fertility treatments

Infertility Treatments

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Infertility treatments include stages of fertility medicines to ART treatments such as IVF, ICSI, IMSi and TESA. Such advanced treatments can treat infertility caused by damaged fallopian tubes, ovulation disorders, advancing maternal age or male infertility.

Infertility is defined as an inability to achieve a normal pregnancy after 12 months or more even after regular unprotected sexual intercourse. Infertility may result from an issue with either the male or female partner or a combination of factors that interfere with pregnancy. Fortunately, there are many safe and effective therapies that significantly improve the chances of getting pregnant. If a woman is infertile, the doctor analyses her health history, medications, sexual history, and her sexual activity. Testing starts with a medical history and physical exam, including a pelvic exam. After this, the doctor makes sure that she ovulates regularly and her ovaries release eggs. It is followed by blood tests to measure hormone levels. Ovaries and uterus may be examined by ultrasound and X-ray test in order to check uterus and fallopian tubes.

Causes of Infertility

About 80 percent of couples suffer from infertility and it is either associated with ovulation problem, blockage of the fallopian tubes, or poor quality or count of sperms. In 5 percent to 15 percent of couples, all tests are normal, yet the cause remains unknown. Following are some of the causes behind infertility:

  • Ovulation disorders when there are problems relating to the release of eggs from ovaries. These include hormonal disorders such as PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), hyperprolactinemia and thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism).
  • Uterine or cervical abnormalities (presence of polyps or fibroids in the uterus).
  • Blocked or damaged fallopian tube which is often caused by a pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Endometriosis, when tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows abnormally outside the uterus.
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency or early menopause, which occurs when ovaries stop working and menstruation ends before age of 40.
  • Pelvic adhesions are bands of scar tissue that bind organs after pelvic infection, appendicitis, or abdominal or pelvic surgery.
  • Female fertility declines with age. In women, decrease in fertility begins around the age of 32 years.
  • Smoking significantly boosts the risk of infertility in both men and women, and it may weaken the effects of fertility treatment. Smoking during pregnancy increases the chance of miscarriage, birth defects and pregnancy loss. Passive smoking has also been associated with lower fertility.
  • Any amount of alcohol consumption can affect the level of fertility. 
  • Being obese or overweight can increase the risk of infertility in women as well as men.
  • Sexually transmitted infections like Chlamydia can damage fallopian tubes in a woman and cause inflammation in a man's scrotum. 
  • Exposure to pesticides, herbicides, metals, such as lead, and solvents have been linked to fertility problems in both men and women. 
  • Mental stress can reduce sexual anxieties or desires. This can affect female ovulation as well as male sperm production.

mental stress can reduce sexual desires

  • Other medical conditions associated with the absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) or delayed puberty such as poorly controlled diabetes, celiac disease and some autoimmune diseases such as lupus, can affect a woman's fertility.

Treatment for Infertility

In women, infertility is treated with:

1. Fertility medicines

Fertility medicines are usually prescribed to women as they are mostly used to help with ovulation problems. Some of the common fertility medicines include:

  • Clomifene: It boosts ovulation in women who do not ovulate regularly or who cannot ovulate at all
  • Tamoxifen: It is an alternative to clomifene. It is also offered in case of ovulation problems.
  • Metformin: It is prescribed for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Gonadotrophins: It is a popular drug to stimulate ovulation in women, and may also improve fertility in men
  • Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone and dopamine agonists: This is also another type of medication prescribed to encourage ovulation

fertility medicines

2. Surgical procedures

Surgical procedures such as fallopian tube surgery may be required in case fallopian tubes are blocked or scarred. For cases like Endometriosis, fibroids and PCOS, laparoscopic surgery may be the best option. It is used mainly to destroy or remove fluid-filled sacs called cysts. It can also be used to remove submucosal fibroids (small growths in the womb). A minor surgical procedure called laparoscopic ovarian drilling can be used in women with PCOS.

3. IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is also called Artificial Insemination. It is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman's uterus for fertilization. The motive of IUI is to increase the number of sperms that reach fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization.

4. IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)

IVF is a process of fertilization where mature eggs are collected from ovaries and fertilized by sperms in a lab. After the fertilized egg (zygote) undergoes embryo culture for 2 to 6 days, it is implanted in a woman's uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy. In Vitro Fertilization is a type of Assisted Reproductive Technology used for infertility treatment and gestational surrogacy.

5. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI is a process where a single sperm is injected into an egg to achieve fertilization during an IVF procedure. ICSI is useful for men with low sperm concentrations.

6. GIFT (Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer)

Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) is a process where an egg and sperm, or gametes, are not fertilized outside the body. Instead, they are placed together into one of a woman's fallopian tubes to undergo fertilization.

gamete intrafallopian transfer

7. ZIFT (Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer)

Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer is a process where a zygote is placed in one of the fallopian tubes. This is usually done via laparoscopic surgery.

Tips to Increase Fertility

There are a number of strategies that can increase the chances of pregnancy. Few tips to increase fertility are discussed as under:

  • Quit smoking because it has multiple negative effects on fertility and general health of the mother as well as on that of the fetus. 
  • Avoid alcohol because it can impair a woman’s ability to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.
  • Limit caffeine intake and exercise moderately. Regular exercise is important for overall well being, but exercising so intensely that it affects periods causing them to get infrequent or go missing can affect fertility.
  • Avoid being overweight or underweight as it can affect hormone production and cause infertility.

The inability to become pregnant is very difficult to deal with and can impact every aspect of life. Infertility is a common problem today but it can be overcome with the help of treatments like IVF, IUI, ICSI and GIFT. The options that are best depend on one’s personal health condition and the cause of infertility.

For the latest fertility news, tips and updates, follow Elawoman blog.

Elawoman can assist you to reduce the stress associated with infertility from a medical, emotional, and financial perspective. Elawoman has helped thousands of infertility patients realize their dream of becoming parents. Our services can enhance your chance of conception and a healthy, full-term pregnancy. Call us today at +917899912611 for an appointment.

Dr. Neha Gupta

About The Author

Infertility Specialist, IVF Specialist Dr. Neha Gupta
Gurgaon

Dr. Neha Gupta is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Gurgaon. She has been practicing for many years now. Her rich experience in Normal Vaginal Delivery, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Hysterectomy and Tubectomy makes her the most preferred names in Gurgaon. She has acquired MBBS in 2004, DNB from National Board of Examinations in 2009 and MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology from Maulana Azad Medical College in 2009. She is a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London. Dr. Neha Gupta has an expertise in Intrauterine Insemination and is practicing at Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurgaon. You can get the contact details of Dr. Neha Gupta at elawoman.com

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Omrao, Umrao Shamshaard

Dec. 14, 2018, 4:06 p.m. 4.5

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