Infertility

Infertility in men and women: What you need to know

Infertility is the inability or failure to get pregnant after regular, unprotected sex for 12 months or more. With a population of 1.3 billion, this number hides an unexpected complex reality of India. 10-14% of the Indian population is infertile, as per the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction (ISAR). There are several signs of infertility to look out for and fortunately, modern medicine has developed treatments to curb this issue.

Female infertility:

  • Issues with menstruation

-Irregular menstruation: An average menstrual cycle can be anywhere between 28 and 35 days. Irregular periods occur when the menstrual cycle becomes very inconsistent.

-Painful periods: Heavy and painful periods that cause a hindrance to your daily life must be checked immediately. This may be a symptom of endometriosis.

-No periods: If you haven’t had a period in over 3 months, consult a gynecologist to check for fertility issues.

  • Hormonal imbalance

Most often, abnormal hormonal changes go unnoticed and pose as a sign of infertility. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance include chin acne, weight gain, facial hair growth, reduced sex drive, and more.

  • Late Puberty

Constitutional delay in growth and puberty (CDGP) is one of the most common causes of delayed puberty. This does not affect the individual’s fertility in the long run. However, in some cases, gonadal failure, malnutrition, hypothyroidism, and other hormonal disorders can cause delayed puberty. These conditions can have detrimental effects on a person’s ability to get pregnant.

Male infertility:

  • Painful and swollen testicles

Several reasons can lead to distress in the testicles that could contribute to infertility issues in men.

  • Ejaculation issues

Abnormalities like delayed ejaculation, premature ejaculation, or no ejaculation at all can be signs of infertility.

  • Small and firm testicles

The testes contain sperm which is necessary for achieving pregnancy. A decline in sperm health in the testes can indicate an underlying issue that should be explored by a urologist.

  • Low libido

Reduced sex drive can be linked with hormone health. Consult an endocrinologist to detect and reverse any medical condition.

  • Late Puberty

Similar to signs of infertility in females, delayed puberty due to gonadal failure, nutritional imbalances, and other chronic/ hormonal disorders can also lead to infertility issues in men.

How do doctors treat infertility?

Generally, infertility can be treated with medicine, surgery, reproductive technology, or intrauterine insemination. Regularly, intrauterine insemination and medication are used at the same time. Medical physicians will recommend certain treatments for this issue on the basis of the following,

  • Factors contributing to this problem
  • Infertility duration
  • Age of the person
  • Counseling is given to the couple about the risk, success rate, and each treatment’s benefit.

You should know that male infertility can be treated with surgical, medical, or some assisted reproductive therapies, which totally depend on the cause of a person. Surgical and medical therapies can be handled with the help of a urologist specialized in infertility.

Infertility treatments for men:

  • Surgery: Surgeries can fix blockages that prevent sperm from being ejaculated.
  • Medications: Medications can be used to treat abnormal hormone levels or issues with ejaculation.

Infertility treatments in India for women:

  • Surgery: Surgery can remove any tissues (such as endometriosis) or fix an obstruction in the fallopian tubes.
  • Medications: Medicines are provided to induce ovulation or treat hormonal imbalances.

Assisted reproductive technology 

Infertility treatments can also be performed using assisted reproductive technology (ART) that helps in procreation. It includes all fertility treatments, in which both the embryos and eggs are treated outside the body. Generally, this procedure involves removing the mature eggs from the ovaries of a woman using a needle. Then they combine those eggs with sperm in the lab, finally returning the embryos to the body of the woman, or it is used for donation for another woman. The most common types of ART are:

  • IVF (in-vitro fertilization): The egg and sperm are collected and fertilized outside of the body.
  • IUI (intrauterine insemination): The sperm is collected and directly placed inside a woman’s uterus.
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): One sperm is collected and placed directly into an egg.

In some cases, infertility cannot be treated. Depending on your preferences, a doctor may suggest you consider surrogacy, donor sperm or eggs, or adoption. The social stigma associated with infertility in India could also take a toll on your mental health. If you are pre-occupied with worrying thoughts, consult a psychiatrist to improve your well-being.

Also Read: What you need to know about COVID-19

The success rate of ART

Most of the people having doubt that how often is ART successful for them. The success rate can be depending on the factors such as infertility diagnosis, age, and the treatment procedure. But the woman’s age is especially important for the success rate. The average percentage of non-donor and fresh ART cycles are as follows,

  • Younger than 35 years has a 31% success rate
  • Women who aged about 35 to 37 years will have a 24% success rate
  • Women aged 38 to 40 years has 16%
  • Women between 41 to 42 years have 8%
  • 43 age and above has a 3% success rate

This treatment can be time consuming and expensive one. But it is really effective when compared to other treatments. Most of the couples who undergo this treatment have children. The only complication with the ART is multiple pregnancies. But you should not worry about that. This problem is prevented by limiting the number of embryos that are transferred back to the women’s uterus. Take, for instance, transferring a single embryo rather than transferring multiple embryos will definitely reduce the chance of having multiple pregnancies.

Better chance of a healthy pregnancy

You should not wait until you are ready to have your baby think about fertility. Know about certain things that affect the capacity to get pregnant and how to prevent the risk factors which cause infertility. Take smart and sound decisions about your future. Take consultation with the primary care physician in order to get a better understanding of your body. Do not forget to practice a healthy reproductive lifestyle. Time is considered to be very important for reproduction; hence delaying suitable medical treatment might add to infertility problems.

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