Jun 20, 2020
Infertility by definition is the inability of a couple to conceive after 1 year of unprotected sexual intercourse. With the advent of science and research in this particular field, many couples who believe they have infertility have been regrouped as being sub-fertile where there is only a delay in conceiving. Unlike any other medical condition, the diagnosis of subfertility is not made in a day.
The sub-fertile couple
For the couple, it gradually sinks in when they realize that they have not been able to bear a child one month after the other. A negative urine pregnancy test where you are hoping for that second line to appear, even faintly! Or the start of your periods- A sign that you are not pregnant….AGAIN…. is a feeling that one cannot put in words.
However, like any other long-standing problem, the stages are probably the same. The realisation of the problem, denial- Trying for a few more months may help, re-realization! And finally gradual acceptance of the issue.
Then comes the next step- The decision to meet a doctor for an opinion. Several rounds of discussion, frustration, heated rounds of arguments and depression may follow. Hesitation to visit a clinic, social stigma associated with the problem, worries about the expenditures involved in the treatment process may lead to further delay in addressing the problem.
I feel the society needs a change in the mental setup for this issue. Of course, there have been couples who are showing up earlier, seeking treatment for want of a baby, but the above said hurdles still exist in all strata of the community. For the mental setup to change and more and more people to come forward for treatment the utmost important factor is awareness on the issue.
The following section is a set of FAQ’s linked with infertility.
Q. Who should visit an infertility specialist?
A. A couple staying together and having unprotected intercourse with the inability of having conceived for 1 year.
Q. Should you consider visiting a specialist earlier than 1 year?
A. Yes, if the age of the female partner is ≥ 35years, if the couple suspects any underlying cause for infertility, it is advisable to get evaluated even 6 months after unprotected intercourse.
Q. What are the symptoms/pointers towards a potential underlying cause for infertility?
A. Female partner experiencing irregular, delayed periods/heavy bleeding/excessive pain during periods/during sexual intercourse.
Male partner with difficulty in maintaining an erection/other coital difficulties.
Q. What to expect when visiting a fertility clinic?
A. Your preliminary visit will comprise a detailed history about your menstrual cycles/previous pregnancy details/past treatment history followed by initial hormonal evaluation, ultrasound and semen analysis.
You will be explained in detail about the factors attributing to infertility for you as a couple and the possible treatment options.
For a better understanding, one must be aware of the natural process of conception/ becoming pregnant.
In a regularly menstruating woman, an egg is released between day 12 to day 14 of the menses cycle, which is carried by the fallopian tube. Following sexual intercourse after millions of sperms are released, the sperm must travel till the fallopian tube and fertilize the egg (in the fallopian tube). After fertilization, the embryo reaches the uterus 4 days later to attach to the inner uterine lining, following which the growth of the embryo occurs.
Depending on the risk factors/ pointers towards a problem, necessary investigations may needed to be carried out and treatment will be planned accordingly.
Q: What can you do to contribute to better results in your treatment?
A: Lifestyle modifications such as maintaining a normal BMI, avoiding weight gain (both male and female partner), curtailing habits such as smoking/ consumption of alcohol/ junk foods will help a long way.
The process of evaluation and treatment for a couple with a fertility issue is a gradual one. Many investigations and treatments will be planned as per your menstrual cycles, few treatment results may need a follow up for even 3 to 6 months depending on the factors.
Hence it requires patience, persistence and most of all a positive attitude towards your goals.
Come start this journey with us and we assure to guide you and partner in your journey towards parenthood. Meeting a fertility specialist is one of the several important steps you have to take to begin this journey so why postpone it for tomorrow!