The road to parenthood is straightforward for most except an unlucky few. As per most well-known studies, approximately 15% of the reproductive age population suffers from some form of infertility. That is a massive number and what compounds the problem further is the reluctance of many couples in seeking a solution to their fertility problems.Although there are no stats associated with the same,it is safe to assume that not even half of those couples seek infertility treatment in India.While social acceptance of fertility treatments has risen exponentially in India, there remains a stigma attached with being childless.
The absence of a free flowing conversation means that couples are often lost when they go seeking solutions to their problems. This is fertile ground for fly-by-night operators and quacks to flourish their trade.Here we discuss five questions that most infertile couples commonly seek answers to.
- When to see a fertility specialist?
This is among the biggest confusions that childless couples are beset with. When to go see a fertility specialist? Should it be after a few months of trying? Is it worth seeing a fertility doctor after 10 years of trying without success?
Each of those questions can only be answered by the fertility specialist. And while there are no proper guidelines about when is the right time to see a fertility doctor, the following offers a good idea of the same.
- You are less than 35 years of age, have regular menstrual cycles and do not get pregnant after trying to conceive naturally for a year.
- You are between 35 and 39 years of age, have regular menstrual cycles and do not get pregnant after trying to conceive naturally for six months.
- You are aged 40 or more, have regular menstrual cycles and do not get pregnant after trying to conceive naturally for three months.
Other instances and conditions where you should consult a fertility specialist include,
- Your menstrual cycle is irregular
- You have a history of pelvic surgery (like removal of ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancy, surgical removal of endometriosis, a ruptured appendix, or tubal surgery)
- Your periods are accompanied by a lot of pain
- Other female fertility diagnoses
- Can I get pregnant after crossing the age of 40?
For women, age is an important factor that influences their fertility potential. As they get older, their ability to conceive a child naturally reduces as well. If you are pushing 40 years of age or are beyond it and have failed to conceive a child through unprotected sexual intercourse alone, there are fertility treatments that can help you. IVF and its additionalfertility treatment steps like ICSI and IMSI can help you get pregnant. And if your ovaries do not produce enough good quality eggs for a successful pregnancy, you can turn to donor eggs. The same also holds true in case the male partner’s sperm lack quality and where donor sperm can be used. In either case, IVF is proven to help women over the age of 40 to conceive and deliver a child of their own.
- What are the different types of fertility treatment?
While IVF remains the principal fertility treatment, a number of additional treatments that improve its success rate have been formulated and mastered over the years. Moreover, not every patient is recommended to go in for IVF right from the very beginning. Depending upon the patient’s age and overall fertility levels (which are determined through several diagnostic tests), the treatment can begin with simpler treatments like OI (Ovulation Induction) and IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination). Only patients who do not respond to those treatments, and those who present an advance case of infertility that cannot be cured with basic treatments, are advised to go in for IVF.
Some of the other fertility treatments that may or may not be recommended in your case are,
- ICSI – Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection
- IMSI – Intracytoplasmic Morphologically selected Sperm Injection
- PESA – Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration
- MESA – Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration
- TESA – Testicular Sperm Aspiration
- TESE – Testicular Sperm Extraction
- Blastocyst Culture
- Laser Assisted Hatching
- IVF using Donor Sperm/Egg/Embryo
- How to choose the right fertility center?
This is an important question that most childless couples struggle with and understandably so. You are not only entrusting your hard earned money in the hands of someone else, you are also doing the same for your health. That is why you should perform a thorough background check of a facility before starting treatment there.While there is no regulatory body that oversees fertility clinics in India, there is no harm in checking if the clinic you like is registered with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). Other things you can do to gauge the reliability and genuineness of a fertility center include its infrastructure, previous track record, quality of personnel and most importantly, its doctors.
- What to do before the treatment begins?
Once the exact cause of your infertility is established and the appropriate treatment for the same is decided, there arecertain things you can do ensure a higher chance of getting pregnant. For starters, the effectiveness of any fertility treatment is enhanced if you are of overall good health. So start by eating well, exercising regularly, sleeping adequately and learning to manage your stress levels. If you are a smoker, quit completely. The same also applies if you consume alcohol.The advice applies to both men and women equally.
While it is a given that childless couples might have a lot more questions about fertility treatments than the ones discussed here, these five topics offer a good foundation that such couples can use to build their other questions and doubts on.
Key Takeaways –
- If you have any doubt or question regarding your fertility status, only take advice from a recognized doctor or fertility specialist.
- While chances of pregnancy do reduce with age, even women over 40 can get pregnant today with IVF and other associated treatments.
- Perform a background check of a clinic or fertility center before starting treatment.
- Couples should work towards improving their overall physical and mental health as it can significantly boost the success of any fertility treatment.