It is no secret that the demanding work life, daily stress and poor lifestyle choices have led to fertility issues in men and women. And so, by the time they are ready to become parents, they may face some problem in conceiving naturally. Modern medical methods like IVF (in-vitro fertilization) and ART (artificial reproductive technique) can help.
Dr Sonal Kumta, consultant obstetrician, gynaecologist, laparoscopic and robotic surgeon and fertility specialist at Fortis Hospital, Mulund explains that in the past few years, the number of patients seeking IVF services has increased two-fold. “While this can be attributed to lifestyle factors and delayed pregnancies, increasing prevalence of medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, endometrial tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections (STI) have also been driving factors.”
But, is IVF the only option?
“If you look at the present scenario, infertility is a public health burden that needs to be addressed seriously. But from a clinical perspective, fertility enhancement can be addressed in many ways. IVF is certainly one of the many answers to this problem. People should, however, know IVF is not the only option available.
“A lot of other simple measures including planned or timed intercourse, intrauterine insemination (IUI), diagnostic and operative hystero-laparoscopy for endometriosis, fallopian tube blockage etc., exist. Even for the success of IVF procedures, several factors have to be considered,” the doctor explains.
Besides leading a healthy lifestyle — eating well, sleeping on time, staying physically active, limiting the intake of alcohol and quitting smoking — a lot can be done by counselling couples about simple techniques and planning intercourse around ovulation.
“I often ask my patients to take short holidays and go on dates at ovulation times. This reduces stress and they often come back with positive results. A good diet, exercise and adequate sleep coupled with healthy lifestyle practices go a long way. I encourage them to quit smoking and alcohol, too. I tell them to work towards a fit body and positive health, and to think they have signed up for a marathon as embarking on a pregnancy is certainly like a marathon itself!” says Dr Kumta.
She adds that some basic tests for fertility are done to ensure there are no major reproductive problems. “This includes hormonal profile, ovulation study, tube testing, ultrasound and semen workup.”
Mentioned below are the periods when couples can opt for IVF:
* Having ovulation problems
* Fallopian tube damage/obstruction
* Pelvic adhesions
* Poor semen quality
* Unexplained infertility
* Prolonged infertility
It is always advised to make an informed choice on childbearing and parenting by discussing with your doctor during pre-marital, marital and preconception counselling sessions, suggests the doctor.
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