Infertility means not being able to become pregnant, within certain parameters. It is a common problem of about 10% of women aged 15 to 44. It can be due to the woman (33%), the man (33%) and by both sexes or due to unknown problems (33%), approximately. Infertility in men can be due to varicocele, low or absent sperm count, sperm damage or certain diseases. Sometimes, an infertile woman may have irregular or absent menstrual periods. Rarely, an infertile man may have some signs of hormonal problems, such as changes in hair growth or sexual function.
HOW IS INFERTILITY DIAGNOSED?
Infertility in men can be diagnosed by semen analysis and hormone testing. In addition to hormone testing female patients might need to undergo ovulation testing and a specialized test called hysterosalpingography which helps to checks the condition of the uterus and checks for blockages in the fallopian tubes.
HOW IS INFERTILITY TREATED?
Treatment of infertility depends on the underlying cause. Commonly fertility drugs, hormone medication, and tubular surgeries are done to treat infertility. Lifestyle changes also help in treating infertility
DID YOU KNOW?
Infertility could happen because of multiple factors ranging from lack of regular menstrual cycles to some kind of abnormalities or even a hostile uterine environment but in many cases the problem is treatable.
Being a newly married couple that dreams of starting a new family, have you been having difficulties in trying to conceive in the last six months to one year? Either of you may then be suffering from infertility, or the inability to reproduce naturally. Infertility due to the woman or the man is usually of an equal percentage.
In women, this infertility may be seen due to blocked Fallopian tubes, problems in ovulation, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine problems, stress, age-related factors, poor diet, etc. Male infertility may be due to low quality of semen count. This may be because of usage of drugs, alcohol, radiation or endocrine problems.
The doctor will have to first run several tests to diagnose the infertility. He would look into the detailed case histories of both of you and then run tests such as sperm studies, ovulation tests, ultrasound, and laparoscopy.
This is however not the end of the road for couples like you, for nowadays there are several methods you can look into for conception. Medicine, surgery, artificial insemination, or assisted reproductive technology, are some of the options available according to your test results and other factors such as the woman’s age. Each method would be explained to you along with all its risk factors. A lot of counseling happens at this crucial stage for the preferred choice of treatment.
Here are a few different ways of achieving conception:
• Intrauterine insemination (IUI): This is an artificial insemination method in which specially picked sperm is inserted into the woman’s uterus. Ovulation is often stimulated before the insemination. This method is adopted when the cause for infertility is unknown or when there is a mild factor of male infertility.
• In vitro fertilization (IVF): This is an assisted reproductive technology (ART), in which the eggs of the woman is surgically removed and combined with the sperm in a laboratory. This is then returned to the woman’s body or given to another willing woman. Though this procedure is time consuming and expensive, it has helped hundreds of couples to conceive. Babies born out of this procedure are often referred to as ‘test tube babies’.
• Surrogacy: When a woman has no eggs or few eggs, another healthy woman’s eggs and the husband’s sperm are fertilized together. The other woman then carries the baby to term according to agreement. A child born out of surrogacy would be genetically related to the husband and the surrogate.
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