Gifting you the joy of parenthood
Are you ready to sacrifice months of sleep? Cannot wait to listen to incessant crying? Excited about the thousand diaper changes?
Congrats! You’re ready to be parent!
To have a child of your own is a huge blessing. The little bundle of joy brings a lot of happiness for everyone in the family. But alas, it is not so easy for some people. When a couple decides to have a child, the first step is to stop using all sorts of protection and contraception pills. If a couple cannot conceive even after one year of having regular intercourse, medically it is termed as infertility. In some cases, having repeated miscarriages or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term can also be treated as a symptom of infertility.
According to a survey conducted, 27.5 million couples in India who are actively trying to conceive children suffer from infertility. Female infertility is at 40-50 percent, while male infertility is at 30-40 percent. Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction states that infertility affects 10 to 14 percent of the Indian population. The primary causes of infertility can be categorized into lifestyle changes and medical reasons. Lifestyle factors include increase in marital age which means late pregnancy, the prevalence of obesity among today’s people, and rising alcohol and tobacco consumption. Medical factors can be attributed to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Endometrial Tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted diseases.
Ray of Hope
Medical science is a wonderful thing! There are end number of hospitals and fertility clinics that have opened up across the country that are helping couples to fulfill their dream of having a child. The treatment for infertility can range between simple medications and surgical interventions to assisted pregnancy options.
Assisted pregnancy refers to any procedure or treatment that involves handling eggs, sperm, or embryos outside the body. When a couple has trouble in conceiving a child naturally, they must opt for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) methods. The treatment is usually paired with more conventional therapies, such as fertility drugs, to increase success rates. Almost one out of every three cycles of ART results in the birth of a baby.
Image Courtesy : www.sutterhealth.org
The most common Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) techniques are:
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
This procedure is combined with hormone treatments to boost egg production. It can help couples with low sperm count, unexplained infertility, or cervical mucus problems.
IUI is the process of injecting a man’s sperm directly into a woman’s uterus with the help of a long narrow tube. For higher chances of success, the sperm is injected when the woman is ovulating.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
This is one of the most common ART techniques. Majority of patients opt for IVF over other ART methods. In this method, a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm are undergoing combination in the laboratory. The next step is to transfer the embryo inside the woman’s uterus immediately after the fertilization of the embryo.
The method starts with the keeping track of the woman’s ovulatory process and stimulating it in order to remove an egg (ovum or ova) from the woman’s ovaries. The eggs are kept with sperm in a liquid for fertilization in a laboratory. The fertilization of egg results in the formation of zygote.
Furthermore, the zygote undergoes embryo culture for the duration of 2-6 days. Finally, transfer of the embryo culture in the same or another woman’s uterus takes place with the aim for the establishment of a successful pregnancy.
Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
Image Courtesy : americanpregnancy.org
This treatment is quite similar to the IVF treatment. However, in case of ICSI, the sperm is directly injected into the egg with a microscopic needle, rather than placing the sperm next to the egg. This increases the odds of fertilization. After the formation of the embryo, it is then placed in the woman’s uterus.
This procedure is best suited for couples who have decreased sperm count, low motility of the sperm, and high numbers of abnormal sperm.
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
In this method, eggs from the woman and sperms from the man undergo combination by employing laboratory techniques in the lab. Later, the eggs are implanted in the fallopian tube of the female. The fertilization occurs inside the body of the women by applying GIFT treatments and not in the lab.
Couples who want a natural treatment so that the fertilization and implantation process occurs inside the woman’s body opt for this form of ART technique.
Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)
ZIFT is similar to IVF. However, the primary difference is that the embryo transfer after fertilization is done in the fallopian tube in case of ZIFT, whereas in case of IVF the embryo is transferred in the uterus.
Before an embryo can attach to the wall of the womb, it has to break out or ‘hatch’ from its outer layer called the zona pellucida. It has been suggested that making a hole in or thinning this outer layer may help embryos to ‘hatch’, increasing the chances of the woman becoming pregnant in some cases.
If a couple is unable to conceive using the woman’s natural eggs, donor eggs from another woman is taken. The donated eggs are mixed with the man’s sperm and the resulting embryo is implanted in the woman’s uterus. This procedure also can be done with a donated sperm.
Surrogacy refers to the process where another woman bears a baby of the couple facing infertility issues. The formation of the baby can take place either by fertilization of egg and sperm from the couple or from donor egg and sperm. The surrogate carries the baby to term and after birth, gives the baby to the couple.
So as you see, there are many medical treatments available for infertility. Kolkata has some top hospitals and clinics such as Care IVF, Genome Fertility Centre, Nova IVI Fertility, and many more that are offering the most advanced treatments.