The desire to have children is as natural as life itself.
It’s good if nothing can interfere with conception – neither health nor age. However, some couples postpone planning pregnancy for a long period, counting on the fact that even after 35 years, nature will condescendingly give them the desired baby. But you can’t fool nature. And the diagnosis of infertility sounds like a death sentence for some couples. In order not to waste time and energy searching for the causes of infertility and methods of treating it, it is better to consult a fertility specialist so that the desired pregnancy can finally occur.
What is infertility – a diagnosis or just an indication that the couple has some health problems?
The World Health Organization defines infertility as the inability of a couple to achieve conception within a year of regular sexual activity (at least twice a week) without contraception. When determining infertility, we also operate by age. If a woman is over 30 years old, then we recommend that the couple have six months of regular sexual activity. If a couple cannot get pregnant within six months, it is worth contacting a fertility doctor to find out the reason or obstacle that is preventing conception. You can often hear that couples over the age of 35 are at risk.
It turns out that the age criterion has decreased and the alarm should be sounded much earlier?
If a woman is over 35 years old and after six months of regular sexual activity cannot get pregnant, this is already a reason to conduct an examination and take decisive action. If a woman is under 30 years of age, you can wait a year and then get examined. From 30 to 35 years of age, we recommend maintaining an interval of six months and then undergoing an examination. Although, at the request of the couple, the waiting period for conception can be extended. Although, in fact, we have the right to order an examination only after a year of regular sexual activity for a couple – for women under 35 years of age and after six months – for women after 35 years of age.
As far as I know, infertility can be caused by diseases not directly related to sexual life?
Our examination is divided into several stages: firstly, we look at the hormonal levels, do ultrasound diagnostics and conduct an initial examination of the woman. Already at this stage some problems may emerge. During the examination, it is very important to know whether the woman has suffered any infectious diseases. If a woman does not remember this or some infections are asymptomatic, then from a blood test we can determine that the woman had evidence of infection. The most dangerous infection from the point of view of a reproductive specialist and pregnancy planning is chlamydia.
What other points should alert a couple who wants to have children? What risk factors are there?
A woman’s menstrual cycle is also very important: when did her period start – on time or not, were there any facts of its absence or delay. Another factor is the presence of previous pregnancies and abortions before contacting a fertility specialist. We also pay attention to the woman’s weight. Excess weight is also a risk factor.
The lifestyle of the couple is very important, in particular, the absence of bad habits of both partners. This factor is very important for both women and men. Any chronic nicotine or alcohol intoxication negatively affects the reproductive function of both women and men. In men, it affects sperm, as a result of which the woman either does not become pregnant, or there is a risk of miscarriage, and the risk of premature birth and missed pregnancies increases. The same risks exist for women. If she smokes, the quality of the eggs decreases and the likelihood of getting pregnant decreases by TWO times.
How important is it to diagnose male infertility?
Infertility is a disease not of an individual, but of a couple. Accordingly, it is necessary to examine both the man and the woman in parallel. There are times when women come to see us and have been examined thoroughly, but the man, unfortunately, remains on the sidelines. Therefore, it is very important to examine the man by analyzing his spermogram. Although examining a man is to some extent easier. If the spermogram results are normal, we will not examine him further. If any problems are identified, then we prescribe additional hormones, order an examination for infectious diseases, or refer him to a urologist.
You can often hear about immunological incompatibility of partners. What is meant by this? What are the reasons?
Now such a term does not exist. There is no incompatibility, as many people think, based on blood type. Blood groups have no effect on conception at all. As for Rh factor compatibility, this is a little different. Problems may arise if a woman becomes pregnant, but this does not affect infertility in any way. Hidden incompatibility for some genes also does not affect infertility in any way, but in the future it can lead, for example, to miscarriages.
What other myths related to infertility exist? List the most common ones.
The most famous myth is the incompatibility of partners. It’s a delusion. There are no incompatible partners, there are simply under-examined ones. Simply put, there is no incompatibility – this has already been proven. The reasons for infertility simply lie elsewhere. There is a myth associated with IVF: children born through IVF are somehow different from children conceived naturally. This is also an absolute myth. Because children conceived through IVF are just as developed both mentally and physically. And they develop in exactly the same way as children conceived naturally. Most often, the pain of children may not be due to the fact that they were conceived using IVF, but due to the fact that the woman insisted on transferring two embryos.
As far as I know, there is primary and secondary infertility. What are they due to?
Primary infertility – when a woman has never had a pregnancy in history, secondary – when she has had at least one pregnancy, regardless of how it ended. There are also female, male and mixed infertility, as well as infertility of unknown origin, when we cannot find out the cause of infertility. It happens that when examining a woman and a man, all indicators are normal, then we diagnose it as infertility of unknown origin. It does not occur very often – only in 10 percent of cases.
