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Infertility Isn’t Always About Age: Here Are Nine Ways to Deal with This Health Problem

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While talking about sex, infertility is still tied with hesitation and stigma in certain sections of people in India. Others with sexual issues are trying to open up and attempt to speak or understand it. 

When we sneak into the statistics, infertility affects nearly 15% of Indian couples. Moreover, infertility causes an immense social, economic, and psychological impact that adds up to the issue. 

Where there are a lot of misconceptions about infertility, it is indeed crucial to debunk the misconceptions and uncover the facts. People need to understand that infertility affects men where nearly 40-50% of the infertility cases are due to male infertility. However, the fact remains that infertility is not only a mere “Woman’s issue.”

Age does not define infertility. People of any age can have fertility issues. And if people believe infertility cannot be treated, fertility treatments are now becoming more accepted where treatments have successfully helped many attain their parenthood goals.

This article explores various dimensions of infertility and ways to deal with this medical condition. 

Infertility: Is it an age-related issue?

Infertility is when couples do not get pregnant even after one year or more of trying or when the woman has had multiple miscarriages. With the rising infertility problems in India, It is shocking to know that nearly 70% of the infertile population are young, in their late twenties, and as much as 30 percent are above 35. 

Statistics indicate that age is not the criteria for infertility. Even young people can have fertility problems. And obesity, sedentary lifestyle, prolonged use of gadgets, frequent exposure to heat and chemicals, and illicit use of alcohol, drugs, and smoke are to be blamed. 

It is not true that infertility affects only women. Menalso have fertility issues that need to be addressed. According to Mayo clinic, almost one-third of the infertility cases are due to male infertility. In short, infertility can affect men and women of all ages. 

However, fertility treatments and their advancements are like a silver lining for young men and women seeking treatments. The rising awareness and increasing incomes among the urban sects are exploring treatments like IVF and ICSI for their fertility issues. 

What causes Infertility?

Over the last four decades, the prevalence of infertility has increased. This rise could be because of;

  • A delay in childbearing,
  • Cigarettes, alcohol, and other factors influencing the semen quality,
  • Changes in sexual behaviors,
  • Decreasing taboos 

Infertility in females is deeply linked to gynecological issues like heavy, painful periods, irregular or delayed periods (ovulation delayed or absent), Poor egg quality, blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, hormonal changes, and pain during sex. 

For men, infertility causes include swelling of the testicles, erectile issues, firm testicles, low sperm concentration, poor sperm motility, damaged sperms, absence of sperms in the semen, inadequate sperm production, hormonal issues, ejaculatory problems- retrograde ejaculation, and changes in libido. 

However, in some cases, infertility causes cannot be diagnosed and are often referred to as “Unexplained Infertility.”

Risk Factors for Infertility

Risk factors include lifestyle factors like alcohol consumption, smoking, drug usage, over or underweight, gadget overusing, and women above the age of 35. Undescended testicles, overheated testicles, and scrotum or testes injury are other medical risk factors that can increase the chances of infertility. 

Tests for Fertility Evaluation

Before you go ahead with tests for a fertility evaluation, your doctor will go through the medical and fertility history. Primary evaluation tests for women include ultrasound scans, blood analysis, hormonal assays- estradiol and FSH tests (related to ovarian function, egg reserve evaluation). 

Other follow-up tests are hysterosalpingogram (HSG)- for tubal and uterine problems, diagnostic laparoscopy, and hysteroscopy- for structural anomaly detection. Primary fertility tests in men include blood tests and semen analysis.   

Nine Ways to Approach Infertility

Infertility can take a toll on an individual’s emotional, psychological, and physical aspects. People with fertility problems are often overwhelmed with the emotional stress that can impact their reproductive and overall health. Knowing how to better deal with infertility by calming the nerves becomes pivotal. Here are some ways chalked out that can help you sail through your fertility journey.

  • Fertility Education: Individuals undergoing fertility problems must primarily educate themselves about normal fertility, analyse the problems related to fertility and treatment options, and know what suits you the best for your concern. Empowering yourself with the help of your fertility specialists and support groups will help you make better choices for yourself. 
  • Surgery: Your doctor will take you through a detailed physical examination and diagnostic investigation protocol for infertility. In the case of fertility impending issues like cysts, fibroids, and polyps, can be removed through surgical procedures like laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, and abdominal myomectomy.

And for men, vasectomy correction is a surgical procedure that helps healthy sperm production. 

  • Sperm Aspiration: For men with ejaculatory problems, sperm aspiration involves direct retrieval of sperms from the testicles with the help of a needle.
  • Ovulation Induction (OI): For women having ovulatory issues, fertility often puts them on fertility medications that can help induce ovulation by stimulating ovaries. These medications can be in two forms- One that can be taken orally, and the other are injectables.

It is also important to note that this procedure requires regular monitoring of follicles by ultrasound scans, and the prescribed medications need to be taken every day for 5 to 12 days.

  • Intrauterine Insemination or IUI: IUI helps treat infertility by addressing major fertilisation issues, and male fertility factors. Sometimes, IUI combined with ovulation induction can also take care of ovulation problems. In IUI, the washed and processed sperms are carefully placed in the uterine cavity. The process allows the selection of viable, concentrated sperms and brings them closer to the ovum or egg.
  • In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF): IVF is a fertility procedure involving the fertilisation of gametes outside the female reproductive tract. In IVF, the egg and the sperm are retrieved and fertilised in the lab. The embryos developed are placed back inside the uterus for implantation and growth. IVF combined with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) adopts the injection of a single sperm into the ovum, allowing a more accurate fertilisation process.
  • Third-Party Reproduction: IVF, when done with the help of donor sperms, eggs, or embryos, is generally referred to as third-party reproduction. Third-party reproduction also implies when a woman helps a couple or a person to have a child by becoming a gestational surrogate. 

Frequently Asked Questions

At what age should you worry about Infertility?

If you are above 35 years, you will need to check with your doctor after trying for at least six months. For those under 35, you can see the doctor after a minimum of one year of trying. 

Do infertile women get periods?

Yes, Women with infertility struggle to get pregnant but have periods every month. Having mentioned that, women having ovulation disorders can have irregular, delayed, or absent menstruation. 

At what age does a man stop producing sperms?

Men do not stop producing sperm. They continue throughout their life. However, their sperm production and quality start to decrease after the age of 35, which may affect their fertility. 

Conclusion

Having spoken about infertility is not an age-associated issue, this article explores the basics of infertility. If you have been dealing with infertility, are unable to achieve pregnancy, or have had multiple miscarriages, you need to consult a fertility specialist at the best fertility center near you.  

Somapika Dutta (B.Sc Physiology, Honours)
Somapikar holds Bachelors Degree in Physiology from University of Culcutta. She has 6+ years of experience writing in different niches, including health, tech and lifestyle. An animal enthusiast and a raging foodie, experiencing life - one day at a time.

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