What is fertility treatment?
Fertility treatments are techniques to achieve pregnancy. Infertility is a problem that affects one in six couples of childbearing age. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 15% of men and women may have a fertility problem.
Fertility treatment is usually administered by a fertility specialist or fertility doctor, often a gynecologist who specializes in infertility problems and treatment.
It is important to distinguish the terms infertility and sterility. The former refers to when the couple is able to achieve pregnancy but miscarries and the baby is not born. On the other hand, sterility is when the couple is unable to achieve gestation.
Why is it performed?
Assisted reproduction treatments are performed when there are fertility problems that hinder pregnancy. Normally these problems come from both sides of the couple. Currently, one of the biggest drawbacks is the advanced age for childbearing but there are also other factors such as semen quality, influenced by the environmental situation.
The waiting time before going to a fertility consultation will vary depending on the maternal age. In the case of women under 35 years of age, it is recommended to wait one year, but if the woman is over 35, it is advisable to see a specialist after the first six months of normal sexual relations.
Infertility affects one out of every six couples of childbearing age.
What does it consist of?
The most common fertility treatment alternatives are the following:
- In vitro fertilization: the process lasts between nine and eleven days and consists of joining the egg and the sperm in a laboratory. It can be performed by the classic method or by intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
- Artificial insemination: this technique consists of depositing a semen sample in the uterus during ovulation. The process lasts between eight and ten days.
- Vitrification: this technique makes it possible to preserve fertility and postpone a woman’s reproductive capacity for as long as she wishes. This option, for example, is a great hope for women diagnosed with cancer who do not want to give up the possibility of becoming mothers.
- Egg donation or sperm donation.
Preparation for fertility treatment
Before undergoing fertility treatment, the specialist will make an initial contact with the patients, asking a series of medical questions and questions about eating habits, as well as possible toxic habits. They will also inquire about the family health history of both members of the couple, which is important both for the patients and for the future child.
Some of the tests that the specialist will perform are:
- Ultrasound: a transvaginal ultrasound allows the condition of the uterus, ovaries, tubes, etc. to be assessed. It allows a correct diagnosis of the main cause of sterility.
- Semen sample: the doctor will assess whether it is normal or needs some kind of help to achieve gestation.
- Blood tests: they are used to rule out infectious diseases, hormone analysis, possible additional studies in relation to personal and family history, among others.
It is important to follow the specialist’s recommendations after any of the fertility treatments. Generally speaking, there are the following points to follow:
- Follow a balanced diet free of excess.
- Avoid the consumption of tobacco and alcohol, as well as other toxic substances.
- Notify the health personnel in case you need an x-ray or similar.
- It is advisable to do gentle exercise but avoid great efforts.
- Drink water to promote optimal cell function.