Infertility

What is Infertility?

Infertility is when you haven’t been able to conceive even after a year of trying. If you’re a woman over the age of 35 years, it is diagnosed if you’re not able to conceive in six months of trying. Even women who are able to conceive but not carry a pregnancy, are diagnosed with infertility.

But infertility doesn’t mean you should give up on the dream of having a family. It just means it is going to take some time or little medical assistance.

What Causes Infertility?

Infertility is not just a problem in women. Both men and women are equally at the risk of being infertile.

  • Maternal age: An advancing maternal age has an adverse effect on the ovary. Infact, infertility due to age is very common for women in their thirties and forties.
  • Ovulation disorders: If your menstrual cycles occur at intervals greater than 35 days, you’re not ovulating normally. PCOS has become a common cause of ovulatory dysfunction. It becoming very common in younger age groups as well.
  • Sperm dysfunction: Malefactor has been identified as a contributing factor to almost 30% of infertility cases. It is important to assess semen parameters of the male partner when the couple is trying to have a baby.
  • Pelvic infections and sexually transmitted diseases: With young men and women becoming sexually active at a younger age, pelvic infections and STDs have become common. Inflammation, tubal damage or blockage, can lead to infertility.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse: If you have been consuming too many drinks over the years or have a case of substance abuse, you should visit a doctor before trying to conceive.
  • Weight: Being underweight or overweight as per your age and height, can also be contributing factors to infertility.

 

Should you get laparoscopy?

Honestly, reserve laparoscopy for after completing the basic infertility evaluation. First get yourself assessed for ovulation, ovarian reserve, ultrasound, hysterosalpingogram and semen parameters.

A laparoscopic evaluation will only tell you if your fallopian tubes are healthy enough to pick up the egg. The doctor can assess if the uterus is healthy enough to carry a pregnancy with a hysteroscopy.

In most cases, infertile couples choose to go for fertility treatments which could be oral ovulation inducing medicines or taking hormonal injections. The couple is usually counselled to go for laparoscopy or hysteroscopy if the medication doesn’t work till 3-6 cycles.

Not sure if laparoscopy is the next for you? Let me help you decide.

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How does IVF work?

Advancements in reproductive technology are helping infertile couples have a baby.

In this process, the woman has to take hormonal injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce many eggs.

Once the follicles reach a mature size, the doctor administers an HCG injection to push the development and maturation of the eggs further. And right before the eggs are ovulated, they are retrieved via a small surgery. During the surgery, a sterile needle attached to suction tubing and a collecting vial is used to retrieve eggs from the ovary through the vaginal wall.

Once the fluid containing these eggs is taken from the follicles and into the vials, they are handed over to the embryologist. The expert then finds the egg, places them on a petri dish and then fertilizes them using their partner’s sperm.

The fertilized eggs (embryos) are then allowed to grow and develop for typically 3 to 5 days. Embryos displaying healthy development, are then transferred into the uterine cavity under ultrasound guidance, using a sterile catheter.