What is referred to as infertility?
The universally accepted definition of infertility is the inability to conceive after a year or more of sexual activity without protection. Since it is well-established that a woman’s fertility steadily declines after age 35, some healthcare providers opt to assess and treat women of that age bracket after they have gone unprotected for 6 months.
Reproductive endocrinologists are medical doctors specialized in infertility treatment and it is recommended that infertile women consult with one. Women who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss (defined as two or more spontaneous losses) may benefit from seeing a reproductive endocrinologist.
When is it ideal for visiting a gynecologist?
Unless you have been actively trying to conceive for at least a year, it is unlikely that you need to consult a doctor regarding infertility. However, women should talk to a doctor sooner if they experience any of the following:
- Have been trying to pregnant naturally for a year
- 40 or above
- Experiencing Irregular periods or Absence of periods
- Experiencing severe menstrual pain
- Experiencing difficulties in conceiving
- Suffer from pelvic inflammatory illness or endometriosis
- Suffered several miscarriages
How do specialists determine infertility?
If you have trouble conceiving, your doctor will examine your medical and sexual histories and other factors.
A sperm analysis is a standard part of a man’s annual checkup since it provides insight into the sperm’s overall viability.
A pelvic exam is part of the initial testing performed on a female patient after gathering her medical history. The medical professional then verify the regularity of egg release from the ovaries. The levels of hormones in the body are evaluated via blood testing. Ultrasound can check the ovaries and uterus, and a specialized X-ray can look at the fallopian tubes.
Here are the primary treatment options for couples dealing with infertility issues:
Intrauterine insemination (IUI):
In vitro fertilization (IUI) is a form of artificial insemination in which healthy sperm are isolated and implanted into an egg. When ready, these sperm are placed intrauterine.
In this case, either your partner’s sperm or donor sperm can be used (known as donor insemination).
In vitro fertilization (IVF):
If you are having trouble getting pregnant, you may want to consider in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The woman takes fertility medications to promote egg production as part of the IVF process. After being harvested, the eggs are fertilized in a laboratory by being combined with sperm.
When the sperm quality is regarded as “normal,” IVF is performed. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a technique used by IVF specialists in cases where there are problems with the quality of the sperm, such as low motility or quantity. This technique involves inserting a single sperm into an egg.
The embryos are given two to six days to mature if fertilization occurs. As a result, the embryologist can choose the healthiest embryo to be implanted back into the pregnant woman’s womb and complete the birthing process.
There are cases where women attempting to conceive without success may benefit from treatment with fertility medicines. They are the primary treatment for women with polycystic ovary syndrome and men with infertility concerns due to hormonal imbalances.
Abnormalities in anatomy, scarring from disorders like endometriosis, and obstructions can all be treated through reproductive surgery. Some surgical procedures can be done on an outpatient basis, while many others require a stay at the infertility hospital.
During this form of assisted reproduction, one woman (a surrogate) carries a child on behalf of another. Using sperm from the father or IUI with the couple’s embryo, the surrogate will become pregnant. The use of donor gametes is also permitted.
Women unable to carry a child for medical, hysterical, or other reasons benefit most from surrogacy. When both parents cannot normally conceive, surrogacy with donor sperm and donor eggs is an option.
Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT):
Eggs are retrieved, combined with sperm in a petri dish, and then transferred into the fallopian tube for fertilization as part of a gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) procedure. If the woman has at least one healthy fallopian tube and the guy has a low sperm count or sperm with poor motility, the couple may elect to use GIFT.
It’s a choice for couples dealing with unexplained infertility or who have moral or religious objections to in vitro fertilization (IVF). If you are a resident of Kenya, reach out to an infertility specialist doctor in Kenya.
Coping and support:
Dealing with infertility is challenging for many reasons, not the least of which is the abundance of uncertainty around the condition. The trip may cause some emotional strain on the relationship. Doing the following can help you deal with the following:
It can be challenging and stressful to undergo infertility testing and treatments because of the unknown outcomes. Make sure you understand each procedure by having your doctor explain it.
Explore other options:
As early as possible in the examination for infertility, consider all of your options, including donor sperm or egg, a gestational carrier, adoption, or even not having children. This could help alleviate stress during treatments and discouragement if pregnancy is unsuccessful.
Seek support both before and after therapy to help you get through the ordeal and cope with your loss if infertility treatment is unsuccessful.