Statistics have revealed that fertility is declining around the world. People are struggling with trying to conceive and turning to doctors for help. Specialised fertility clinics have sprung up all over to cater to this growing need. Today it comes as no surprise when a couple discovers that they are not able to have a child. It is not uncommon for young couples to seek medical intervention to start a family. One in every 6 couples has some kind of fertility issue which hampers their ability to get pregnant.
How do you know if you are at risk for fertility problems? No one grows up, wondering if they are fertile or not. You never doubt your fertility. It is when you want to get pregnant and find out that things are not going exactly the way intended, that infertility becomes a concern.
Many people do not even realise they are infertile until they start trying for a baby. This is when the starling reality hits. Something that you had never thought of earlier or even imagined in your wildest imagination. Unfortunately, leaving aside pessimists, we all expect the thing to go well for us and normal life as per schedule. So where does infertility fit in?
What is infertility? When a person is not able to conceive and have a baby due to some problem, it is clinically termed as infertility. Male infertility is linked to shortcomings in the sperm while female infertility could pertain to a number of different factors related to the different female reproductive organs and their functioning.
The rate of infertility among women is about 18%. So there is no real reason to start getting worried about your fertility. To some women, worry comes naturally while others prefer to have their facts in place before they give a problem, some thought. Pointless worry doesn’t profit you anything, so why waste your time and emotional energy.
When you are planning a pregnancy, the first step is tracking your cycle. Learn how to calculate your ovulation date. Generally, a woman ovulates around mid-cycle. This could be on the 14th day of her cycle or somewhere around that time. The exact date may vary from person to person. Ovulation is the day the ovaries release the mature oocyte (female egg) into the fallopian tubes for fertilisation. The oocyte will remain there for about 12 to 24 hours, and this is called the fertility window. If sperm miss this, then you have to wait for the next fertility cycle to get pregnant.
Ensure you have sex at least on three of the 5 days leading up to your ovulation. Ensure you have regular sex at least 2 or 3 times a week throughout the month. This keeps the sperm healthy and active.
If you have been trying to conceive for more than a year with the required parameters and have been unsuccessful, then you should consider getting a fertility test. There is a high probability that there is nothing wrong with you. Maybe the sperm didn’t find the egg or your timing was off and the sperm and egg were never present at the same time in the fallopian tube. There are all kinds of possibilities, so keep trying even when you are mid-cycle, and ovulation is a couple of weeks off.
There are no particular symptoms of infertility. The only way to find out that you are infertile is when you are not able to conceive after trying for several months. This is when you undergo fertility tests to determine what is wrong and why you are not able to conceive. Infertility is not a disease; rather, it is a state of the body which can go on functioning as it is. It does not cause your daily life too much inconvenience; it just prevents you from having children.
Some women may have a forewarning that something is wrong with their reproductive system. The regularity of your periods is a very noticeable way to discover that something is not quite right with your reproductive system. Delayed periods, very heavy periods or scanty periods are all warning signs that things are not as they should be. Women should look out for:
Fertility in the human body is controlled by the hormone. Both male and female reproduction is dependent on the proper release and regulation of hormones in the body. Any irregularities in the number of hormones produced by the body could lead to a malfunction of the reproductive organs. The ovaries need the FSH to stimulate them to mature an egg, which in turn leads to the menstrual cycle.
There are some hormonal imbalances which can lead to infertility. A hormonal change is usually detectable with the following symptoms and changes in the female body:
With any of these symptoms, women should visit a doctor immediately. These are possible symptoms of infertility, and if detected in time can be prevented from manifesting any further though these symptoms may seem like common occurrences, insignificant and non-harmful they should be attended to immediately as they are tell-tale signs of greater problems.
There are many factors that put you at risk for infertility, and most people are not even aware of them. You need to not only be aware of these but also tell your doctor about them. Some of these are:
When your doctor is updated with this information, it makes your fertility treatment much easier. This becomes the background for your medical case history.
Nidhi and Anurag visited Medicover when they found that they were not able to conceive after 3 years of marriage. Nidhi had conventional surgery for gallbladder at a clinic in a small town where they did not have a laparoscopic facility. Anurag had undergone surgery for appendix with other complication. Based on their medical history, their cause of infertility could easily be diagnosed, and they were recommended the required test to check the doctor’s suspicions. In both cases, they had suffered damage to their tubes, which were hindering their ability to get pregnant. Through the Semen Analysis Test, it was found that there was some damage to the tubes, and his sperm flow was restricted. The couple had IVF treatment and are now parents of a healthy baby.
By presenting your medical history with the medical report if you have any, to the fertility consultant, it becomes much easier to diagnose where the problem may be.
