What is the treatment?
Infertility refers to a condition when a woman cannot conceive even after having carefully timed and unprotected sex for over a year. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of infertility. However, it may occur due to inadequate levels of some hormones in both men and women and also due to trouble with ovulation in women. A man suffers from infertility if the semen that he ejaculates contains less number of sperms and if the sperm is of low quality. In such a scenario, a man will not be able to reproduce.
There are different factors which can contribute to a man getting infertile. A man can suffer from infertility if he suffers from a condition called varicoceles, or from diseases or conditions like diabetes, cystic fibrosis, trauma, infection, testicular failure or has been exposed to chemotherapy or radiation. Other causes may include alcohol addiction, smoking, use of anabolic steroids and exposure to environmental toxins. A woman can suffer from infertility if any of the organs such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes or the uterus gets damaged.
Treating infertility in men involves treatment for premature ejaculation, varicoceles, blockage of the ejaculation duct, retrograde ejaculation and also surgery for epididymal blockage. A woman may have to take some medications if she is suffering from ovulation disorders. Other treatments for women include intrauterine insemination and even surgery to restore fertility.
How is the treatment done?
A doctor may advise a couple to have more sex per week so as to enable the woman to conceive. However, infertility in men can be due to a number of different reasons and their treatments differ too. Medication and behavioral therapy can help a man to overcome general sexual problems like premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. A varicose vein in the scrotum, which can cause infertility, can be surgically removed. In case of blockage of the ejaculatory duct, sperm can be injected into an egg in the laboratory after it has been extracted directly from the testicles. Retrograde ejaculation is treated by taking sperm directly from the bladder and later injected into eggs. The epididymis is a coil-like structure in the testicles that help to store and transport sperm. Surgery can help to remove the blockage if it gets blocked.
A woman suffering from ovulation disorders will be prescribed fertility drugs like clomifene, metformin, human menopausal gonadotrophin, human chorionic gonadotrophin, bromocriptine and follicle stimulating hormone. In addition to these, there are surgical procedures for women. Fallopian tube surgery helps to repair damaged or scarred fallopian tubes and makes it easier for eggs to pass through them. Laparoscopic surgery also helps to increase fertility.
There are some methods which help in assisted conception like intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, donating sperm or egg, assisted hatching and surgical sperm aspiration.
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
A man should becomes eligible for treatment after he has been diagnosed as suffering from such by a doctor. This is because there are no apparent signs or symptoms of infertility in men. The quantity and quality of the semen also appear normal to the naked eye. Therefore the tests that can identify infertility in men are semen analysis, hormone testing, genetic testing, testicular biopsy, imaging and other specialty testing. In case of women, some of the conditions that may make them infertile are irregular or no menstrual periods, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, very painful periods or multiple miscarriages. Some of the specific fertility tests that help to understand whether a woman is infertile are ovulation testing, hysterosalpingography, ovarian reserve testing, hormone testing and imaging tests.
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
A person is known to be infertile if he/she has not being able to have a baby even after having frequent and unprotected sex for a year. A man or woman is not eligible for treatment if he/she has been able to make the partner conceive/ conceive herself after having unprotected sex. A person is also not eligible if none of the tests have been able to diagnose him/her as suffering from the condition.
Are there any side effects?
Oral fertility drugs produce milder effects than injectable fertility drugs. The most common side-effects of fertility drugs are bloating, breast tenderness, upset stomach, hot flashes, mood swings and headache. The side effects of gonadotrophins are headache, upset stomach, mood swings, acne, weight gain, abnormal menstrual bleeding, dizziness and even upper respiratory tract infection. Some of the serious side effects of fertility drugs are changes in vision, ectopic pregnancy, ovarian torsion, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and allergic reactions. However, the most common side-effect of infertility treatment is a multiple pregnancy.
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
A person should adopt a healthy lifestyle to make sure that he/she does not get affected by this condition. Smoking and consumption of alcohol increases the risks of infertility and should be avoided. It is of utmost importance for an overweight man to lose some weight. Both men and women should exercise as a sedentary lifestyle increases the risks of infertility. Furthermore, a healthy diet containing adequate quantities of folic acid, iron, zinc and vitamin B-12 should be adopted. A person should also reduce stress as it reduces the chances of conception.
How long does it take to recover?
A woman who has undergone laparoscopic surgery can probably go home on the day of the surgery itself. However, a woman will take about 2-3 weeks to recover from the surgery. Research has shown a person can again reproduce within a time span of 2 months- 2 years after successful treatment. A lot of factors determine how soon a person will recover after taking infertility drugs. Some of the factors are the person’s age, health, medical issues and others. A person taking clomiphene will normally see positive results after 5-12 days of taking the last clomiphene pill.
What is the price of the treatment in India?
The cost of laparoscopic surgery in India generally ranges between Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakhs. The surgery to remove the varicose vein in the scrotum of a man may cost something between Rs 90,000 and Rs 1,50,000. Clomephene, used to treat infertility in women, costs around Rs 650 per cycle. The prices may vary with other variations of this drug. An ICSI treatment costs between Rs 1,50,000 to RS 2,50,000 while Frozen Embryo Transfer procedure will cost a patient an additional Rs 1,20,000.
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
A person who has undergone successful treatment for infertility is generally able to reproduce within 2 years. However, this is not a permanent result. A person may again have infertility problems due to leading an unhealthy lifestyle like smoking, drinking or by not being active. Some health issues also may have an effect on the fertility of men and women.
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
When infertility issues come up due to hormonal problems, using a natural progesterone cream can help a person to address it. Consumption of herbs like red raspberry leaf, nettle leaf, dandelion, alfalfa, red clover, maca and chaste tree berry also help to cure infertility. Getting enough sleep has also proved to play an important part in treating infertility problems.
1 lakhs to 3.7 lakhs