Do you monitor the dynamics of infertility? What are the main causes of infertility? Who are the main risk groups?
The ratio of male and female factors is approximately the same – 40-45%. The rest of infertility of unknown origin or mixed – 10%. Of the female causes of infertility, the most common today is tubal factor caused by chlamydia. Or a symptom of polycystic ovaries is already an endocrine disease. Male factor – various sperm pathologies. They are usually caused by bad habits or working conditions in hazardous industries.
For some, the infection manifests itself already on a hormonal background, that is, from the central nervous system. Infectious genesis is also quite common. Modern lifestyle associated with frequent changes of sexual partners and early onset of sexual activity can also cause infertility. Many women rarely visit a gynecologist or only see a doctor when a problem arises. However, we recommend visiting a gynecologist more often, even if nothing bothers you, at least once a year!
If a year of active sexual activity does not bring the desired result? What should the couple’s action algorithm be?
If a woman under the age of 35 has regular sex life, without contraception, but after a year she cannot get pregnant (after 35 years, this period is six months), you should seek help from a fertility specialist. The specialist conducts an initial examination and performs an ultrasound, prescribes the necessary examinations. And within two months it is important to find the causes of infertility. During this time, as a rule, the cause is found. And then we develop tactics for further actions.
When visiting a fertility doctor, many people only know about IVF, although today there are other modern methods. But they are all prescribed depending on the indications. It is very important to come to your initial appointment with a fertility specialist together with your man. A reproductive specialist specializes in both men’s and women’s health. The examination of a man and a woman proceeds in parallel. When the overall picture emerges, then tactics are developed.
Tell me about modern effective methods of treating infertility.
Each method has its own indication. For example, in the absence of ovulation, there is a method of stimulating ovulation. We stimulate ovulation and determine the correct day of the cycle for a woman to have sexual intercourse. Insemination is also prescribed according to indications – when a man has an irregular sex life or has some kind of erectile dysfunction. That is, each procedure must have its own indications.
A more complex procedure is IVF. It is divided into many protocols and has many varieties. It all depends on age and related factors. Many details are discussed at the appointment together with the patient. Moreover, we explain everything to every woman in simple, accessible language. Each stage of treatment is discussed with the patient.
The main principle of work is patient awareness. Not only the doctor treats infertility, the patient herself must help him. You cannot undergo examination and treatment without knowing what it is for and why. Therefore, patients must be educated in this sense if they want to achieve results. We recommend that patients read the correct literature and select the information correctly.
How important is the psychological factor when planning pregnancy? Can stressful situations somehow affect conception?
There are couples who are so fixated on the process of childbirth that they begin to live their sex life by the hour. In this case, we recommend that they forget about everything, calm their nerves and live a sexual life for pleasure. Pregnancy will occur if the couple has sexual intercourse once every two to three days, at least twice a week. Living by the clock, keeping calendars, constantly measuring basal temperature are outdated methods. They have a lot of errors.
And most importantly, you should remember: sperm lives in a woman’s genital tract for 2-3 days. And although the egg lives only 24 hours, he will still wait for it. So there is no need to worry or be nervous, and it is better to share your experiences with your doctor. A reproductive specialist should also be a good psychologist, so in any case he will help resolve all issues.
What useful habits should those who are planning a pregnancy acquire?
We recommend everyone who is planning a pregnancy to lead a healthy lifestyle. Smoking should be avoided and alcohol consumption should be minimized. It is advisable to introduce physical activity into your life for 30-40 minutes three times a week – together with your husband. Of the variety of vitamins, only folic acid is necessary for conception! Couples planning a pregnancy should not limit themselves in everything and live as if in an incubator, closed off from the whole world. The couple should continue their usual way of life, without changing it radically, but at the same time without introducing something completely new. The main thing is to give up your bad habits!
Another recommendation for girls who are actively involved in sports is to gradually reduce the load once pregnancy occurs. And for those who engage in active sports, dietary supplements should be excluded. This is especially true for men, since hormone-containing supplements have a detrimental effect on sperm quality!
Your wishes to couples dreaming of having children.
Health and happiness! So that every married couple dreaming of a baby can achieve their cherished pregnancy as soon as possible. If you have health problems and are about to undergo an IVF procedure, do not forget that IVF is a thousand little things. And every little thing can play an important role in achieving your cherished goal. Therefore, listen to the advice of a fertility doctor, lead a healthy lifestyle so that your cherished dream comes true quickly! No need to waste time on popular and useless methods as a piece of advice from girlfriends and guyfriends, please seek the help of pure medicicne already today, beginning with a thorough check up on the way to you dream cherished motherhood.