A basic idea of the treatments in infertility.
Only the most common treatments are discussed here.
Ovulation induction (OI): This is the back bone of infertility treatment. Here, some medicines are given to the woman to produce eggs. The progress of the eggs’ growth is monitored by a special ultrasounds scan called a follicular study or folliculometry. Once the eggs become sufficiently mature, the doctor usually gives an injection to trigger egg release or ovulation. The doctor then counsels the couple about the most fertile days. The couple is advised intercourse on those days.
Intra uterine insemination (IUI): Ovulation induction may be combined with IUI. IUI is a procedure that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization of egg. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperms that reach the fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization. This procedure further increases the couple’s chance of conception.
In vitro fertilization (IVF): This is commonly called test tube baby treatment. This is one of the major treatments of infertility and is done when other treatments have failed. IVF is a process by which an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body. This fertilized egg is further matured to form an embryo (an early development stage of baby). This embryo is transferred into the woman’s uterus.
There are a few uncommon treatments which are not discussed here.
These are the different tests that the doctor does to diagnose the cause of infertility. These tests will help the doctor decide which treatment might work best in that particular couple.
Is it necessary to test the husband?
In my routine medical practice, I often see many ladies coming alone for treatment. There is a belief that only the woman is the cause for infertility and hence she should be the only target of treatment. This is not true. In up to 30% cases, the cause is the male factor.
In infertility evaluation, a couple constitutes a biological unit and therefore, investigations of both partners individually and collectively is essential to plan a rational approach to treatment. This also ensures couple counseling and improves success rates.
What are the routine tests that a doctor will do?
The usual basic investigation protocol includes blood and urine tests for both husband and wife, semen analysis for husband and ultrasound for wife. As per the individual needs of the couple, the doctor may need added studies like tubal patency tests and diagnostic endoscopy for the wife and further testing of husband.
The investigations are tailor made as per the clinical diagnosis of the infertility doctor.
How to become pregnant?
This is an important question asked by many couples trying hard for pregnancy. This is also one of the frequently asked questions on Google. This article is a brief introduction to infertility and its treatment.
What is infertility?
Infertility is failure to conceive within one or more years of regular unprotected sexual relation.
Primary infertility refers to those patients who have never conceived. Secondary infertility refers to those patients who have become pregnant before but have difficulty in conceiving at present.
When should a couple visit the infertility doctor?
As per statistics, 80% of the couples can achieve pregnancy in one year of marriage if they keep trying. Of the remaining 20%, 10% will conceive spontaneously in the second year. About 10% of the couples will remain infertile by the end of the second year. A few recent statistics say that the incidence of infertility is increasing in recent years.
In spite of the above statistics, a couple may visit the infertility doctor if a pregnancy is desired early.
A couple in which a partner is above the age of 35 years, should visit the infertility doctor if they do not have conception within 6 months of trying.
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What are the success rates?
The success rates vary as per the diagnosis, couple’s age and type of treatment offered. Typically success rates vary from 10 to 30% in most centers. These rates are now going up with newer techniques in reproductive techniques.
Useful information for early conception.
Timing: The most fertile time of a woman is between day 10 to day 20 of her menstrual cycle. During these days, a regular intercourse improves pregnancy rates markedly.
Diet: Have plenty of water to drink (2 to 3 L per day). Avoid high fat and high starch foods. A balanced diet which also includes fruits and vegetables helps to keep excess weight under control.
Lifestyle: Avoid alcohol and tobacco. Avoid hot temperatures. Regular exercise like walking helps in keeping weight under control. Couples doing exercise as a pair tend to remain healthy. Keep stress and anxiety away.
Always feel free to contact an infertility specialist for expert opinion.