Discussions on "Optimizing fertility" in "Infertility & Treatments" forum.
30th Apr 2012, 01:31 AM #1
Western Medical Approaches
Few conditions affect a couple emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually as the inability to conceive a child. Yet as couples opt to start families or marry later in life, infertility becomes a very real issue.
Many women and men believe because they previously conceived as a teen or early 20 something by accident getting pregnant (or getting her pregnant) when you’re ready to start a family will be easy. Obviously you’re fertile. Unfortunately from the mid to late thirties and early forties for a woman or for a man in his forties, fifties and sixties, easy may no longer be the operative word. Suddenly being blessed with a family is no longer a certainty and each day that passes, your chances to conceive and carry to term diminish. Pregnancy becomes a scientific experience of monitoring, temperatures, cycles and schedules. For many couples, that act of making a baby becomes work, not love. Fortunately, science has enabled many to still conceive, at times too many at once. Other options also exist which are not as costly or medical. If you are a couple trying to conceive and having trouble, you have two primary courses of action: Fertility specialist or an alternative medical practitioner.
What is defined as infertility?
Infertility is the inability to conceive on the part of either the female or male after one year of unprotected sexual activity.
The optimum age for a woman is twenty-seven. At twenty-seven she has a one in four chance of conceiving each month. By age forty-two, her chances drop to just seven percent. Most of the celebrity births we read about after age forty were conceived using a donor egg from a teen or twenty-something female. There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that a woman taking birth control pills for ten or more years decreases her chances of becoming pregnant upon cessation of the monthly therapy.
What are the causes of infertility?
The initial diagnostic evaluation of infertility routinely examines identifiable causes by utilizing a routine sexual, health and menstrual histories, blood tests, diagnostic tests and hormonal assays. Tubal blockage, ovarian cysts and other problems originating in the delivery of the egg to the uterus are the top reason women have trouble conceiving. In older women, thirty-five plus with no outstanding problems the main cause is simply old eggs. Each woman is born with a specific number of eggs. Unlike sperm, these are not regenerated. When they are gone, they are gone. For men the most common problem is varicocoele or the wrapping of the veins around the testicles. This inhibits the production of sperm and prevents it from leaving his body and entering hers. SEE GRAPH OF MOST COMMON CAUSES.
BIOMEDICAL and SURGICAL Approaches:
There are several different treatment strategies in both Western biomedical/surgical medicine and in the Eastern Energy-focused systems. It is important to keep in mind that the problems they are fixing may coincide.
The causes of infertility in women and men are diverse. A comprehensive workup by the team of physicians (including the primary care doctor and fertility specialists) is required to pinpoint the specific problem of a given person. Rather than go into the individual details of each test used to diagnose each condition, this article focuses on the premise that there are a host of medical conditions contributing to infertility that may be diagnosed and subsequently treated.
Tests for infertility range from hormone analysis studies, which determines problems with sperm production or ovulatory (egg-tube-uterus) disorders, to invasive diagnostic exams to visualize problems with sperm structure or anomalies that block transport of the sperm through the female reproductive tract. Common diseases such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic adhesions from surgery or prior infections can all cause structural abnormalities that can be treated once diagnosed. Once treated fertility is generally restored.
What are some of the current treatments
available for restoring fertility?
1. Medications: Depending on the cause, the most popular medications are hormone-inducing drugs that aid in ovulation such as Clomid. These are the medications responsible for the release of multiple eggs. This is what causes multiple gestations and ultimately multiple births. Medications such as hormonal suppressant or stimulating drugs can often be utilized to suppress medical conditions (such as Polycystic Ovarian Disease or thyroid deficiencies) that may affect ovulation or optimal fertilizing conditions.
2. Hysterosalpingogram: Try not to choke on this word. Hyster—comes from uterus, salpingo—comes from fallopian tube, and gram—is a radiographic test that injects a contrasting fluid into the woman’s reproductive organs for easy visualization under an x-ray. This is frequently used as a non-surgical method to see the reproductive tract. Obstructions can be seen through this system that may prevent normal sperm penetration or egg release. TOP
3. Laparoscopy: If there is evidence of endometriosis or a suspicion past surgical adhesions are blocking the reproductive pathway, this surgical procedure is able to remove cysts and fibroids thus opening the channels with a simple incision under the belly button. Through this incision, the doctor inserts a tiny video camera. Frequently the laparoscopic procedure is utilized for both diagnosis and treatment. One of the most frequent causes for infertility is a complication arising from a prior pelvic infection.
4. ART: (Assisted Reproductive Technologies)
i) IUIS: (intra-uterine insemination): This is an in-office procedure that allows cleansed sperm to be collected and injected into the uterus through a small tube inserted through cervix at the time of ovulation.
ii) IVF (in-vitro fertilization): This is the famous “test-tube baby” where the egg and sperm are fertilized “in-vitro” or outside of the body in a test tube or dish and placed back into the uterus. It is usually reserved the 5% of couples where problems include endometriosis, immunologic complications, fallopian tube problems, low sperm count, cervical mucous problems, and other unknown complications.
iii) GIFT and ZIFT (Gamete, Zygote-intrafallopian transfer): These are different from IVF because the egg and sperm are allowed to fertilize in-vitro, yet they are placed immediate (GIFT) or after pre-embryonal development (ZIFT) into the fallopian tubes rather than the uterus. This is usually done via a laparoscopic procedure after intrauterine insemination has been attempted.
iv) ICIS (intra-cytoplasmic insemination): This is the form of treatment for male-factor problems, when the sperm has motility disorders (picture a sperm doing donuts in a parking lot with no direction). A single viable sperm is injected via a pipette into the cytoplasm (the outer layer of the female egg) inducing a forced fertilization.
According to Chinese medical and Ayurvedic medical systems, channels of energy and flow need to be balanced in harmony, otherwise disease and dysfunction can result. Other forms of medical approaches including osteopathy (see “About Dr. Jason” for osteopathic medicine), chiropractic and homeopathy also base disease on an imbalance model, though more closely related to modern biomedicine. What most of these alternative approaches have in common is a focus on balancing the mental, emotional aspects of a patient with the physical aspect....