Advanced treatment options for infertility

 

Hello friends, happy new week. Hope everyone is doing great. I see harmattan decided to pay us a visit after a short break. I hope you all are happy about the change in weather. Hey, hope you are aware of the return of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some cities have already gone on lockdown while some are about to. Meanwhile, some of you are still unserious about your safety by not wearing your nose masks, maintaining social distancing and practicing a thorough personal hygiene. Hmmm, my friends, a stitch in time saves nine, be careful. Health is wealth.

Last week, I told you about some of the treatments for infertility in both men and women, which were mostly medication/drug based treatments. This week we will explore the more advanced treatment options/methods. The good thing with infertility is that you have vast options and hopefully one or more of the options will work just fine for couples with infertility problems. But note that no matter the medical condition you may have, a healthy life style usually saves you from serious health conditions, exacerbation of an already bad medical condition, and also saves you some money in the long run. Let’s dive in to the topic of the week.

INTRAUTERINE INSEMINATION (IUI)

This is often referred to as artificial insemination. With this procedure, the woman is usually treated with medicines that stimulate ovulation and then injected with a sperm specially prepared for this purpose.

This procedure is frequently used in the treatment of;

  • Mild male infertility
  • Women with cervical mucus
  • Couples with inexplicable infertility problem

ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGY (ART)

This includes different methods and steps used in the treatment of infertility in men and women. This is usually expensive and takes a lot of time and dedication on the part of both the doctor and the couple. However, it has helped put a smile onmany faces of couples who had lost hope of ever having children. This method also has the tendency of producing multiple births which can be a blessing to some couples, and not so much of a blessing to others. I guess this is where the saying ‘different strokes for different folks’ come into play. This can also be contained using different methods.

ART is often done by removing eggs from the woman’s body, and the eggs are combined or joined with a man’s sperm to produce an embryo(s). The embryo(s) is then put back in the woman’s body.

ART procedures sometimes involve the use of donor eggs and sperms (eggs and sperm from another woman or man who is not the couple treating the fertility problem), previously frozen egg or embryo. This is often done for women cannot produce eggs, have genetic diseases that can be inherited by the baby etc. in this case, the child will not be genetically related to either parents.

The success rate of this method depends on different factors such as;

  • Age of the partners
  • Root cause for infertility
  • The doctor and clinic handling the procedure
  • Type of ART being used
  • The condition of the egg used (Frozen or Fresh)
  • The condition of the embryo used (Frozen or Fresh)

DIFFERENT METHODS OF ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGY (ART)

  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): This can be referred to as the most effective ART method for infertility. This method is often used when a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked or the man has low sperm count. The fertilization usually occurs in the laboratory, outside of the woman’s body. The woman is treated with some medications that stimulates the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. The eggs are then removed on maturation and placed in a sterilized dish in a laboratory together with the man’s sperm for fertilization to take place. After 3 to 5 days, the healthy embryos are implanted in the woman’s uterus (womb).
  • Tubal Embryo Transfer or Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT): This is the same as IVF only that the embryo is implanted into the fallopian tube instead of the uterus (womb).
  • Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT): This method allows the fertilization to take place inside the woman’s body. The eggs and the sperm are transferred into the woman’s fallopian tube for the fertilization process. This is not as common as the rest as few fertility clinics offer this option.
  • Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): This is often used for couples with serious sperm problems, aged couples and couples with failed IVF trails. A single sperm is injected into a mature egg, then the embryo is transferred to the uterus (womb) or the fallopian tube.
  • Surrogacy: Women with no eggs or unhealthy eggs usually consider this method through the advice of their doctors and fertility specialist. A surrogate is a woman who is fertile, healthy and in child bearing age, who agrees to become pregnant using her own eggs and the sperm of the woman’s partner. After the birth of the baby, the surrogate will give up the baby for adoption by the couple. The baby will genetically be related to the woman’s partner and the surrogate.
  • Gestational Carrier: This method is employed for women with ovaries but no uterus (womb), and women with serious health conditions. The woman’s egg is fertilized by her partner’s sperm, and the embryo is implanted into a carrier’s uterus (another woman who agreed to carry the embryo to term in her own womb). The carrier will not be genetically related to the baby. After the birth of the baby, the carrier gives up the baby to the parents.

DISADVANTAGES OF ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGY

According to research by the United States of America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ART babies are 2 to 4 times more likely to have certain birth defects such as;

  • Heart and digestive system problems
  • Cleft lips and palate (lips or palate divided into two pieces)

The birth defects may not be due to the technology and may be due to the age of the parents or maybe something else as more research is needed to determine the real causes. However, the risk of ART is relatively low, but couples opting for this method should go for counseling and ask as many questions as they can think of, in order to make the right decisions.

I hope the information I shared for the past two weeks has been able to throw some light on the issue of infertility. Remember, the best thing you can do for yourself is live a healthy live and visit your doctor if you have any health problems. Please do not practice self-medication for any reason, it is unsafe. The information shared here is for educational and information purposes, kindly book an appointment with a fertility specialist if you have fertility problem. Also advise your family and friends whom you know has such problems, to do the needful. Do have a good week. Stay safe. 

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