need to be taken into consideration are sperm count, sperm motility (the ability of the sperm to swim around the female reproductive tract) and morphology (shape and size of a sperm). In order to have all these parameters in check and working fine, one needs to abstain from smoking and limit alcohol consumption among many other lifestyle modifications.
Having unprotected vaginal intercourse during the woman’s fertile days in a month helps improve chances of conception.
Fertility becomes a challenge when you are either overweight or underweight. The weight of a woman affects ovulation (The release of eggs from the ovaries) and causes hormonal imbalance; factors which make it very difficult to conceive. Keep your weight levels in check and that could prove primarily essential in bettering your fertility.
Staying well nourished boosts your odds of conceiving! Make sure to include enough protein, iron, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D in your diet, because deficiencies in these nutrients have been linked to lengthened menstrual cycles (and therefore less frequent ovulation) and a higher risk of early miscarriage. Ask your gynaecologist if you should take a daily multivitamin supplement. And be sure to eat protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, low-fat dairy products, eggs, and beans.
Beware of STDs or Sexually Transmitted Diseases. One is the most prone to STDs of any kind if he/she happens to engage in unprotected sexual intercourse; having a number of sexual partners just ups the chances of getting afflicted by STD. Protected vaginal intercourse helps prevent STDs, thus enhancing fertility and subsequently, chances of conception.
While a limited amount of caffeine consumption is good, overdoing it might spoil and hamper fertility. Limit caffeine intake and keep it within a level of 200-250mg a day.
Smoking, besides playing havoc with every organ in the body, affects the reproductive organs and thus fertility. In men, it leads to reduced sperm count and in women, it causes DNA damage. Stub the bud right now and never get back to it.
Certain toxic chemicals can lead to female and male infertility. So it is advisable that you stay away from chemicals such as pesticides, organic solvents and lead, the primary toxins which pose a severe threat to fertility.
- Exercising regularly can never go wrong. It gives you the strength and stamina, boosting your overall health. However, vigorous exercises, especially when you are trying to conceive, will do you no good. It might adversely lead to the suppression of certain hormones such as progesterone (pregnancy stimulating hormone) and might affect ovulation, hence affecting fertility. Aim at a regular 20 minutes session of light exercises; mild cardiovascular exercises such as walking can work wonders, especially in such circumstances.
In vitro fertilization or IVF is deemed as one of the wonder treatments for couples who are facing infertility issues. Whether it is due to poor sperm quality of blocked fallopian tubes, IVF has proven to be a safe and effective solution. However, like with all new techniques, IVF also has some myths which need to be understood before signing up for the procedure. With so much at stake in terms of finances and time, understanding the process will help set realistic expectations and improve the success rate of IVF.
Myth #1: IVF leads to multiple births. While achieving multiple births is easier through IVF, it always does not lead to multiple births. Multiple embryos are implanted, only to improve the chances of success. It does not necessarily translate into multiple births. In women over 38 years of age, it is mandatory to only transfer a single embryo as multiple births are very likely to be complicated.
Myth #2: Rest and time off work. It is believed that IVF has a higher success rate with proper rest and time off work. Rest is definitely required the first few days after embryo transplant but it definitely later assumes a normal course of things. It is not that too much time off work is required, just because you had an IVF. Your body might be different and require more rest, but that could have been the case even with a normal pregnancy.
Myth #3: The medications with IVF are going to have lots of side effects. While the hormones given to promote egg release do have their side effects of making you feel moody and emotional, it is only transient. Once the egg release happens, fertilization is done, and embryo transplant is done, then things should settle down. The effects should wear down once the embryo is implanted and then things should settle down. Of course, pregnancy brings its own hormonal changes, which will run their course through pregnancy.
