IVF Infertility Treatment
Infertility refers to the inability of conceiving and reproducing by natural means. In broader terms, it refers to the biological inability of an individual to contribute to conception. It is not considered as the natural state of a healthy habit. Infertility can be caused in both males as well as females. In males, this usually occurs due to unhealthy sperm and in females it is mainly due to ovulation problems. Though, there are different causes of infertility in men and women.
Causes of infertility in women are –
1. Problems related to ovulation are the most common reasons for infertility in women. These disorders are due to –
a. Woman’s ovaries stop working before she turns 40 years old.
b. PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder in which cysts appear on the outer edges of the enlarged ovaries.
c. In case of poor egg quality, a woman cannot sustain a pregnancy.
2. Problems in the uterus or the fallopian tubes come in the way of conceiving naturally. Uterus is the place where the fertilized egg grows.
3. Some drugs such as anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin or ibuprofen etc. affect the fertility of a woman.
4. If a woman has undergone radiotherapy near the reproductive organs, then there is risk of fertility problems.
Causes of infertility in men are –
1. 1. Low sperm count is the main reason for infertility in men.
2. In some cases, the shape of sperm is abnormal making it more difficult to move and fertilize the egg.
3. Low sperm mobility is the condition in which sperm is not able to swim properly.
4. Testicular infection is an important reason.
5. Overheating the testicles due to frequent saunas, hot tubs or working in extremely hot environment will lead to abnormal semen.
6. Diseases such as anemia, Cushing’s syndrome, diabetes, Thyroid diseases etc. are linked to lower fertility.
To get rid of infertility, there are different surgical options. Some of them are given below –
1. MESA – Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA) is a technique in which sperm-containing fluid from optimal areas of the epididymis are retrieved. In this procedure, a needle is inserted into the epididymis to locate and aspirate an area of sperm.
2. IVF – In Vitro Fertlization is an assistive reproductive technology used for the fertilization of egg. In this process, eggs are taken out of the ovaries and combined with the sperm. The eggs are obtained with the help of a hollow needle. Then, a sample of sperm is taken and insemination is done in a laboratory dish. After the eggs are fertilized, they are transferred into the woman’s uterus after three to five days of fertilization. A catheter is used for transferring the embryos.
3. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – It is an artificial insemination process in which sperm is placed inside the uterus when she is ovulating. It is a less invasive and expensive option. The main aim of this procedure is to increase the number of sperms that reach the fallopian tubes and increase the chance of fertilization. In this procedure, a thin flexible tube known as catheter is passed into vagina and then into the uterus.
4. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) – ICSI is a fertilization procedure in which a single sperm is directly injected into the cytoplasm of an egg. This technique is used when IVF fails to provide relief. In this procedure, a pipette is used to hold the egg. Then, a single sperm is immobilized and carefully picked with the help of a very delicate hollow needle and the needle is inserted into the cytoplasm where the sperm is injected.
5. Laparoscopy – it is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which inside of the abdomen is seen. This procedure allows the doctor to see with the help of small fiber optic telescope inserted through an incision near the navel. With the help of this telescope, adhesions in the pelvic cavity are removed. This procedure also helps in removal of ovarian cysts or repairing a fluid filled hydrosalpinx.
6. Hysteroscopy – it is the inspection of the uterine cavity by endoscopy with access through the cervix. A hysteroscope is an endoscope that carries optical and channel of fibers. It is a simple procedure in which local anesthesia is used. A fiber optic telescope is inserted into the uterus through the cervix. The telescope then seeks out and removes adhesions in the uterus.
7. Testicular biopsy – it is a test to remove a small sample of tissue from one or both testicles. In this process, you will be asked to lie on your back and the skin over the testicles will be cleaned with a sterile solution. A small cut is made through the skin of the scrotum and a tiny piece of testicular tissue is removed. This tissue is then examined and later used for fertility procedures.
Females of age 18-55 years will be evaluated.
Can I get pregnant if I am on menopause? – If you are menopausal, then you will need egg donation.
In case of intra- uterine insemination, the process takes about two weeks. In Vitro Fertilization takes a bit longer, anywhere from 4-6 weeks.
Each scenario must be individualized. In general, anywhere from 1-5 embryos at one time.