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Reproduction: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Sep 20, 2023

What is the treatment?

Infertility is a condition where the woman is unable to get pregnant due to pressing problems persisting in her reproductive organs. This includes her inability to ovulate due to conditions such as polycystic ovaries that causes irregular menstruation, damaged or blocked fallopian tubes, or a condition called endometriosis due to which an extra tissue develops outside the uterus. (This condition can be cured through surgery). Defects related to reproduction equally exist in men and this happens when the man has low or poor sperm-count.

Though there are treatments available for both men and women, the couple has to make sure that they do not procrastinate, as post 35, a woman gradually loses her ability of becoming pregnant. Treatment for women includes the consumption of fertility drugs which induce ovulation. Artificial Insemination is another process and in some cases surgeries are also recommended for women before conception.

Costlier treatments are available for those who do not obtain success from the regular methods. The umbrella term under which such procedures are constituted is called Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART). In vitro fertilization is the most common type of ART. Techniques that constitute in vitro fertilization include Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, assisted hatching and surrogacy.

Infertile men may be asked to alter their life-style to stimulate a surge in sperm-count; some might have to undergo a surgery while for others sperm-count stimulating medicines might work. In such cases where the level of sperm found in the ejaculated fluid is zero, a technique called sperm retrieval can be implemented where sperm is retrieved from the testis through surgery.

Modern methods do encourage the process of reproduction but neither of them vouches for the fact that the woman will get pregnant. However, in recent times improved technology has caused inflation in the rates of success.

How is the treatment done?

Reproduction is a major component in the entire spectrum of a human life and the inability to procreate often takes a toll on a person’s emotional health. But there are lots of treatments that a couple can consider to overcome infertility.

Fertility drugs that might come in the form of injection shots or pills are the most common measures that help a woman to reproduce. These medicines encourage egg production and make the uterus fit for the artificial placing of embryo. In many cases these drugs are enough to make a woman pregnant. They are cheaper in price when compared to other reproduction-inducing treatments.

Artificial Insemination or Intrauterine Insemination is another process that goes hand in hand with the consumption of fertility pills. Washed or purified sperms are injected into the woman’s uterus via a catheter. It is best for those women whose partners suffer from low-density sperm count. It is also a good option for those women whose cervical mucus is too dense or acidic to allow sperm to travel. In most cases pregnancy occurs after the sixth cycle of treatment.

Other formats of fertility treatments where the physiological (reproductive) samples of either of the parents or both are replaced by samples of someone other than the biological parent(s) include Donor Eggs, Donor Sperm, Donor Embryos and Surrogacy. These are best for those who suffer from unexplained infertility or anomalies that they do not wish to pass on to the children.

In vitro fertilization is the most talked-about and expensive among all the fertility treatments. In this the egg of a woman is retrieved and it is practically incubated in a lab with the help of a healthy sperm. Once it develops into an embryo it is placed in either the uterus or the fallopian tubes.

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

A woman who suffers from the inability to become pregnant after a couple of trials is fit for undergoing fertility treatments. Similarly a man who is affected by low-density sperm count, owing to which his partner fails to conceive, might consider fertility treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Women post the age of 35 are usually dissuaded from undergoing fertility treatments as with age women lose the ability to become pregnant. Despite the existence of various methods cases of unexplained infertility are not uncommon. For these people nothing might work. Those women who are disinclined toward conceiving multiple babies shall not go for fertility treatments, as, multiple birth is a common side effect of these treatments.


Are there any side effects?

The most common side effect of infertility treatments is multiple births resulting in premature delivery. Other factors include fatigue, nausea, bloating and development of ovarian cysts that could result from the intake of fertility drugs. Insertion of developed embryos into the fallopian tubes could be a risky process and recovery time might be longer than usual. Processes like surrogacy, donor embryo and donor eggs entail a lot of legal miscellanies, not to mention the personal stress. Apart from that these treatments often come with a rigorous regimen that patients need to follow in order to attain success. Moreover, fertility treatments do not warrants positive result. In some cases they just fail to work.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Women undergoing fertility treatments face higher chances of giving birth to premature babies. In such cases the baby needs to be kept under special care, often, under the guidance of the obstetrician for quite a few days before it is handed over to the parents. Even the mother can face certain problems after undergoing fertility treatments, like she can develop ovarian cysts or unexplained bloating. To combat these conditions dosages of medicines might continue for long even after pregnancy. To get proper post-pregnancy guidelines the concerned doctor(s) who have performed the fertility treatment need to be consulted.

How long does it take to recover?

Women who undergo such treatments where the embryo or embryos are placed in the fallopian tubes utilizing laparoscopic surgery have higher chances of facing assisted medical problems and often the recovery time in such cases become longer than usual. In many cases fertility treatments just do not work. In a circumstance like that recovery in terms of getting back ones psychological integrity and stability become more of a challenge than recovering health-wise. Therefore, couples must look in to both the advantages and downsides of fertility treatments before stepping out.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The cost of In Vitro Fertilization starts from Rs. 65,000 and can go up to Rs. 3, 00000 based on the kind of facility and the reputation of the facility. Artificial Reproductive Technologies are often assisted by the prescription of fertility drugs which can be as low as 415 Rupees or as high as 6000 Rupees depending upon the requirement of the patient. Procedures such as surrogacy, donor sperm, embryo eggs etc could be of any range and is subject to the demands of the donor.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

If the fertility treatment works and everything goes fine with the health of the baby secured, the result will have permanency. However, in some scenarios it has been observed that children born out of fertility treatments have developed anomalies in their later lives. But the argument has no valid ground as this can occur in anyone, naturally born or otherwise.

To be precise, the result of fertility treatments could be either positive and enduring, or negative, bringing about no result at all.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There are many alternatives that may work to ease up the process of pregnancy; however, they are not foolproof methods assuring a positive result. Acupuncture is a very popular therapy and it can produce positive result when assisted with IVF treatment. Popular singer Celine Dion sought the help of acupuncture beside undergoing IVF treatment after a failed pregnancy and she gave birth to twin healthy babies as a result of it.

Other alternatives include meditation, yoga, crystal therapy, consuming soya supplements and most importantly leading a healthy life.

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