Infertility is defined as the inability to successfully conceive after 12 consecutive months of actively trying. Although about 85% of couples are able to conceive within the first 12 months, 15% are still unable to achieve pregnancy. Experts recommend consulting with a reproductive endocrinologist if conception is unsuccessful in the first year, as only an additional 7% of aspiring parents are able to conceive in their second year of attempts without medical assistance.
Causes of Infertility
The most common causes of female infertility include problems with ovulation, damage to fallopian tubes or uterus, or problems with the cervix.
Ovulation problems may be caused by a hormone imbalance, a tumor or cyst, eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, alcohol or drug use, thyroid gland problems, excess weight, stress, intense exercise that causes a significant loss of body fat and extremely brief menstrual cycles
Damage to the fallopian tubes can be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, a previous infection, polyps in the uterus, endometriosis or fibroids, scar tissue or adhesions, chronic medical illness, a previous ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, a birth defect and des syndrome (the medication des, given to women to prevent miscarriage or premature birth can result in fertility problems for their children.)
Modern medicine has provided a wide range of treatments for infertility. These treatments are collectively known as assisted reproductive technology (ART). The most commonly-used and well known ART treatment is in vitro fertilization (IVF).
IVF / ICSI
These two techniques are almost similar with the only difference being that in intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), the embryologist selects a single sperm cell and injects it into an oocyte that exhibits correct maturation whereas in IVF fertilization is done by placing the sperms next to the eggs on a dish.
Egg freezing or oocyte cryopreservation is an option that gives women the power to freeze their eggs and use them whenever they wish to have a family. In this process, the eggs/oocytes are harvested, frozen and stored hence preserving the reproductive potential in women of reproductive age.
Pre-Natal Genetic Diagnostic
It is a procedure used prior to embryo implantation to help identify genetic defects.
This serves to prevent certain genetic diseases or disorders from being passed on to the child. The embryos used in PGD are usually created during the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF).
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