Infertility is the condition of not be able to conceive a child despite frequent and unprotected sex. The inability to get pregnant is the characteristic symptom of this disorder. This disorder can affect both men and women. Some women with this disorder might have an irregular or absent menstrual cycle. In men abnormal sperm production or function can cause infertility.
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?
Infertility can be treated with medicine, surgery, intra-uterine insemination, or assisted reproductive technology. Many times these treatments are combined. Doctors recommend specific treatments for infertility based on—
• The factors contributing to the infertility.
• The duration of the infertility.
• The age of the female.
• The couple’s treatment preference after counseling about success rates, risks, and benefits of each treatment option
DID YOU KNOW?
In recent times, fertility tourism has become a popular trend that involves couples traveling to different countries to get fertility treatments.
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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