Fertility: Dr. Richa Jagtap, Clinical Director & Consultant Reproductive Medicine, Nova IVF Fertility
Fertility as a subject is still considered a major taboo in the Indian society, though it is a common occurrence in this day and age. Poor lifestyle choices, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, vices like alcohol, and smoking may hamper your dream of conceiving. Many couples do not visit the doctor when they are trying to conceive and refrain from seeking treatment for infertility. It is a sensitive and grave problem faced by many couples from urban areas.
In fact, both men and women suffer from infertility, both are equal contributors for their journey of parenthood. It is a no-brainer that the contribution of both the partners is equally important to start a family. Infertility is not just limited to women and cannot be labelled as a woman’s issue.
Factors leading to male infertility:
If a woman is not able to conceive even after constant attempts then the couple opts for a fertility test and the findings from those tests suggests that male infertility is common. The reasons attributed to it can be ejaculation difficulty, inability to maintain an erection, pain and swelling in the testicle area, or even low sperm count.
Furthermore, male infertility also tends to depend on the quantity and quality of the sperm, low sperm production or abnormal sperm function. Many factors affect male fertility like illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, but the most prominent are lifestyle choices and factors such as smoking that impacts the sperm quality, age, obesity, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – STI’s such as gonorrhoea or chlamydia.
Coming to the next aspect of fertility and treatments, many individuals have many misconceptions regarding it. What many couples are unaware of is that the pregnancy that follows post a fertility treatment is as normal as that of a naturally conceived pregnancy. Couples who believe these myths and avoid seeking treatment, should not hesitate in taking a fertility consultant’s opinion before conceiving.
Myth #1: IVF is the last resort
Fact: The couple will be suggested an IVF treatment if the low sperm count cannot be tackled with medication. Even a newly married couple may need IVF when they plan pregnancy. IVF is not a miracle by which fertility can be assured. It is a process wherein the couple scientifically overcomes all the obstacles in order to conceive. A consultation with a fertility expert at the right time will improve the chances of pregnancy.
Myth #2: A woman should take enough time for natural conception before going for a fertility treatment
Fact: This can be done in the case of younger women. If a woman is above 35 then getting pregnant can be a herculean task. So, while deciding on fertility, the age of the woman should be considered as well. If the woman is old, then do not waste any time and plan pregnancy under the correct medical guidance.
Myth #3: Fertility treatment of IVF can lead to multiple pregnancies
Fact: During IVF, eggs and sperms are fertilised in the laboratory by embryologists to produce embryos to be implanted in the woman’s womb. A couple with the help of a doctor decides how many embryos they wish to transfer and successfully plan for a single pregnancy. Do not transfer more than one or two embryos at a time. Doing so can help you avoid further complications with the potential pregnancy.
Myth #4: Abnormal babies are born due to pregnancy via IVF
Fact: The risk of abnormality in children is linked with the mother’s age at the time she conceives and not with the type of treatment she takes to become pregnant. In IVF, the best sperms and eggs are selected and fertilised, resulting in embryos. Selecting a healthy embryo to transfer lowers the chances of abnormalities in babies.
Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing (PGT) can be useful in testing embryos created through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and then transferring healthy embryos. Hence, a pregnancy will be healthy and normal as a natural pregnancy, if carried out in a proper way.
Myth #5: Visiting a fertility expert is the last option
Fact: Every couple has a fertility graph. It is essential to plan pregnancy at the right time. One’s fertility tends to depend on the egg quality, sperm quality, uterine polyps, and other factors. Taking an Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test can help to determine the egg reserve and you will know the chances of conceiving.
If a couple is planning for a baby or not to have a baby and delay the process, they should definitely speak to a fertility expert. A couple will be able to get to know and understand if they can delay pregnancy, plan now, or how and when they should plan a pregnancy. Try to meet a fertility consultation after marriage.
How to tackle the problem of infertility with ART treatments: Reach out to an experienced fertility expert in order to fulfil your dream of parenthood. One should opt for Assisted Reproductive Technology treatments only after consulting a fertility specialist. Assisted Reproduction does not only means IVF. It has several treatment options such as Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), fertility preservation, etc. to help both men and women, overcome any challenges they face while planning parenthood.