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The Facts and Myths of Fertility

The word infertility and sub fertility creates a huge amount of turmoil in our minds. And from that turmoil arise the myths and doubts which get so mixed up with facts that sometimes, it takes an extra effort to sift the information and separate the two. Here are some facts and myths clarified for the benefit of one and all.

1. Infertility is rare, No other couples seem to be have problems.

Infertility or sub fertility is on rise. What we see is only the tip of the iceberg. By the WHO estimates around 15 % of population is suffering from some forms of infertility. However due to the social stigma still attached, most couples, who are facing infertility, may not want to open up and discuss with the peer group about it. It takes a whole lot of effort to approach a doctor about it as well. We have to change this mindset and seek help sooner, not later.

2. It’s easy to get pregnant so I am going to plan my pregnancy around my career.

Pregnancy is the most natural phenomenon to happen. However, it is mind boggling when one looks at the odds the couples have to overcome to have that life kick inside you. The chances that a normal couple trying for pregnancy will achieve it each month are around 20 %. Hence it’s best to not ignore this important landmark of your life as a woman. Especially as the time and your biological clock does not wait for anything. Pregnancy should not be kept on the back burner especially if you are approaching your thirties. It can coexist with your career aspirations.

3. I have regular periods so I should not have trouble conceiving

There are many causes ascribed to infertility, irregular periods and or failure to ovulate are just one of the causes. When you think of conceiving, or postpone conception, always rule out there are no other non evident causes like low sperm count, blocked tubes or mild hormonal imbalance that could in long run diminish your chances to natural conception.

4. All infertility treatments put us at high risk of higher order pregnancy

The treatments for fertility are totally in our control and depend on the intent. Ofcource if there is more than one egg grown there are higher chances of multiple pregnancy but we make an effort to keep this at a minimum, without compromising the chances for pregnancy. Monofollicular response for IUI or OI and SET for IVF cycles are the ideal that are catching up in our country after being accepted widely in the developed countries. The overall chances of twins are 15-20% which can be reduced to nil by opting for single embryo transfer and for triplets it is 5% which can be kept to minimum by transferring not more than 2 embryos at a time and NEVER more than three, even in difficult patients.

5. All patients visiting fertility clinic go right for IVF

The aim of a fertility clinic is same as that of the couple approaching the clinic that is a pregnancy. If that can be achieved by simple means, all the more better. We try to get you pregnant by the simplest of means. But it’s not good sense to keep trying the methods that have failed you multiple times. Meet the doctor to tailor out the road to fertility for you.

6. The recent turnaround in our understanding of infertility causes have taken a turn around completely, male factor which has always been in the shadows of the female causes is now known to contribute to almost 30-45 % of infertility. In fact it is good sense to do a semen analysis at a standard lab before a lot of unnecessary invasive testing and surgical / hormonal treatment are advised to the woman.

7. Lots of women have babies after 40, so age is not an issue

The eggs you were supposed to have been already allocated to you when you were a baby in your mother’s womb. You grow no new eggs through your lifetime. This number is further nearly halved when you were born. By the time puberty is attained, there is still further decrease in the egg pool. Each month that a woman menstruates, she utilizes a bunch of eggs out of which one gets released by ovulation. It’s a pretty wasteful exercise. But it ensures the healthiest egg going to pregnancy. By the time you are 37 there is a sharp decline in the number of eggs and chances of conception. The chances at 40 are 5% by simple treatments and 15-20% by IVF, notwithstanding the higher risk of miscarriage, abnormalities in babies. There are almost no pregnancies by self eggs reported after the age of 45. So age is the biggest issue really faced by fertility clinics and patients.

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