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Infertility

Artificial Birthing Methods – Myths vs. Reality

Infertility is rising with more and more young couples delaying their first child. Priorities have changed, and women are getting married late for education and career.  Statistics reveal that since the 1990s, the average age of women having children after 30 years of age has been rising as compared to women younger than 20 years of age.

However, there are various myths associated with infertility.

Infertility is most of the time, thought to be a women’s problem. It is imperative that each infertility case should be considered as a couple’s problem. Only 35% of infertility cases are caused solely by female factors. Another 35% are caused by factors in the male reproductive system, 20% arise from both, and the remaining 10% is undetermined. A simple test like semen analysis can help in identifying the problem. Science has really advanced a lot in this field. Many advanced techniques like IVF/ICSI/IMSI/PICSI are available to combat infertility.

A second most common myth among couples is that an IVF/test tube baby technique gives guaranteed results.  In the RMANJ survey, roughly 2/3rd of the millennials surveyed said they used to think that they didn’t have to worry about infertility — that they’d be able to get pregnant no matter what. However, there are a few limitations to this treatment.  IVF success declines with age and it’s negligible after the age of 42years. In fact, there is a sharp rise in loss of eggs every month after the age of 35.  Once a woman is out of eggs, she is out of eggs. The only option she has is to use donor eggs. Most of the couples keep delaying IVF thinking that it’s the last resort. This outlook actually worsens their chance of conceiving.  Age is a single most important factor affecting your fertility, even if you are healthy.  At 30yrs of age, the chance of conceiving each month is about 30% whereas at 40yrs it is around 5%.  Also, eggs age with women’s age. Aged eggs are at risk of producing abnormal babies. One in 100 live births can have Down syndrome if the mother is 40yrs or above.  Risk of miscarriages and ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterine cavity) also increases with age.

Weight problems and eating habits have no effect on fertility. Poor nutrition can have an impact on fertility. Women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30 or those who are severely underweight may have difficulty in conceiving.

A man’s fertility doesn’t change with age. Even a man’s age matters too! Men see a decline in fertility in their 40s and 50s. This reflects the age-related increase in acquired medical conditions, decreases in semen quality, and increasing rates of DNA fragmentation seen in sperm. In addition, there is an association between the age of the male partner and the incidence of birth defects, chromosomal abnormalities and higher psychiatric disorders like autism, schizophrenia.

You don’t have to try too hard. If you just stay relaxed, you can conceive easily. Relaxation alone won’t help anyone become a parent. Medical conditions in one or both partners may stand in the way of conception. If there is no obvious physical explanation for infertility, a doctor can still suggest lifestyle changes that could boost the odds of conception.

We need to understand that these artificial reproductive techniques are here to help you provided you reach out to doctor at the right age and the right time. Results steeply decline with advancing age and they should not be chosen as the last resort. At the CK Birla Hospital for Women, our fertility experts treat all facets and causes of infertility including recurring miscarriage, ovulation disorders, menstrual disturbances, and other reproductive and endocrinal problems.

By Dr Meenakshi Dua, Lead Consultant, Department of Fertility.

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