Infertility is perceived as a problem across all cultures and societies and affects an estimated 12 – 17% of couples of reproductive age. In recent times, the number of couples seeking treatment for infertility has dramatically increased due to factors such as postponement of childbearing in women, development of newer and more successful techniques for fertility treatment, and increasing awareness of available services. This increasing participation in fertility treatment has raised awareness and inspired investigation into the psychological ramifications of infertility. Consideration has been given to the association between psychiatric illness and infertility.
Parenthood is one of the major transitions in adult life for both men and women. The stress of the non-fulfillment of a wish for a child has been associated with emotional distress such as anger, depression, anxiety, marital problems, sexual dysfunction, and social isolation. Couples experience stigma, sense of loss, and diminished self-esteem in the setting of their infertility. In general, in infertile couples women show higher levels of distress than their male partners; however, men’s responses to infertility closely approximates the intensity of women’s responses when infertility is attributed to a male factor.
Both men and women experience a sense of loss of identity and have pronounced feelings of defectiveness and incompetence.
What is Infertility
Infertility means you cannot make a baby (conceive).
Infertility is grouped into two categories:
- Primary infertility refers to couples who have not become pregnant after at least 1 year of unprotected sex (intercourse).
- Secondary infertility refers to couples who have been pregnant at least once, but never again.
- Infertility primarily refers to the biological inability of a person to contribute to conception.Infertility may also refer to the state of a woman who is unable to carry a pregnancy to full term. There are many biological causes of infertility, some which may be bypassed with medical intervention.
- Women who are fertile experience a natural period of fertility before and during ovulation, and they are naturally infertile during the rest of the menstrual cycle.Fertility awareness methods are used to discern when these changes occur by tracking changes in cervical mucus or basal body temperature.
Fertility Treatment - An Overview
Some fertility problems are more easily treated than others. In general, as a woman ages, especially after age 35, her chances of getting pregnant go down. But her risk of miscarriage goes up.
If you are 35 or older, your doctor may recommend that you skip some of the steps younger women usually take. That's because your chances of having a baby decrease with each passing year.
Take time to plan
Before you and your partner start treatment, talk about how far you want to go with treatment. For example, you may want to try medicine but don't want to have surgery. While you may change your mind during your treatment, it’s good to have an idea where you want to draw the line.
Treatment for fertility can also cost a lot. And insurance often doesn't cover these expenses. If cost is a concern for you, ask how much the medicines and procedures cost. Then find out if your insurance covers any costs. Talk with your partner about what you can afford. Thinking about this ahead of time may help keep you from becoming emotionally and financially drained from trying a series of treatments you hadn't planned for.
Types of Infertility treatment:
Treatment for the woman
Treatments for fertility problems in women depend on what may be keeping the woman from getting pregnant. Sometimes the cause isn't known.
- Problems with ovulating. Treatment may include taking medicine as prescribed by the doctor
Unexplained fertility. If your doctor can't find out why you and your partner haven't been able to get pregnant, treatment may include:
- Oral Medications
- Hormone injections.
- Blocked or damaged tubes. If your fallopian tubes are blocked, treatment may include tubal surgery.
- Endometriosis . If mild to moderate endometriosis seems to be the main reason for your infertility, treatment may include laparoscopic surgery to remove endometrial tissue growth. This treatment may not be an option if you have severe endometriosis.
Treatment for the man
Your doctor might recommend that you try insemination first. The sperm are collected and then concentrated to increase the number of healthy sperm for insemination.
When initial treatments don't work
Many couples who have problems getting pregnant arrive at a common point: They must decide whether they want to try assisted reproductive technology (ART).
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common type of ART. In this treatment, a fertilized egg or eggs are placed in the woman's uterus through the cervix.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI. In a lab, your doctor injects one sperm into one egg. If fertilization occurs, the doctor puts the embryo into the woman's uterus.
- Surrogacy – if the woman either has a problem with the uterus and can not carry the baby