Infertility is not a disease, labelling it as a disease would be wrong. Infertility is a condition and science has fortunately discovered ways to combat it. The archaic myth that infertility’s favourite victim are the women, is now nothing but a myth. Yes, infertility can strike men too. Beyond the social stigma that it’s the woman’s ‘fault’ the man can also be the reason behind the infertility. But the good thing is that infertility is treatable. Before we ponder over the possibilities of treating this condition, let us first explore the reasons behind infertility.
Usually under normal conditions, reproduction involves the interaction of male and female sexually. The process involves a woman who ovulates and releases an egg which travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. On the other hand, the male too has a vital part to play in this act of two. The male has to produce sperm. The egg and the sperm converge in the fallopian tube via the process of fertilization.
But what exactly happens when the conditions are not normal?
In simple terms, in case of infertility this above pattern is a messed up. It normally happens because of some internal issues either in the female or the male or both. In many cases (almost 10% of the time), the actual cause behind infertility cannot be pinned down even after all the available tests are normal. But most commonly it happens because of some issue with the eggs or sperm. It may also occur due to the inability of the embryo to implant itself- in layman’s term it is called a “hostile uterus”.
Some of the most commonly detected causes behind infertility in women:
Let’s talk about the issue of infertility in males
Like women, there are fertility tests for men as well. And one should never overlook the possibility of such issues. Often due to the social stigma men delay such tests even though it is important to get the test done at an early age. Infertility is such an issue that cannot be detected without the proper tests, so taking a test like that is nothing but being self-aware and careful and taking necessary measures. Moreover getting a test done at an early age also ensures the better and efficient narrowing down of the probable symptoms.
The first step towards any treatment is definitely the diagnosis which in turn is preceded by the necessary intervention. This test for men usually involves a semen analysis. It is quick, efficient and important. It is a common test in this regard. In case of an abnormal semen test result the doctor might follow it up with some more tests. But why is the semen analysis crucial? After all what does it detect? This test is crucial because it helps in detecting some important concerns and conditions such as:
Apart from these, there might be some other reasons hence the doctor might rely on some more relevant blood and urine tests.
Some other common cause of male infertility:
Let’s now jump to the treatment part:
Can you conceive with male infertility? Yes.
How? Let’s elaborate that.
In the coming age one of the most assured and opted way for solution of male infertility is IUI.
What is this IUI?
IUI infertility treatment is one of the most opted solutions worldwide. It is safe and effective. IUI stands for intrauterine insemination and this procedure involves insertion of the sperm into a woman’s uterus when she is ovulating. This procedure is nothing but possibly a boon for a couple with unexplained or untreatable infertility problems. IUI treatment for infertility is often accompanied with an ovulation stimulating drugs this is done in order to create a favourable atmosphere for the procedure to work under a well-controlled environment. IUI procedure can use either the sperm of the husband or even a donor sperm. But before the procedure a proper and thorough check-up of the woman to check any hormonal imbalance, any sort of infection or any other such problems.
Ovulation period is the best time for the procedure, usually within 24-36 hours after the administration of the HCG injection. The ovulation time is predicted via some urine tests. IUI is quite an intricate process the sperm from the male partner is washed and prepared for the process. This process of separation sieves out the motile sperms and increases their concentration into a small volume. The washing sheds the sperm off of the toxicity, if any. After this the now ready sperm is introduced into the woman’s uterus, coinciding it with the time of ovulation.
The IUI in male infertility is embraced by couples all over because it is painless and a quick procedure. Moreover once the insemination is done the woman requires following the normal pregnancy monitoring. The follow up tests are just like any other normal pregnancy cases and don’t involve any surgery (except for some unprecedented complications).
Everything sounds quite effortless and painless but because it is a medical procedure, some patients might caught up in the percentage of risk factor.
So what is the IUI risk factor?
As far as the risk is concerned, in any sort of medical procedure there are always a minimum percentage of risk involved and the IUI is no different. But is it fatal? No. IUI, as you have seen, is a straight and simple procedure. But yes the risks of infection, or a cramping uterus, or transmission of unwanted diseases from the donor are amongst the common worries with this procedure. But most of these risks are controllable, a good quarantined environment, a series of proper and precautionary tests and a thorough washing and separation of the donor sperm can avoid any of the above mentioned risk factors. Apart from the risk of infection, another factor that couples often consider as a problem is the chances of multiple pregnancies. Due to the externally administered drugs for fertility,y increases the chances of multiple pregnancies. Because of this the doctor may encumber your cycle midway. The other issue with the post IUI period is the risk of miscarriage in case of the multiple pregnancies; hence the couples consider it as a risk factor. The fertility medicine may at times set off the rare medical condition which is termed as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. In this condition, the woman may have a situation of enlarged ovaries and along with it collection of fluid in the abdomen. In such a case the doctor will not proceed with the IUI procedure.
But why do people favour IUI treatment?
First, it is much less costly than the other expensive infertility treatment.
Second, the success rate of this procedure is commendable. It does not really require a long term treatment or a series of operations or even subjecting yourself to lifelong medication. In other words the process is quite hassle-free and hence well embraced in the world of science.