Infertility according to WHO is “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.” According to Dr Neeta Singh, Professor at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, AIIMS, New Delhi, infertility is rising at an alarming rate and at present the country has about 23 million couples who are barren and require treatment.
Dr Singh says, that rooting out unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking or tobacco consumption is very helpful in preventing infertility. Also, maintaining a healthy body weight or the correct BMI is essential to become a parent of a healthy baby. She also suggests that women consider having a baby at a younger age as advanced maternal age has an adverse effect on egg function. As aging occurs, egg quality and quantity also decrease.
She added that now men are equally contributing towards infertility. Earlier, male contribution towards infertility was about 20% but now the percentage has surged to as much as 50% and they’re as much responsible for it as their female counterparts. However, she says that most of male infertility is treatable and if a man has a low sperm count or low motility, it is possible to create an embryo using a technology called intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Hence, there is no case for such couples to be disappointed.
“Infertility is not incurable. There’s treatment possible for all the causes of infertility as of now”, says Dr Singh. IVF is a process whereby eggs are collected and then fertilized by sperm outside the body, in an embryology laboratory. It is a taxing procedure and requires a lot of patience on part of both, the physician and the patient. She suggests that one should select their physician and the IVF centre wisely, based on their expertise and stick with them rather than running from one doctor to another.
Multiple cycles of IVF are not advisable as increasing the number of attempts isn’t going to yield successful outcomes. Dr Singh says that after 3-4 good cycles of IVF, if one’s not getting pregnant, they should consider adoption. She says that one should at all cost refrain from going to a sexologist as it is a facade. Consult a qualified andrologist, urologist or a gynaecologist who will help you in treating infertility.