Till date, no specific cause of infertility has been identified, but researchers and scientists have identified a number of possible things which could lead to infertility. Some aspects that put you at higher risk for infertility are:
Age: As women get older, their fertility diminishes. The number of eggs in your ovaries reduces, and the quality of eggs deteriorates too. To have a healthy pregnancy, a woman should get pregnant before she is 35. By the age of 40, a woman has a reduced likelihood of getting pregnant. When it comes to fertility, the age of a woman is her greatest enemy.
Weight: Obesity is directly linked to infertility. The excess fat in your body leads to the sluggish activity of all your organs, including your reproductive organs. Being underweight can be as bad for fertility as being overweight. Women who are underweight are usually unhealthy and have a problem with their periods and ovulation. Exercise is important, but too much of it can also be bad for you. Dieting is a bad idea, especially if you want to get pregnant.
Smoking: Whether its tobacco or marijuana it affects your fertility. Women who smoke have a higher risk for miscarriages. Smoking also leads to premature menopause besides affecting the quality of your eggs.
Alcohol: Regular alcohol consumption has been known lower your probability of getting pregnant. Drinking any alcohol when you are pregnant can cause birth defects. Staying away from alcohol is probably better for you if you want to get pregnant.
Stress: Today, life has become stressful with all the pressure that bombards us from every side. Stress affects the body in negative ways that even researchers are not able to fully comprehend. Stress interferes with the normal functioning of our body. This includes adversely affecting a woman’s ability to get pregnant as well.
Depression: It is not very clear how it happens, but poor mental health affects physical health as well. Endorphins that boost the mood and general health in the body are not being produced, and instead, depression leads to the formation of harmful carcinogens. Depression, in particular, has a very negative effect on the hormones and their proper release. An irregularity in the hormone release in the body is a sure thing that leads to infertility.
STD: Sexually transmitted diseases especially chlamydia and gonorrhoea, can are dangerous. These can lead to a pelvic inflammatory disease which damages the fallopian tubes and leads to infertility. It also leads to infertility in men by causing blockages in the tubes that transport the sperm from the epididymis. When having unprotected sex with multiple partners, the use of a condom can protect you from possible infections that cause long term damage.
Environmental factors: Living or working in an environment that is polluted or has a high concentration of toxic gases can have a negative effect on not only your fertility but on your overall general health as well. For good fertility, it is important to remain in a clean and healthy environment.
Some fertility problems are more common than others.
There are many factors that could result in infertility among women. Some of these conditions of infertility can either be rectified with the help of medication or surgery. However, in most cases, infertility treatment is the only solution.
Many women have advised a series of medical test to check for different factors of infertility. A blood test is routine and can help to determine the hormone levels as well as the presence of any infections such as HIV or hepatitis. Some of the tests that the doctor may prescribe are:
Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): Fallopian tube obstruction is a very common cause for infertility. To check the state of the fallopian tubes, the doctor conducts the HSG test. In this test, a coloured dye is injected into the cervix. This travels through the uterus into the fallopian tubes. A series of x-rays are taken to view the areas filled with the dye. Any blockage in the fallopian tubes will show up in the x-ray. The blockage or obstruction is detected by studying the movement of the dye in the fallopian tubes.
Pelvic examination: The doctors will do a physical examination of your vaginal cavity. During this examination, they will look for signs of genital infections like chlamydia, gonorrhoea and others that could contribute to infertility.
Transvaginal ultrasound: A procedure to check the status of the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the uterus to figure out if they are working correctly. This test also helps to check if the follicles are responding normally. The transvaginal ultrasound is usually performed around 15 days prior to the next menstrual cycle.
Hysteroscopy: It is performed by inserting a probe inside the uterus through the vagina to get an internal view of the uterus and fallopian tubes. It also helps to check the quality of the uterus lining and if the patient has endometriosis.
Laparoscopy: The laparoscopy procedure is performed to get a clearer view of the reproductive organs. This procedure helps to determine if there are any adhesions or scarring of the fallopian tubes and to check for endometrioses. This test can also be used to check for the presence of cysts in the ovaries. It is a minor surgical procedure and conducted under anaesthesia.
Medicover Fertility is one of the most reputed fertility clinics in India. It is part of a European health care group and specialises in advanced fertility treatment procedures. Medicover Fertility provides an international standard of fertility treatment. It has the latest technology infrastructure and setup. Currently, Medicover has 13 fertility clinics in India and is growing at a rapid pace.
Medicover Fertility boasts of a very high IVF success rate globally, and this is attributed to their highly qualified team of specialist as well as the use of the latest procedures and facilities.
If your periods have always had this cycle, there is a probability that it is normal and you are fine. If this is a recent occurrence, then it is better to check with a gynaecologist.
Sudden weight gain is a symptom that something is wrong and you should have yourself checked so that the problem can be treated in the initial stages itself.
Scanty periods are a sign that there is some problem with your fertility cycle. Most probably, you are not ovulating.