Infertility Awareness

Below enlisted are some important and frequently asked questions about infertility.

Read them to know more!

  1. What is infertility?

Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.

Fertility issues can happen in both male and female, and can be due various causes.

  1. What are the causes of infertility?

Infertility can be caused due to:

In women:

  1. No ovulation- no release of eggs from the ovaries

  2. Blocked fallopian tubes- restricts entry of sperm

  3. Poor egg quality

  4. Endometriosis- tissue that should be present inside the uterus is found outside

  5. Uterine fibroids

  6. Untreated gonorrhoea or chlamydia

In men:

  1. Low sperm count

  2. Untreated gonorrhoea or chlamydia

  3. Poor sperm motility

  4. Absence of sperm in semen

  5. Abnormality in sperm formation

  6. Overexposure to alcohol, tobacco, and certain medications

  7. What are the risk factors of infertility?

Factors that can contribute to infertility include:

  1. Age- with increase in age there is decline in fertility. In women it is around mid-30s, while for men it is over the age of 40.

  2. Use of alcohol and smoking tobacco

  3. Being overweight or underweight

  4. Lack of exercise

  5. Stress

  6. What are the signs and symptoms of infertility in women?

Signs or symptoms include:

  1. Abnormal, irregular or painful periods

  2. Dark or pale menstrual blood

  3. Unexplained weight gain

  4. Facial hair

  5. Pain during sex

  6. Nipple discharge

  7. Chronic pelvic pain

  8. Severe acne

  9. What are the signs and symptoms of infertility in men?

Signs and symptoms include:

  1. Changes in hair growth

  2. Problems with erections and ejaculation

  3. Changes in sexual desire

  4. Lump, swelling and pain in testicles

  5. What should be done to prevent infertility?

Take the following preventive measures:

  1. Avoid alcohol consumption, drug and tobacco use

  2. Limit medications that can affect infertility

  3. Exercise regularly

  4. Avoid overweight or underweight

  5. Manage stress

  6. What are the tests performed to diagnose infertility in women?

  7. Ovulation test- a blood test that measures hormone levels to check if a woman is ovulating

  8. Ovarian reserve testing- a test that determines the quality and quantity of eggs

  9. Hysterosalpingography- evaluates the condition and checks for blockages in the uterus and fallopian tubes.

  10. Imaging tests

  11. Other hormone tests- checks the level of ovulatory hormones and pituitary hormones, which controls the process of reproduction

Depending on the condition certain other tests like laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, and genetic testing can also be done.

  1. What tests are performed to detect infertility in men?

  2. Semen analysis- to detect sperm count

  3. Genetic testing- to identify if there is any genetic defect that is causing infertility

  4. Imaging tests

  5. Hormone testing- to determine levels of testosterone and other male hormones

  6. Testicular biopsy- to detect abnormalities causing infertility

  7. When should one consult a doctor for infertility testing?

Visit your doctor if:

  1. You are unable to conceive after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse

  2. You or your partner have a history of ectopic pregnancy (embryo attaches outside the uterus), repeated miscarriages, injury or trauma to the testes and scrotum, cystic fibrosis, and thyroid problem.

  3. What are the treatment options for infertility in both male and female?

Infertility can be treated with the following methods:

In Males:

  1. Lifestyle modifications

  2. Medications- to improve the sperm count and increase chances of a successful pregnancy

  3. Sperm retrieval- in patients with low sperm count or absence of sperm

  4. Surgery- to reverse sperm blockage

In Females:

  1. Regulate ovulation with fertility drugs

  2. Surgery- restores fertility

  3. Intrauterine insemination- healthy sperms are placed directly to the uterus

  4. Assisted reproductive technology- In vitro fertilization (IVF), assisted hatching, donor eggs or sperms, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), and gestational carrier

  5. What are the complications of infertility treatment?

Complications of treatments can be:

  1. Infection or bleeding

  2. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)- causing swollen and painful ovaries

  3. Multiple pregnancy

  4. What should be done to cope with the issue of infertility?

  5. Be prepared- there could be uncertainties in the treatment

  6. Seek support of your friends and family

  7. Consider the available alternative treatment options

  8. Manage your emotional stress- during treatment and also after knowing the effects of outcome

  9. Exercise and have a healthy diet

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