Myth #4: Positive Results. While IVF has very high success rates, some women just fail to get pregnant. This could be about 5% of the women and may not be attributable to any particular cause. Each woman responds differently, and failure to conceive through IVF could be due to no explainable cause. What is interesting is that though the first attempt failed, subsequent attempts may be successful. Failing the first cycle does not mean failure in subsequent cycles. Also, success rate differs from clinic to clinic, and so choose one which has a proven track record and good success rates. It should not just have good doctors but also the essential technology and infrastructure to support the IVF technique.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
It is as important for the man as it is for the woman to undergo certain tests before the IVF cycle is started. Fertility is not only an issue for a woman, but it also might be for the man in question. There are certain tests that need to be conducted on men before they can gear up for IVF:
1. Semen Analysis: One of the most important tests for male infertility is semen analysis. Sometimes, a man may be completely healthy, but his sperm production could be of poor quality. Semen analysis is done to provide an accurate evaluation of sperm number, the ability to move (motility), size and shape (morphology), as well as the consistency and volume of the sample collected. Semen analysis (SA) test includes only the sperm count. Sperm Funtion test (SFT) will include in detail on morphology, motility and other parameters of the sperm.
2. Trial Wash: This is also known as sperm wash. It is mostly done to remove chemicals from the sperm. Not doing a sperm wash might end up affecting the later stages of the IVF treatment. In this process, the misshapen and immotile sperm is separated so a clean sample of motile and healthy sperm can be collected.
3. TUNEL Assay: Since sperms build up about half of a child's genetic makeup, a TUNEL Assay or 'sperm DNA test' is required. This test is done to measure the sperm population that have fragmented DNA. Negative impacts on genetics can hamper the success of the fertility treatment.
DNA fragmentation index (DFI) test is usually recommended to men with:
- Leukocytes detected by the sperm analysis
- Age approaching 50
- A history of diabetes II type or prostatitis
- Exposure to chemicals or prolonged heat at workplaces
4. Screening for Infectious Diseases: This test is done for both the partners to check for diseases like AIDS, Hepatitis C, and so on. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
One of the major milestones in a woman’s life is the entry into motherhood. For most women, when this does not happen in the natural logical sequence of things, there is anxiety and lot of pressure from family and friends.
However, with advancements now, there are options like intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilisation (IUI and IVF) available, which can help increase the chances of conception and pregnancy. IVF is where the egg is retrieved from the woman’s womb, fertilised externally and then transplanted back into the uterus where it grows to full term. However, there are always unanswered questions like how long to wait before going for IVF, is it the right procedure for me, etc.
Read on to know to find answers to some of these.
- Maternal age: As a woman reaches 35 and a man reaches 40, the fertility rates drop significantly. The chances that a woman at 35 will conceive is about 20%, which goes down to 5% if the woman is 40. However, this rate can be significantly increased by using IVF. The quality of the egg would gradually deteriorate, and so if a woman is nearing 40, it is better to consider IVF as the ovarian reserve would be optimal with IVF.
- Failed intrauterine insemination: In couples who have problems with the sperm reaching the uterus, intrauterine insemination (IUI) is first attempted. However, if 3 or more attempts of fail, it is time to consider IVF.
- Duration of inability to conceive: While some couples conceive quite promptly in a month or two, most take about 6 to 8 months of unprotected sex to conceive. Therefore, IVF can be an option if you are failing to conceive even after a year. Less than a year, don’t fret. Take it easy and it might just do the trick.
- Medical health: Both the partner’s medical health should be taken into account. Lifestyle changes like smoking, alcohol abuse, drug abuse should be considered, which can account for poor sexual performance and therefore lead to an inability to conceive. Health conditions like diabetes and heart disease can also lead to infertility. Hypothyroidism in women is another thing that must be ruled out, as it often leads to an inability to conceive.
- Sexual problems with the partner: One of the first things to do before going for IVF is to check that the male does not have any issues. Be it erection issues or ejaculation issues or sperm issues, they need to be ruled out. Sperm quality, quantity, and motility have to be analysed, and if they are optimal, IVF can be considered.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
IVF stands for In Vitro Fertilization and is a method of artificial insemination that dramatically increases the chances of pregnancy. It is one of the assisted reproductive technologies methods used as fertility treatment across the world where other methods have had drastic results.
In simpler terms, a man's sperm is inserted in woman's egg using controlled laboratory environment to proceed with fertilization. These embryos are then carefully put back into the mother's uterus after 4 to 5 days of fertilization in incubator in hopes that the embryo would grow in a full baby. The embryo transfer process needs to be carefully done in order for successful fertilization in the mother's womb.
