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Infertility Treatment - Procedure, Cost And Side Effects

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2023

What is the treatment?

Infertility refers to the condition where a couple is unable to become parents even after unprotected sex for almost a year. It could be due to certain medical conditions that the woman is affected, conditions related to menstruation, problems in the fallopian tube or the inability of the ovaries to produce an egg. At times, the problem could be in the men's reproductive system, like low sperm count. The risk of infertility is more in:

  • People who have been diagnosed with certain cancers or other medical conditions like lupus (a condition where the immune system will attack its own tissues) that can affect fertility.
  • People who are addicted to smoking as it reduces the chances of pregnancy.
  • Alcohol may be a contributing factor for infertility.
  • Obesity, due to an unhealthy lifestyle. The sperm count of a man is affected if he is overweight.
  • Women who are underweight due to a restrictive or low-calorie diet.

There are a number of therapies that are safe as well as effective that in improving your chances of conceiving, ensuring that you have a biological child of your own. The treatment for infertility basically depends on certain factors like:

  • The reason that is causing the problem of infertility.
  • The duration of the time of you being infertile.
  • The ages of both you and your partner.
  • Your personal preferences.

How is the treatment done?

Infertility treatments among men would include:

  • A change in the lifestyle like discontinuing certain medications, regular exercise or improving the frequency of sex.
  • Following proper medications for increasing the testicular function, thus improving the sperm quality and count.
  • Surgery for getting rid of sperm blockage to restore fertility.
  • Sperm retrieval method when the ejaculated fluid does not contain any sperm.

For women, it could be any of the following treatments:

  • Fertility drugs which help in regulating or inducing ovulation.
  • Hysteroscopic surgery to treat endometrial polyps, uterine septum and other uterine problems that could be a hindrance to pregnancy.
  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) method, where healthy sperms will be placed in the uterus directly during the same time when the ovary releases the eggs that need to be fertilized. It is done so that the count of the number of sperms that is supposed to reach the fallopian tubes increases, which can eventually increase the chances of fertilization.
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF), where numerous mature eggs are stimulated and retrieved from the female partner, and fertilized with a sperm of a man in a lab. The embryos are then implanted in the woman’s uterus 3 to 5 days after fertilization. There are other techniques in IVF too like Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) where one healthy sperm will be directly injected into a mature egg and Assisted hatching where the embryo is implanted in the uterus lining.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

People who would be eligible for an infertility treatment would be:

  • Women below the age of 35 who have not conceived even after unprotected intercourse for almost a year
  • Women who have undergone three or more miscarriages
  • Women with a scar or blockage in their fallopian tube
  • Women experiencing irregular ovulation, without any results from the previous medications
  • Men who have the condition of low sperm count, poor sperm morphology and asthenozoospermia (improper swimming and movement of sperms)
  • Couples who have a history of certain genital infections
  • Couples who fail to conceive even if their primary test results were normal

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Infertility treatments are not recommended in the following conditions:

  • If the fallopian tubes of a woman is damaged
  • If the quality of the ovarian egg is poor
  • Women above the age of 40
  • Women who are menopausal
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Are there any side effects?

The side effects of an infertility treatment could be any of the following:

  • One of the common side effects is a greater number of foetuses, twins, triplets and sometimes even more. The more the number of foetuses will be, the greater are the chances of complications like premature delivery or gestational diabetes. Prematurely born babies are more prone to health and developmental problems.
  • Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), a condition where the ovaries can become painful and swollen. It can cause abdominal pain, feeling of nausea, constipation, dark urine bloating or sudden weight gain.
  • In rare cases, there is a risk of developing an infection or bleeding with these methods.
  • Mood swings and temporary depression.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

After an infertility treatment, the following guidelines should be followed:

  • Complete bed rest for 3 to 4 days.
  • No heavy exercise except light walking.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Foods rich in protein must be included in diet like soya, eggs, chicken, milk, nuts, etc. The protein is required by the body to aid in the fertilization process as well as helps the egg to implant properly in the uterus.
  • The stomach needs to be covered and protected for at least a week. The womb has to be warm which helps in conception
  • Meditation and breathing exercises are recommended
  • It is important to be in a positive frame of mind

How long does it take to recover?

The procedures for infertility treatment like IUI does not take much time. It takes around an hour for processing the sperm and then the IUI just take a few minutes. It will take four to six week for completing one cycle of IVF. Once the embryo is transferred, you can go back to your daily activities. However, the enlarged ovaries may cause a little discomfort. It is better to avoid any vigorous activity for a few days.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

In India, the cost of basic infertility treatment varies from Rs. 2, 50,000 to Rs. 4, 50,000. In the case of advanced treatment, it can go up to Rs. 5, 70,000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

You may have to undergo several cycles of infertility treatments like IUI and IVF before the occurrence of pregnancy. At times, couples get success in the first cycle while in some cases; it takes quite a number of cycles before you get pregnant. There can also be a chance when you do not get pregnant at all, and you have to stop the process.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

The alternate options that you can choose would be:

  • Ayurvedic treatment
  • Homeopathic remedies
  • Surrogacy
  • Adoption

References

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Written ByDr. Riddhi Doshi MBBS,Fellowship in Assisted Reproduction,DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology)IVF Speciality
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