Fertility is a topic that is close to the hearts of many couples who are trying to start a family. Unfortunately, the road to parenthood is not always smooth, and many couples face challenges along the way. This can lead to a lot of confusion, frustration, and questions.
In this blog, we will try to address some of the most frequently asked questions on fertility, to help couples better understand the process of conception and the steps they can take to improve their chances of success. Whether you are just starting your journey or you have been trying for a while, this guide is for you.
So, let’s dive in and explore the world of fertility!
There is no wrong or the right amount of time to wait before seeing your doctor, but a lot will depend on your age and personal circumstances. Suppose you are a couple under 30 years of age and have no reason to suspect problems (like previous surgery or irregular periods). In that case, it is reasonable to try for a couple of years before seeking help. Women over 30 have been trying for 1 year, and after 35 years, if she is trying for more than 6 months without a result would be advised to seek help earlier.
- Which Partner is More Likely to be Infertile?
Approximately 40% of infertility cases are attributable to male factors, and 40% affect females. In about 10% of cases, Infertility is caused by a combination of factors in both partners. Approximately
10% of couples are diagnosed with “unexplained infertility,” in which no specific cause can be identified.
- I am 27 years, married for 3 years. I am trying for the last one and a half years. However, not getting pregnant. What could be possible causes?
For a couple to conceive, four parts of the reproductive system must be working adequately:
1) A woman’s ovaries must be regularly producing and releasing good-quality eggs.
2) Healthy sperms must be produced in high enough numbers and delivered during sexual intercourse.
3) The anatomy of the fallopian tubes needs to be intact. They need to be open and should be in contact with the ovary.
4) The lining of the uterus must be capable of having the embryo implant and of sustaining the pregnancy.
Many types of problems – including hormone abnormalities leading to anovulation or reduced egg reserve, reduced quantity or quality of sperms blocked fallopian tubes due to infection or scar tissue or thin
endometrial lining of the uterus can lead to Infertility.
- I am 27 years, married for 4 years. My menstrual cycle is irregular and delayed. Could the length of my cycle affect my fertility?
Those who are having regular periods ovulate between 12 to 16 days of a period. Prediction of ovulation is more straightforward in such cases and so conceiving too. Having irregular periods, no periods, or abnormal bleeding often indicates that you are not ovulating regularly, a condition known clinically as anovulation. Irregular or abnormal ovulation accounts for 30% to 40% of all cases of Infertility.
If your cycle is irregular, making it harder for you to know when you ovulate. This mainly happens when you are suffering from a hormonal problem- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome(PCOS). Many women with PCOs are obese and can have excessive male pattern hair growth or acne.
Although anovulation can usually be treated with fertility ovulation drugs, it is essential to be evaluated for other conditions that could interfere with ovulation, such as thyroid conditions or abnormalities of the adrenal or pituitary glands, and premature ovarian failure.
- I am 39 years, working as CEO in a multinational company. I got married 2 years ago and trying for a baby since then, but have not conceived. Does age affect fertility?
In general, women’s fertility begins to decline gradually after age 30, with a steep drop between 35 and 45. This means that, on average, it takes longer for an older woman to conceive, and older women are
more likely to be diagnosed with Infertility. Pregnancies in older women are also more likely to miscarry due to more chromosomal abnormalities in their eggs than younger women.
The main reason is a gradual reduction in the number and quality of eggs produced as a woman enters her late thirties. As she nears menopause, egg production is drastically reduced, making natural conception impossible in most cases.
Because of the increased possibility of fertility problems, women over the age of 35 should consult a fertility specialist if they attempt to conceive for six months without success. So, I advise you to consult a fertility expert. If ovarian sonography of your 2 nd day of the period and hormonal reports suggest poor ovarian reserve, you can start advanced fertility treatment, ie. IVF as soon as possible.
- How alcohol and smoking can affect fertility?
Cigarettes and alcohol can all inhibit fertility for both females and males for different reasons, making the road to conception a bit more complicated. Everything in moderation is OK. Light, social drinking is usually fine, but individuals who consume two or more alcoholic drinks a day see drops in their fertility. Drinking alcohol can lower testosterone levels, cause erectile dysfunction, and decrease sperm production in the male.
Like alcohol, smoking in moderation -a cigarette probably will not make your fertility reduced. However, several cigarettes per day or passive smoking can create ovulation problems in female or may lead to
abnormal semen parameters and sperm DNA in male.
- What is TEST-TUBE BABY treatment?
It is a procedure of assisted Reproductive Technique (ART). “Test Tube Baby” in short can be described as the Fertilization of an egg with sperm outside the body and then implantation of a fertilized egg (embryo) into the uterus of an infertile female for further growth of the baby and birth process. IVF’s primary process was carried out outside a human body in a “test-tube” in the initial years of its invention. Hence it is popularly known as “Test Tube Baby.” This procedure is now a day, known as In-Vitro(outside the body) Fertilization (IVF).
- What is the difference between IUI and IVF?
IUI and IVF (Test-tube baby treatment) are different procedures.
• IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination): In this process, an egg is not fertilized outside the human body, but after processing the semen sample in an andrology laboratory, washed semen sample is directly inseminated inside the female uterus using a thin tube and Fertilization of egg and sperm is allowed to occur naturally inside the fallopian tube of the female partner.
• IVF (In Vitro Fertilization): Here, female eggs are taken outside the human body. After fertilizing them with male sperms in an embryology laboratory in incubators, the embryos are cultured for 3-5 days. Then 2-3 healthy embryos are transferred inside the female uterus for further growth.
- What are the reasons to undergo IVF?
• Very low sperm count in the semen
• Problems with egg production like severe PCOS or poor egg reserve at young age or planning for a baby at a late age
• Blocked fallopian tubes
• Severe endometriosis(cells those usually grow inside the uterus as a uterine lining (Endometrium) are found outside of the uterus) and chocolate cysts
• Unexplained infertility
• If either of the partners has undergone birth control (family planning) surgery
• Repeated miscarriages
• To avoid inherited genetic disorder to your baby
- I am 30 years old, having both fallopian tubes blocked. Though I am advised to undergo IVF treatment, I am scared to undergo it as I believe it is done using donor eggs or sperms.
On the contrary, even in severe male Infertility, where sperm count is as low as 1 million/ml or even zero, we have the latest ICSI treatment. In this treatment, with the help of a most powerful microscope, the embryologist can directly inject a single sperm into an egg to make an embryo. Even advanced sperm retrieval technologies of extracting sperms directly from testes(PESA and TESE) allows us to use the husband’s sperms with inferior semen quality. In the past, in this type of patient, we had to use donor sperms. Now they can become the father of their
In all-female infertile patients, we can predict ovarian reserve. Suppose the declining ovarian reserve is detected timely in young patients. In that case, she can be advised to undergo an IVF cycle with her eggs as
early as possible, before her ovaries stop making eggs. Thus, she will get a baby from her eggs. Even in older women, if her ovarian reserve tests are normal, she can try IVF treatment with her eggs.