Infertility is a condition where the couple is unable to conceive after 12 months of regular sexual relationship without birth control.
In some cases we do not wait for this 12 month period to start investigating eg if the patient’s age is 35 or more, patient has irregular menstrual cycles, PCOS, endometriosis, pelvic infections, has had appendisectomy etc.
It's a myth that infertility is always a "woman's problem". Half of all cases of infertility result from problems with the man's reproductive system. Most infertility results from physical problems in a man or woman's reproductive system. Sometimes we may not be able to find a cause for infertility (Unexplained infertility).
In some cases we may ask for tests to detect ovarian reserve (number of eggs in the ovary). Additional tests include ultrasound scan to assess health of reproductive organs & to check ovulation (egg release).
Tubal patency can be checked by HSG or Hysterosalpingogram which is an X ray test or during a laparoscopy (key hole surgery). You may also need hysteroscopy (camera test for uterus) if we suspect fibroids or polyps in the uterus hindering pregnancy.
Infertility treatment can range from practical lifestyle changes to extended medical procedures - depending on the nature of the problem.
As a first step, it may just be a few simple measures, like sexual education, awareness of fertile period and adhering to a healthy lifestyle.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is the term used for advanced infertility treatments. These treatments are designed to increase the number of eggs or sperm, and to bring them together, thus improving the likelihood of pregnancy.
OI (Ovulation induction): This is offered when the female has irregular ovulation. Medication is provided to increase the number of eggs released to improve chances of pregnancy.
IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination): This is the method by which processed semen is placed directly in the uterus with the help of a catheter.
IVF (Invitro Fertilization): IVF means fertilization of an ovum outside the body and consequently, the transfer of the fertilized ovum (embryo) into the uterus of the woman.
ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection): In this technique, a single sperm is directly injected into the cytoplasm of an egg in order to achieve fertilization.