It has been proven time and again that via appropriate medical care, many couples who may have been battling infertility issues for a long time have also become successful in becoming parents to their biological children.
The definition of infertility goes by “A condition in which one is not able to get pregnant even after trying for a year, in spite of regular intercourse.” Thus, if you too qualify for this definition, you should get yourself checked by a doctor to understand the reasons for delay in conceiving. Some of the common causes of infertility include:
- Benign tumor in the uterus
- Ovulation disorders (irregular or no ovulation at all)
- Problem in the cervix (unusual shape, inflammation, etc.)
- Fallopian tube damage either due to a medical condition such as Chlamydia or other infections
Male infertility causes are different from the ones mentioned above. They include:
- Inability of the testes to make sperms
- Low sperm quantity and quality
- Presence of sperm antibodies
- Tubal blockage preventing the sperms from getting ejaculated with semen
- Sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation
Signs and symptoms of infertility
Depending on the causes, infertility symptoms can be many. Also, male and female infertility signs are different too. Some of the most prominent ones include:
Infertility in women
- Irregularity in the menstrual cycle
- Abnormal periods – either too heavy or too light
- Weight gain
- Changes in the sex drive
- Skin problems (acne, hair growth in the chin, etc.)
- Painful periods and pain during intercourse
- Multiple miscarriages
- You are above 40 years of age
Infertility in men
- Small testicles
- Premature ejaculation and erectile problems
- Changes in sexual drive
- Inflammation in the testicles
- Low sperm count
- Family history of infertility issues
Diagnosis and treatment for infertility
To diagnose the cause of infertility and to assess the chances of natural conception, your gynecologist would like to evaluate several areas. This sometimes includes assessing the medical history and lifestyle choices of both the partners. Some of the evaluation areas include:
- Previous medical history
- Present and previous social history
- In the case of the woman, previous births as well as complications, etc. may also be considered
- Contraception methods as well as the duration you have used it will also be taken into account
- Any medication that you may presently be taking and its effects
- Your monthly period cycle
- And most importantly your lifestyle choices – whether you smoke, consume alcohol, abuse illegal drugs, stress factors, and so on
Once this is done, you may be recommended a number of tests to ascertain the cause. This may include hormone tests, testing your ovaries, checking if you have (or ever had) a sexually transmitted disease, imaging tests of your uterus, and ultrasound scan.
In the case of men, semen analysis and tests to determine a STI are generally done. Additionally, genetic and hormone testing may also be done.
Infertility treatment can be lengthy and cause a financial strain as well due to the prolonged duration of the treatment and also because some procedures can be expensive. Nonetheless, many infertility issues can be treated via medicines and surgery. Fertility drugs are quintessentially prescribed to the woman, which can be followed up with an IUI procedure (intrauterine insemination).
If these do not help and based on the other important aspects of you and your partner such as age, lifestyle choices, other health conditions, and financial background, your doctor may suggest you to go in for assisted reproductive technology. In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is the commonest type of assisted reproductive technology and has been successful in bringing a smile on the faces of scores of childless couples.
Coping with infertility
Coping with infertility can be stressful for both the partners. However, one needs to understand that this is just one aspect of his/her life and there’s more to it in the rest. So, besides speaking to your doctor and setting realistic goals, you can also focus on the below to reduce the stress and make up for a happy couple. Also, miracles do happen…
- Accept your emotions and feelings. It’s fine if you feel angry or depressed over it. Don’t kill yourself for feeling bad. However, don’t let it overpower your entire being. There’s more to you and your relationship with your partner than this.
- Remember, there’s no one to be blamed for this – neither you nor your partner. Therefore, rather than looking for the person/situation/reason to blame, focus your energies on finding a solution if there’s one available.
- Find out means to channelize your energy and reduce stress. Your first priority is to be able to reduce the stress you (and your partner) are struggling with. Look for ways in which you could ease the stress. Be it enrolling in a hobby class or joining a fitness centre, there’s much more you can do than just strain yourself over the infertility issue.
- It’s important that you communicate with your partner as you aren’t alone in this – your partner too is as much affected or more. Rekindle your love and bonding and try spending time together as this can be quite of a stress buster in the least.
- Look for support in your peer group, family. Stay connected rather than isolating yourself. Even if you had preferred seclusion for some time, now is the chance to open up. We are all fighting our own battles and you’d be amazed to find the kind of support that is there, which you had denied for yourself all this while. If someone reacts negatively to the instance, simply move away. If nothing, you’ll at least identify your true friends this way.
- Set a time limit for trying to conceive. This is important because there’s something important called the ‘biological clock’ also. Your gynecologist or infertility specialist could help you figure out the realistic time frame.
- In the end, move beyond the infertility episode. There’s more to life than this and you certainly deserve much more. Look around you and you’ll find the happiness you’d been aspiring for. Also, if you and your partner are willing, you can try out other methods of bringing home your bundle of joy. Like they say, miracles do happen to those who believe…