When a woman cannot conceive even after practicing unprotected sex for one year or more it is known as infertility. It is quite common in women with irregular menstrual cycles or those who are above 35 years of age.
Such women should consult a reproductive endocrinologist who might suggest one out of the different types of infertility treatments available currently. The infertility specialist also helps to find treatment in women needing help with several spontaneous miscarriages or recurrent pregnancy loss.
Symptoms and Indications Of Infertility
Usually, infertility symptoms cannot be traced. However, some of the signs and indications of infertility are listed below:
- Pelvic infection
- Genital infection
- Endocrine dysfunction
- Sexual dysfunction
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Uterine Fibroids
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Understanding Pregnancy Steps
To understand the cause of infertility it is very much important that you get to know how a woman conceives. Here is a systematic detailing. For a woman to get pregnant:
- It is vital that the body of a woman must release an egg from one of the ovaries during ovulation.
- The sperm of a man must join the released egg along its way causing fertilization.
- The fertilized egg goes to the uterus through the fallopian tube and attaches itself to the uterus inner wall.
Does Infertility Affect Only Women?
Both men and women contribute equally to infertility. Hence, the various types of infertility treatments are directed towards both male and female.
Causes of Infertility in Men
Several factors contribute towards infertility in men. The semen analysis can evaluate the cause. The specialist evaluates the sperm count or concentration, its motility, and morphology. Even though sometimes the semen analysis comes out to be slightly abnormal it does not necessarily indicate that the man is infertile. Instead, the analysis is carried out to determine how far the male factors are leading to infertility.
Conditions that can result in infertility in men include:
In this condition, the veins present on the testicles of a man are large, due to which they overheat affecting the shape of sperms.
Men with medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis, testicular failure, diabetes, trauma, infection or suffering from side effects of radiation or chemotherapy can have abnormal sperms.
If a man has unhealthy habits such as heavy alcohol use, smoking, illicit drug use, anabolic steroid use and testosterone supplementation he can suffer from infertility.
Exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides and lead can lead to infertility in men. Various types of infertility treatments can effectively treat all these problems.
Causes of Infertility in Women
Women require functioning fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries for getting pregnant. If any of the three things is not functioning properly, it can lead to infertility in women. A woman with irregular periods usually does not have a regular ovulation.
Causes of non-ovulation in women include:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome,
- Diminished ovarian reserve,
- Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea,
- Menopause and
- Premature ovarian insufficiency
No single test can predict infertility in women. That is why, the health caregiver may recommend several tests to evaluate the status of ovarian function in a woman. The most commonly advised such tests include follicle stimulating hormone value during the 3 to 5 menstrual cycle, antral follicle count using transvaginal ultrasound and antimullerian hormonal value.
Types of Infertility Treatments
Here are some of the types of infertility treatments that help a couple conceive despite the natural shortcomings in their personalities.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In this process, eggs are taken out from the ovaries and then fertilized in a laboratory dish with sperm before they are placed once again in the mother’s womb. The process is technically known as ‘fertilization in glass’ which is popularly known as ‘test tube baby.’
Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
In the ICSI process, a single sperm is directly injected into the egg for fertilization. This fertilized egg or embryo is then transferred into the womb of the mother.
Donor Insemination (DI)
In this method, the sperm is screened for sexually transmitted diseases and certain genetic disorders from the donor. The sperm is then fertilized with the egg of the patient. DI is also known as intrauterine insemination (IUI) using donor sperm.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Just before the fertility treatment, the sperms of best quality are selected and then inserted into the woman’s womb. The sperm is supposed to be added when it is the most fertile time for the woman, such as when she is ovulating (ovary is releasing an egg).
This type of testing makes it possible for people to avoid passing of some unwanted and specific inherited condition to the future generation. The process involves PGD, PGS, and sex selection. Many times doctors also suggest embryo testing to search for a tissue match for an existing sick sibling (PTT).
In Vitro Maturation (IVM)
During this process, eggs are removed from the ovaries. They are gathered even while they are immature. These immature eggs are matured before fertilizing them in the laboratory. It means that the woman does not have to take any drugs before egg collection as is required in case of conventional IVF when matured eggs are to be collected.
Gamete infra-fallopian Transfer (GIFT)
Eggs are picked out from the ovaries, and the healthiest ones are taken out and placed along with sperm inside the fallopian tubes of a woman. In this case, therefore, fertilization takes place inside the body of a woman, which means the conception occurs almost naturally.
This process is offered by very few fertility clinics abroad and in Indian metro cities. For this test, a woman is expected to undergo a range of treatment and tests related to the immune system’s working on a patient during pregnancy.
The most common and popular way of having a baby is surrogacy wherein the other woman carries and delivers a baby for the other couple. Its popularity has soared after superstars like Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan used it to have a child.
In women, fallopian tubes are unlocked using the keyhole surgery to reverse sterilization. Similarly, in men, it is used to retrieve sperms surgically.
Fertility drugs are prescribed for women who are not ovulating properly and are not releasing an egg every month. The fertility drugs trigger of production of eggs almost in the similar way as the body’s hormone do naturally.
So, even if you are incapable of conceiving naturally, these different types of infertility treatments will surely help you to have a baby of yours.