What is Infertility?
Infertility is the inability to become pregnant even after regular attempts of unprotected sex. The cause of infertility can be due to problem in man or woman or both. Infertility is also when a woman is not able to carry a pregnancy for full term.
What causes infertility in males?
– Poor quality of semen: If the male has poor quality of sperms. This can be due to low sperm count, low sperm mobility, no sperm or abnormal sperm.
– Long term exposure to certain chemicals, medicines etc. which causes infertility.
– Sexually transmitted diseases which can cause infertility.
What causes infertility in females?
– Irregular periods/ovulation: Women with irregular periods can have abnormality during conception. If you have this issue, consult your doctor and they can help you treat this issue.
– Thyroid: Thyroid can be another case of infertility in women.
– Blockage in fallopian tubes: The egg travels from the ovary to the uterus (womb) to get fertile. Sometimes due to any problem in the uterus or blockage in fallopian tubes the woman may not be able to conceive naturally. The reasons can be any previous pelvic surgery, sterilization process etc.
– Endometriosis: These are the cells that are normally found within the uterus and they start growing elsewhere in the body.
– Obesity: An obese man or woman has a higher chance of being infertile.
– Smoking: If you smoke a lot then the chances of infertility grows. Avoid smoking if you want to conceive naturally.
– Alcohol: Too much of alcohol consumption can also increase the chances of infertility.
– Age: Infertility increases with the rise in age. If you are female over 36 years and male over 40 years, you are at a higher risk.
– Poor Lifestyle: Poor eating habits, lack of exercise or physical activity can raise infertility chances.
– Stress: Too much of mental stress also increases infertility chances.
When should we consult a doctor?
You should consult your doctor in cases below:
1- You are a female over 36 years old and have not conceived for more than a year of having unprotected sex.
2- You have been trying to conceive for more than 2 years now and no success.
3- You are aware of any infertility problems that you may have.
4- You or your husband have any family history of infertility and you are not successful conceiving naturally.
Can Infertility be treated?
Once the cause of infertility is diagnosed, the doctor might give you the treatment options available. Fertility treatments are most likely to benefit women whose infertility is due to problems with ovulation. Treatment are said to be least likely to benefit infertility caused by damage to the fallopian tubes or severe endometriosis. If the cause of infertility is thyroid, the same can be treated by treating this condition. Whether the treatment is possible or not, can be discussed with the doctor.
What are the treatment options for infertility?
1- Treatment of irregular periods / ovulation: Doctor can suggest medicines which can improve your infertility. These medicines are sometimes given in addition to assisted conception.
2- Surgical Intervention: Surgery can treat some infertility issues. These are Fallopian tube surgery and correction of an epididymal blockage and surgical extraction of sperm.
3- Assisted Conception: Assisted Conception includes procedures like IUI, IVF.
– IUI (Intrauterine Insemination): Under Intrauterine insemination (IUI) sperm is being placed into the womb using a fine plastic tube. Sperm is collected, washed in a fluid, best quality is selected and then passed from cervix through a tube into the womb.
– IVF (in-vitro fertilisation): Under in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), the fertilisation of the egg is done outside the body. The woman is given fertility medication so her ovaries produce more eggs than normal. Eggs are then removed from her ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. A fertilised embryo is then put back inside the woman’s body.
Are there any side-effects of the infertility treatment?
– Multiple pregnancies: These treatments sometimes result in multiple births (twins / triplets or more). This result in risk to the mother and the unborn babies.
– There can be side effects like headaches, restlessness, hot flushes etc. which can occur due to the medication given.
– Increased Stress: The entire process of infertility treatment leads to a lot of stress specially for the women.
– Under IUI, though the procedure is painless but some women might feel temporary cramps like period cramps after or during IUI.
– Ectopic pregnancy: The symptom of Ectopic pregnancy is usually one-sided low abdominal pain which can be followed by vaginal bleeding or dark brown or red vaginal discharge. The pain can increase as the pregnancy continues. The chances of an ectopic pregnancy is higher in women having IVF. It is even more if the women already have problems affecting their tubes. If you face similar situations, consult your doctor.
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