Infertility is the condition in which the reproductive system of the man or the woman fails to gives its desired outcome i.e. the conception of a child. The condition is diagnosed usually after the couple faces failure to conceive even after trying for one year. The failure to conceive may be due to a variety of reasons which are enlisted below-
- Problem in sperm production.
- Problem in the egg production.
- Difficulty in the implantation of the fertilized embryo in the uterus of the woman.
- Poor embryo quality.
- Overall poor health and hormonal imbalance of the woman.
Infertility: is the woman alone responsible?
Quite opposite to the common assumption, the woman is not the sole person responsible for failed conception. In reality, only 33% of the cases are due to the woman. About 33 % of cases are related to male infertility and the rest are due to both the partners and unknown reasons.
Cause of infertility in men
There are several causes of infertility in men. Often the cause is related to poor or no production of sperms. Men seem to suffer majorly from 2 conditions-
While azoospermia signifies no production of sperm cells, oligospermia refers to the condition in which only a few sperm cells are produced.
Still, some other cases point that the conception may not occur due to the failure of the sperm to reach the egg and its death before the approach.
Men could also be rendered infertile due to genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis. Anomaly in the chromosomes may also be the reason behind some cases.
Cause of infertility in women.
- The primary reason behind female infertility is problems in the ovulation. This reason accounts for 25 % of infertility cases in women.
- However, other reasons such as blocked fallopian tubes, pelvic inflammatory disease, and endometriosis also lead to infertility.
- Cervical scar tissue from past procedures which may hinder the sperms’ ability to enter the uterus.
- Congenital Uterine defects such as the defective structure of the uterus.
- Presence of uterine fibroids.
- Poor ovarian reserve.
- Decline in egg quality due to aging .
IVF is an ART technique which helps the infertile couples in conceiving. In it, the eggs are surgically extracted from the ovary and the sperm is also extracted from the male partner. Both the egg and sperm are mixed in a lab petri dish. This is the step which sets it apart from the natural fertilization process. The natural fertilization occurs in the body of the female while in IVF, fertilization occurs in a lab petri dish.
The sperms should be able to fertilize the eggs within 40 hours. If the eggs are fertilized, they are kept under observation for 4-6 days. The best quality embryos are selected and placed in the woman’s uterus. If all goes well, the woman tests positive for pregnancy after a few days. The path to becoming biological parents is now clear for the couple. The couple waits for the birth of the child, taking all the requisite precautions during pregnancy.
The financial aspect of In Vitro Fertilization
The procedure is quite costly as it involves delicate procedures, highly trained professionals and sophisticated equipment. The procedure’s price varies from country to country, although you can get better rates in India.
IVF-a successful ART technique
IVF is one of the most sought after procedures for infertility treatment. It accounts for more than 99 % of ART techniques. It has given output of 34% live births in 2008. Introduction of techniques like ICSI, GIFT, and ZIFT have added to the chances of success of IVF.