For the bundle of joy

For the bundle of joy

For the bundle of joy

For a long time,the idea of using any method apart from natural means to get pregnant was considered socially unacceptable. Thankfully, now more and more couples, traditional and modern, are willing to consider fertility interventions to achieve their objective of becoming parents.

The main thing to note here is that the time to get pregnant varies from couple to couple. But if after trying for a year, a couple does not succeed, it is advisable to consult a specialist and check on what could be wrong and the appropriate treatment options. Sometimes, the causFor a long time,the idea of using any method apart from natural means to get pregnant was considered socially unacceptable. Thankfully, now more and more couples, traditional and modern, are willing to consider fertility interventions to achieve their objective of becoming parents. e could be as simple as too much stress and trying too hard, while other times, it could also be a fundamental fertility problem.

What can you do?
The treatment options a doctor recommends for infertility will depend on its underlying cause: whether it is male factor or female factor infertility; presence of any disease or condition; how long the woman has used hormonal contraception; and whether any fertility treatment was taken previously. Having diagnosed the underlying cause, the doctor will share the options available with the couple. Some of these include: Use of fertility drugs for women who do not ovulate regularly, or for men who have poor sperm count and quality.

Artificial insemination (also known as Intrauterine insemination or IUI) in which sperm is inserted directly into the uterus.

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), which involves retrieving an egg from the mother’s ovary and sperm from the father to fertilise the egg in the laboratory, allowing the embryo formation to start and then implant the embryo into the mother’s womb.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), which is similar to conventional IVF and especially suitable for male infertility cases. In IVF, the egg and sperm are put together in a dish and the sperm fertilises the egg. This requires a large number of sperms. ICSI is used in couples, where the availability of sperm is limited. In ICSI, a single sperm is
injected directly into an egg.

After a careful examination and assessment of the case, the doctor recommends the option most likely to succeed. If this fails to give the required results, the next best method is chosen. In some cases, it might be effective to put the patient on a combination of two methods. Most patients need to undergo at least three to four cycles of treatment or use a combination of treatments to conceive. If all fertility options fail, it is possible that the inherent problems require a totally different route to help the couple fulfill their dream of becoming parents. For example, if the cause of infertility is malfunctioning ovaries or production of low quality ova, then donor eggs can be used.

This applies to poor quality sperm as well. Sperm donation is an acceptable method for meeting this requirement.

Donated eggs and sperm are used for the IVF procedure and the embryo is then planted in the mother’s womb. In cases where a woman has uterine problems (undergone hysterectomy or if her uterus is incapable of carrying the foetus to full term), surrogacy is a viable route to take. Surrogacy means another woman with a healthy uterus is implanted with the embryo developed through IVF and carries the infant to full term.

How long should you wait?
Some couples wait for a long time before they ask for help either because of traditional beliefs and family pressure, or because they do not have information about available options. If you have waited long to be parents and want to consider fertility treatment, consult your doctor, get checked, learn more and make an informed decision. Today, India has the best of medical experts and world-class treatment facilities to provide effective fertility solutions.

(The author is IVF specialist, Cloudnine Hospital, Chennai)

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