There are many reasons why IVF is conducted:
- Poor sperm quality - Males having poor sperm quality are unable to achieve fertilization and increase the chances of conception with their female partners. This is male factor infertility due to which people move towards IVF.
- Fallopian tube problems - This is a female factor infertility, in which fallopian tubes either get blocked, or damaged making it complicated and stressful for the embryo to travel to the uterus.
One must approach IVF treatment with patience and a willingness to comply with all the tenets that the treatment is built upon. IVF clinics may vary the treatment a little according to what the patient's condition demands and different clinics may have different methods. The basic methods of IVF treatment however, remain the same. The first step to the treatment is to find the right clinic which complies with factors like availability of resources, cost and quality of treatment. After deciding the clinic, the next step is to understand that IVF treatment happens in cycles and the success rate of conception varies. Patients must also be ready to face any disappointment.
Here’s the short version of the steps involved in an IVF treatment cycle:
- Ovarian stimulation. Your doctor prescribes a course of drugs for you to take to stimulate your ovaries into hopefully producing 12 to 15 mature eggs.
- Monitoring of your drug response. To monitor the progress of your ovarian stimulation you undergo an ultrasound examination and blood tests.
- Egg maturation. Two days before your eggs are due to be collected you have a hormone injection, which triggers maturation of the eggs.
- Egg collection. You receive a light general anaesthetic for this simple, short procedure, and your doctor retrieves your eggs using an ultrasound-guided technique.
- Sperm production. On the day of egg collection, your partner provides a sperm sample.
- Fertilisation. The embryologist puts sperm and eggs together in the lab and, if all goes well, the eggs fertilise and early embryo development begins.
- Embryo transfer. Two to five days after egg collection, your doctor places one or two embryos in your uterus. Frozen transfer can be planned after a gap of 1 month.
- Embryo freezing. If you have additional embryos suitable for use, they can be frozen and kept for future transfers. Also, frozen embryos are available.
- Pregnancy test. About two weeks after embryo transfer you have a blood test to find out whether the treatment worked.
- If the test is positive, you have your first pregnancy scan two weeks later.
- If the test is negative, you and your partner need to talk to your doctor and decide whether to try the treatment again.
IUI- IUI is a procedure during which processed and concentrated motile sperm are inserted directly into a woman’s uterus. This procedure is timed according to a woman’s ovulation, and may be performed one to two times in the days immediately following the detection of ovulation. After ovulation a woman’s egg is picked up by the fallopian tube and waits there for the sperm. Since the IUI procedure deposits higher concentrations of good quality sperm close to where the egg is waiting, the chances that the egg and sperm will find one another are increased.
IVF- IVF is the most successful method of fertility treatment utilized today to help couples to conceive. The basic components of the IVF process include stimulation of the ovaries to produce multiple eggs at a time, removal of the eggs from the ovary (egg retrieval), fertilization of the eggs in the laboratory, and subsequent placement of the resulting embryos into the uterus (embryo transfer). The chance of pregnancy from IVF depends primarily on the age of the woman, the cause of infertility, and factors related to the quality of the IVF laboratory.
IUI Treatment: There is a marked difference between IVF and IUI pregnancy rates. IUI has a success rate between 5% and 20%, but it can even be as low as 1-2 %, depending on the woman’s age and fertility levels. The chances of conceiving through IUI is higher if fertility drugs are administered along with the treatment.
IVF Treatment: IVF has a high success rate – between 20% and 35% and it can even go as high as 40%. This may not seem like a lot, but it is very high, considering that an average young and fertile couple has only a 15-20% chance to conceive in a month. It is important to understand what IVF and IUI success rates mean and the factors that affect it before deciding on a fertility treatment. You can also use any reliable online IUI vs IVF comparison tool to determine your approximate success rates with each of these treatments, depending on your age, lifestyle, and medical history.
You should use online sources of information to understand more about fertility problems, how age affects fertility levels, and whether freezing your eggs is a good option for you. However, discuss all these issues with your doctor to ensure that you have the right information and that you have understood it correctly. Fertility specialists provide you with personalized fertility plans based on your health which is why you should always talk to them before you make any decision. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!