Infertility is a term used to define an inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse. This term can apply to both men and women as it depends upon fertility potential of both sexes. Infertility can be
- Primary – If conception has never occurred
- Secondary – If the patient fails to conceive after the previous conception
Causes for Male and Female Infertility are:
|Causes for Male Infertility||Causes for Female Infertility|
|Defective spermatogenesis due to:
Defective transport due to:
Ineffective delivery due to:
|Defective ovulation due to:
Defective transport of ovum and sperm due to:
Defective implantation due to:
In the present times, men and women are constantly exposed to factors which make it difficult for them to conceive. Infertility is considered to be a result of increasing urbanization along with severely altered and faulty dietary and lifestyle choices such as:
- Alcohol consumption
- Cigarette smoking
- Physical inactivity or sedentary lifestyle
- Altered eating habits like skipping meals and increased consumption of junk food.
- High levels of environmental pollution
Infertility can instill a lot of fear and anxiety in minds of a couple who has been unable to conceive. Such individuals need to consult a fertility specialist for appropriate counseling and treatment.
It is advisable to carry documents of your previous reports and medications when visiting a fertility doctor for the first time.
Questions To Ask A Fertility Doctor
There are certain questions which you need to ask your fertility doctor on the first visit before you begin your treatment.
What Is The Difference Between Male Infertility And Female Infertility?
This helps you to get a better insight into your particular problem and how to deal with it. Causes for male and female infertility have already been mentioned above.
What Tests Or Radiological Investigations Will Be Required To Diagnose The Problem?
The first and foremost step is to understand what the underlying condition is. Diagnostic tests can help to identify if the infertility is due to male or female counterpart and the type of infertility, which is primary or secondary. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment approach can be decided.
Will The Cause For Infertility Go Away With Treatment Or Will It Remain The Same?
Certain medical or congenital disorders can result in permanent infertility. Some conditions, on the other hand, may require medications or surgical correction. It is essential to discuss and be assured of the outcomes of the various treatment options available.
Can I continue To Take Medicines When I am Sick?
It is important to be mentally and physically healthy while undergoing treatment. Any kind of signs and symptoms should be informed to your doctor while on medicines for fertility. You also need to discuss if you can continue taking medications.
Which Treatment Is Recommended First And How Long Will It Take?
Your fertility doctor may advise you treatment options like:
- Intra-uterine insemination (IUI) – This process involves placing a sperm inside the woman’s uterus to bring about fertilization. This process increases the chances of fertilization.
- In-vitro fertilization (IVF) – Eggs and sperm samples are extracted and combined in a laboratory tube to form an embryo. The embryo is transferred into the uterus.
- Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) – It is a specialized form of IVF used mainly in case of male infertility.
Are There Any Side Effects For this Treatment?
It is always better to be well informed about any possible side-effects which can occur as a result of medications or other forms of fertility treatment. This helps you to be mentally prepared for the same.
What Is The Success Rate For These Procedures?
Success rates for any kind of fertility treatment are influenced by the individual patient’s response to the treatment. Your doctor may tell you his experience of a successful pregnancy with patients of similar profile to that of yours.
What Other Treatment Can We Plan If This One Turns Out Unsuccessful?
If one of the treatment options fails, your doctor may advise you to go for other options. For example, if you have had an unsuccessful IUI, your doctor may advise you to go for IVF or ICSI or IVF surrogacy depending upon feasibility.
What Will Be Cost For Each Treatment Cycle And What Are The Payment Options?
You need to get an estimate of how much your treatment is going to cost, and are tests, procedures and medications included in the same cost. Also, payment options need to be understood.
Does Insurance Cover Tests And Procedures?
If you have an insurance cover, you need to get it clarified if it includes the cost of treatment, medicines and procedures. Fertility clinics and hospitals generally have financial counsellors who will deal with this.
Are There Any Lifestyle Modifications Which Will Help Increase My Chances Of Pregnancy?
Lifestyle modifications like cutting out on alcohol, smoking, dietary modifications and increasing physical activity impacts overall health. You can also opt for alternative therapies along with conventional fertility treatment to improve your chances of getting pregnant.
Undergoing infertility treatment can be demanding physically, mentally and emotionally. It is therefore extremely important to have a positive outlook towards treatment and pregnancy while going through these procedures.
It is equally important to maintain a generous balance between mental and physical health since it reflects on the health status of the baby as well. You can discuss your anxiety and dilemma with your treating fertility doctor as he will be the best person to guide you throughout the treatment.