Infertility in today’s world has started mushrooming because of fast-paced lifestyle, junk food, late marriages, delaying parenthood decision and many more.
But before you conclude that you have to take professional help you need to prepare yourself financially, mentally and emotionally too. Infertility treatments are very expensive and time taking procedures, you need to have patience before you could materialise your dream of parenthood.
I am no doctor, this post provides a fair idea of what treatments are available. An attempt to give an overall view of fertility treatments usually adopted by doctors.
Infertility treatment depends on :
- Cause of infertility
- Age of both the partners
- How long have you been infertile
- Personal preference
At times some causes of infertility cannot be corrected and at times are not being known.
Treatment for Men
These treatments are based on men’s sexual problems or lack of healthy sperm. In most of the cases it’s found that the sperm is the sole culprit.
- Adopting a healthy lifestyle – Curbing intake of harmful substance like alcohol and cigarettes, discontinuing certain medications, exercising regularly, improving frequency and timing of intercourse.
- Medications – Certain medications can increase the chances of pregnancy as they improve the testicular function for better sperm production and quality.
- Surgery – In some cases surgeries are able to reverse a sperm blockage and restore fertility. In others, surgically repairing varicocele (vein enlargement within scrotum) that helps to increase the chances of pregnancy.
- Sperm Retrieval – This involves techniques that helps to obtain sperm when there is no ejaculation or there is no sperm in the ejaculation.Its also used during Assisted reproductive techniques or low sperm count.
Treatment in women
Treatment in women could be little cumbersome and time-consuming. Some women might take just one therapy whereas others might take several. It varies from women to women. Generalizing or comparing won’t help you at all.
- Stimulating Ovulation through fertility drugs
The first treatment that any fertility expert suggests is by prescribing fertility drugs to induce ovulation. The Infertility specialists after prescribing ovary stimulating drugs, conduct the follicular study through ultrasound and encourage for sexual intercourse in particular days for increasing the chances of pregnancy. This kind of treatment usually is carried consecutively for 4-5 months. Moreover, this type of treatment usually happens when the female partner is less than 35 yrs of age.
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – If the female partner is above 35yrs she is usually recommended directly for IUI cycles.During IUI, healthy sperm are placed directly in the uterus around the time the ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized. Depending on the reasons for infertility, the timing of IUI can be coordinated with your normal cycle or with fertility medications.
- Assited Reproductive Technology
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is any fertility treatment in which the egg and sperm are handled. There are several types of ART.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common ART technique. IVF involves stimulating and retrieving multiple mature eggs, fertilizing them with sperm in a dish in a lab,and hence the nomenclature of Test tube baby or in Vitro fertilisation. The embryo is then implanted in the uterus several days after fertilization.
Other techniques are sometimes used in an IVF cycle, such as:
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). A single healthy sperm is injected directly into a mature egg. ICSI is often used when there is poor semen quality or quantity, or if fertilization attempts during prior IVF cycles failed.
- Assisted hatching. This technique assists the implantation of the embryo into the lining of the uterus by opening the outer covering of the embryo (hatching).
- Donor eggs or sperm. Most ART is done using a couple’s own eggs and sperm. However, if there are severe problems with either the eggs or the sperm, you may choose to use eggs, sperm or embryos from a known or anonymous donor.
- Gestational carrier. Women who don’t have a functional uterus or for whom pregnancy poses a serious health risk might choose IVF using a gestational carrier. In this case, the couple’s embryo is placed in the uterus of the carrier for pregnancy.
Complications of treatment
Complications of infertility treatment may include:
- Multiple pregnancy. The most common complication of infertility treatment is a multiple pregnancy — twins, triplets or more. Generally, the greater the number of fetuses, the higher the risk of premature labor and delivery, as well as problems during pregnancy such as gestational diabetes. Babies born prematurely are at increased risk of health and developmental problems. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about a multiple pregnancy before starting treatment.
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Fertility medications to induce ovulation can cause OHSS, particularly with ART, in which the ovaries become swollen and painful. Symptoms may include mild abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea that lasts about a week, or longer if you become pregnant. Rarely, a more severe form causes rapid weight gain and shortness of breath requiring emergency treatment.
- Bleeding or infection. As with any invasive procedure, there is a rare risk of bleeding or infection with assisted reproductive technology or reproductive surgery.
Note: This post has outlined the most commonly used fertility treatments to render a general view of the procedure of each treatment.
If you like this post then please do share it with one who are still suffering and struggling in this painful journey.
Other posts of the series #trustwith infertility are below:
“A” – Are you pregnant yet?
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