About 50 million couples all over the world are having infertility problems. Infertility issues are applicable to both men and women and could be caused by many reasons.
Couples who are having a hard time having a baby usually resort to all sorts of medications and assistive reproductive techniques or technologies (ART).
There are different treatments and help that a person with reproductive problems could get. Here, we will discuss more about infertility and the common ARTs that could help.
The most common and accurate way to diagnose an infertility problem is not getting pregnant. However, this will only be considered as an infertility problem if a person has been trying to get pregnant for at least a year.
In some cases, women who are also having a hard time to stay pregnant could also be caused by infertility. For men, the most common reason of being infertile is low sperm count.
For both men and women, there are multiple reasons why they are diagnosed as infertile. For men, here are the possible causes of low sperm count:
- Heavy drinking
- Kidney diseases
- Radiation exposure
For women, here are the most common causes of infertility:
- Body Weight
- Fallopian Tube Blockage
- Pelvic Adhesions
It is important to note that some men may have genetically acquired infertility problems. When talking to an expert or the doctor, it’s good to mention infertility in the family if there’s any.
How to Avoid Infertility Problems
Some problems regarding fertility do not require any treatments. Here are a few things that both men and women can do to avoid having fertility problems:
- Do not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke
- Lessen alcohol intake
- Lessen caffeine intake
- Do not do drugs
- Avoid exposure to toxins and radiation
- Eat healthy
It is also common for men to be advised to avoid places or areas with high temperature, and this includes taking hot baths and showers. Studies have shown that heat can affect sperm production.
More and more treatments are made available for couples to successfully have a baby. Couples would seek help from healthcare platforms. Elawoman is considered as one of the largest fertility and healthcare platforms that could help you find fertility and maternity healthcare platforms that could help you find the best treatment.
Speaking of treatments, the following are the most common treatments and how they are done.
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
The in vitro fertilization is the process of fertilizing an egg and a sperm outside the human body. Different fertility centres have their own ways of performing this process, and it mainly depends on why the couple can’t conceive a baby.
When IVF is performed, the female will have to take fertility medicines. Normally, a female only produces one egg a month. If a female will have to undergo this process, it is required for her to produce healthy and multiple eggs. This can be achieved through medication.
Once the expert has confirmed that the female has healthy and multiple egg cells, the eggs will be harvested and stored until the sperm specimen is ready.
Both egg and sperm will be placed in a test tube or lab plate to promote fertilization. If the egg is successfully fertilized, the specimen will now be called an embryo. Fertility centers normally fertilize multiple eggs to make sure that they have a reserve if the first round of fertilization isn’t successful.
Sometimes, it takes a few days before the embryo is ready to be injected to the woman’s uterus. Experts prefer to wait to make sure that the embryo will presume growth. Experts usually inject at least three embryos for a higher percentage of getting pregnant. It is why multiples pregnancy can easily take place with this procedure.
After injecting the embryos, the woman will have to wait at least two weeks to check if the pregnancy test turns out positive. The whole procedure doesn’t require surgery and only needs needles to harvest and inject the specimen to the female’s body.
The cost of this procedure, unfortunately, makes this option less accessible to parents with low income as this could be very pricey and may require multiple attempts.
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) of Artificial Insemination
This is a treatment that is less complicated and expensive than the IVF. This is done if the female is capable of staying pregnant and has healthy and normal fallopian tubes.
This procedure is done through the use of a catheter that will deliver the male’s sperm directly to the female’s uterus. Because the sperm will be directly injected to the female’s uterus, this increases the chance of increasing the live sperms that could reach the female’s egg.
IUI can only take a few minutes and is an out-patient procedure. Even if this is still considered as an effective treatment, its success rate is still not comparable to IVF’s success rate. Most of the time, it takes multiple IUI sessions before fertilization becomes successful.
- Gestational Surrogacy
Surrogacy may not really be considered as a treatment. It’s more of an option for the couples to take if most fertility treatments are already exhausted.
This is the option to go if a female can produce healthy eggs but is unable to stay pregnant. In some cases, this also becomes an option if the female can’t produce healthy eggs and can’t be pregnant.
Surrogacy is letting another female carry the pregnancy with the parents’ egg and sperm. This means that the baby will not carry the genetics of the surrogacy. Commonly, this is termed as borrowing or renting out another female’s womb.
Surrogacy is not yet widely accepted by most all over the world. In fact, in some countries, this is still illegal or made illegal. A lot of couples usually have to travel to be able to get a baby with this process.
Some countries that allow gestational surrogacy only allows it if the couple is already a few years married and has proof of infertility. Some countries only allow altruistic surrogacy, and this means that only close relatives of the couple can be the surrogate.
Countries like Russia, however, made commercial and altruistic legal. Foreign and local parents have the same rights when it comes to surrogacy in this country.