Diagnosing infertility in men and women: Considering treatment options

Diagnosing infertility in men and women: Considering treatment options

Heart Icon - Udaan
share

09 November 2023 . 4 min read

Conception Challenges! What is Infertility?

Let's talk, babies! Or, more precisely, the sometimes bumpy road to making them. We get it- words like 'infertility' can sound clinical and intimidating. But let's take a minute to unravel this. Infertility is just a term for when nature needs a little nudge. You might be dealing with it if you've been trying to have a baby for a year or so without that positive test. And guess what? You're not alone!

It can affect both men and women and can be caused by hormonal imbalances, organic issues involving the reproductive tract, genetics, and various lifestyle factors. With many scientific advancements, we also have access to many treatment options. So, let’s dive in!

 

Diagnosing infertility in men and women: your first step towards building a family

So, what happens in our bodies that sometimes makes it tricky to conceive? To find the root cause of infertility, men and women must undergo a series of tests and evaluations.

a. In males

Male fertility depends on well-balanced hormone levels, particularly testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). They help produce good quality and quantity of sperm. Fluctuations in these hormones can affect sperm count and motility, shape, and size.

Diagnostic tests for male infertility include:

  • Blood tests measure hormone levels.
  • Semen analysis to evaluate sperm quality.

b. In females

Female infertility can result from various factors, including ovulatory disorders, structural abnormalities, and hormonal imbalances.

Diagnostic tests for female infertility include:

  1. Ovulation tracking:
  • Basal body temperature (BBT) charting: monitoring daily body temperature to identify the subtle rise indicating ovulation.
  • Cervical mucus analysis: observing cervical mucus consistency and appearance changes throughout the menstrual cycle.
  1. Blood tests for hormone levels:
  • Progesterone, estrogen, and thyroid hormone levels assessment
  • The follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) test assesses ovarian function on specific menstrual cycle days.
  • An anti-müllerian hormone (AMH) test is done to predict the number of eggs remaining (ovarian reserve)
  1. Pelvic ultrasound
  • A test that uses sound waves to create images of the organs in the lower belly, like the uterus and ovaries, to check for any problems related to fertility
  1. Transvaginal ultrasound:
  • A test where a small probe is placed in the vagina to take images of the uterus to check for issues.
  1. X-ray hysterosalpingogram:
  • A special x-ray test where a dye is put into the uterus to check if the fallopian tubes (tubes that connect ovaries to the uterus) are open and can let an egg meet sperm.
  1. Hysteroscopy:
  • A procedure where a thin tube with a camera is put into the uterus through the vagina to see if any problems inside the uterus could affect fertility.
  1. Saline sonohysterogram:
  • a test where saline is put into the uterus through the cervix to create clearer images during an ultrasound, helping to spot any potential issues.

Both men and women may be asked to undergo genetic testing to screen for chromosomal abnormalities or genetic disorders that could affect fertility and reproduction.

 

Pathways to parenthood: infertility treatment options for males and females

Once you’ve figured out the underlying cause, several treatment options available for both men and women could get you on the path to parenthood faster and easier!

a. For males:

  1. Assisted reproductive techniques (ART): in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). In cases of severely impaired sperm production, surgical procedures can retrieve viable sperm directly from the testes.
  2. Medication and hormone therapy
  3. Surgical interventions to deal with varicoceles or clearing blockages in the reproductive tract.
  4. Lifestyle modifications like a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management are natural ways to improve fertility.

b. For females:

  1. Medications can stimulate ovulation in irregular or absent ovulation cycles or balance hormones in conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  2. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are artificial reproductive techniques.
  1. Surgery can correct issues like blocked fallopian tubes and endometriosis.

In addition to medical methods, you may also wonder how to increase fertility in women. Remember the age-old wisdom: a healthy lifestyle can do wonders! Both men and women can benefit from balanced eating, getting active, and maybe a bit of meditation.

 

Conclusion

Here's the thing - the journey to parenthood can sometimes feel like you're climbing Mount Everest without a map! But reaching that peak is possible with the right guidance, tools, patience, and persistence. Infertility can be challenging, but with medical advancements, there is hope for couples struggling to conceive. It's okay to ask for help because your dreams of having a baby are worth every step!