KATHMANDU: A significant number of individuals are encountering fertility challenges lately.
Medical professionals attribute the upsurge in infertility cases to contemporary dietary patterns and lifestyles, as compared to previous generations.
Approximately 20 to 25 years ago, women led different lives compared to the present. In the past, women would typically marry and start families at an earlier age, which, according to medical experts, contributed to a lower prevalence of infertility issues during that time.
Recently, medical professionals have observed a rise in infertility cases, particularly among women who prioritize their education and careers.
While doctors acknowledge that it can be beneficial for women to become mothers around the age of 30, they caution that giving birth after the age of 35 can introduce various challenges and complications.
Gynecologist Dr. Nutan Sharma talked to Khabarhub on the issue. Excerpts:
What factors contribute to the growing issue of infertility?
Infertility is typically defined as the inability of a married couple to conceive a child within approximately one year of having unprotected sexual intercourse without utilizing any temporary family planning methods.
However, it is important to note that in certain cases, there is still a possibility of achieving pregnancy within the second year of marriage.
If conception does not occur beyond that timeframe, it is generally categorized as infertility.
What are the reasons behind the increasing prevalence of infertility?
The main contributing factor to the increasing prevalence of infertility is delayed marriage.
In modern times, women prioritize their future, careers, and personal aspirations over marriage and starting a family, resulting in a decline in the significance placed on early marriage and childbirth.
In the past, a girl’s life revolved around getting married and having children. However, as marriage is delayed, the likelihood of experiencing fertility issues increases.
Even if individuals do get married, they often postpone childbirth. It’s important to note that every female is born with a fixed number of eggs, which gradually decreases each month.
Therefore, the optimal age for childbearing is typically considered to be between 22 and 30 years, with potential risks associated with conceiving after the age of 30.
What are the underlying factors contributing to infertility and childlessness?
The problem of infertility can arise due to various factors, such as irregular menstruation in women, fallopian tube blockage, uterine infections, uterine tumors, advanced maternal age, underdeveloped uterus since birth, history of previous abortions or recurrent miscarriages, cysts and tumors in the male reproductive system, and inadequate development of male genitalia.
These factors can contribute to difficulties in conceiving and experiencing infertility-related challenges.
What are the available options for treating infertility when other methods have been unsuccessful?
Simple treatments are successful in curing approximately 60 to 70 percent of patients with infertility.
However, for the remaining 25 percent of individuals, further examination of their bodies is necessary to determine the underlying causes.
In approximately 10 to 15 percent of cases, or roughly 1 in 100 individuals, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is required as a potential solution.
What does ‘IVF’ (In Vitro Fertilization) stand for and how does it work?
IVF, which stands for In Vitro Fertilization, is a method commonly referred to as “making a test tube baby.”
It involves an artificial extraction of a man’s sperm and a woman’s ovum. These reproductive cells are combined in a laboratory setting, where fertilization occurs, and an embryo is formed.
Subsequently, the developed embryo is transferred and implanted into the woman’s uterus, where it has the potential to result in a pregnancy. IVF is particularly beneficial in cases where both of a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked, as it allows for the introduction of donor sperm for fertilization.
Additionally, it can be employed when a man’s sperm is not viable, utilizing the eggs of another woman.
IVF offers hope to couples facing infertility and provides a viable solution to achieve parenthood.
What are the financial expenses associated with undergoing IVF treatment?
IVF treatment is often considered costly compared to other fertility treatments due to the laboratory procedures involved in growing eggs and sperm into embryos.
The expenses associated with IVF can vary depending on the specific needs of the patient. On average, the costs can range up to Rs three lakhs.
What measures can be taken to address and reduce infertility?
To mitigate the risk of infertility, it is advisable to consider timely marriage and parenthood.
If individuals find themselves occupied and unable to have a child at present, one option is to undergo egg freezing around the age of 27 or 28.
By preserving eggs through this process, individuals can retain the opportunity to have a child even after several years.
It is essential for those who marry later in life to prioritize starting a family and consider having children as an initial step.