Infertility is a condition that is characterized by inability to conceive a child even after carefully timed, unprotected sexual intercourse for over a year. The causes of infertility may be difficult to determine as there could be various reasons that may lead to infertility. In most cases, there are no additional symptoms than the inability to get pregnant.
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?
Treatment majorly depends on the cause and may include counselling, fertility treatments which may include in vitro fertilization. Infertility treatments may differ for men and women.
DID YOU KNOW?
Complications of infertility treatment may include:
• Multiple pregnancy.
• Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
• Bleeding or infection.
In general terms, infertility is described as the failure to conceive a child after about 1 year of regular unprotected sex. As per research, 20% of infertility cases are a result of some problem with the male partner and about 40%-50% of cases are a result of some problem with the female partner. There are also cases in which the infertility results because of problems with both the partners.
There are many reasons a woman may suffer from infertility, such as- age, excessive smoking, consumption of alcohol, obesity, stress, eating disorders and ovulation disorders. In case of men the causes may range from low sperm count to testicular infection and even testicular cancer.
With the advancement in science and technology various forms of fertility treatments are available in today’s time and day. Initially, the doctor may recommend lifestyle changes and medication depending on the cause of the problem. If this does not solve the problem, various methods of assisted conception are also available. For instance-
• Intrauterine insemination (IUI) - Via the IUI procedure, the sperm sample is ejected directly into the uterus with the help of a catheter. The best of the sperms are first chosen, and inserted into the uterus during the period of ovulation for the best possible results. The IUI procedure is generally done when the male partner suffers from a low sperm count or erectile dysfunction.
• In-vitro-fertilization (IVF) - Via the IVF procedure, both the best specimens of sperm and unfertilized eggs are chosen and placed together in a petri dish. Once the eggs are fertilized and the embryo forms, it is then placed into the womb of the female partner. A baby born through an IVF procedure is called a test tube baby, and about 5 million births have taken place due to IVF. IVF may not prove to be successful in the first try itself, which is why a number of couples opt for frozen embryo transfers (FET). In this case, they have additional embryos frozen just in case they cannot conceive in the first try.
In case, there is absolutely no production of healthy sperm by the male, pregnancy can be possible through a sperm donor. The same applies in the case of women. On occasion there is a possibility that a woman’s womb may not be apt for a baby to grow, in this case a couple can opt for surrogacy too.
In case of infertility there are a number of treatment options available today. Do not lose hope if you are unable to conceive, consult a doctor and get the necessary treatment to help you start a family.
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