A Promise Of Pregnancy
The last two decades have been revolutionary for managing infertility, For couples experiencing difficulty in conceiving. there is plenty of hope today, as it is not a lost battle, as it was in the past.
Today, fertility treatment is purely scientific and precise, targeted to determine the cause and have it treated. Besides, there are a lot of options to overcome hurdles. For instance, a woman without a uterus can still have her own child, by borrowing another person’s womb!
Understanding Normal Conception
During normal sexual activity, semen WhiCh consists of millions of sperms is deposited in the vagina. From there, the active and motile sperms travel into the fallopian tube to meet the egg, which is released from the ovary. This is where fertilization of the egg occurs.
The fertilized egg multiplies further, becomes an embryo and travels into the uterus, where it finally imbeds and forms a foetus which then turns into a beautiful baby. So, to produce a baby, it is absolutely necessary that there should be an efficient egg. a motile sperm and a functional uterus.
Very often women delay getting pregnant, till 35 years of age or beyond and plan to start a family only after their career is stabilized. However, it is recommended that women should complete the reproductive process before they turn 35, so as to avoid assistance in reproduction.
Also. sometimes. radiation therapy or chemotherapy used for certain cancers in young women, may temporarily or permanently damage the eggs in the ovaries.
The other risk factors for eggs to be harmed are active smoking and sometimes even passive smoking. through excessive smoking by her partner and previous ovarian surgery for various reasons whereby some part of the ovary may be removed.
Preserving A Woman’s Eggs
Freezing or vitrification of eggs is the process of freezing a young woman’s eggs, if any of the above issues are anticipated, so that young and good quality eggs can be stored for future use, when it is required. But if a woman has not frozen her eggs and if she plans a pregnancy when her eggs have all been exhausted, then She Will need an egg donor. to provide her with the eggs.
Egg donation involves finding an appropriate donor (anonymous), screening her for infections and other diseases such as diabetes, thyroid. etc. matching her physically with the patient concerned, retrieving eggs from the donor, fertilising the eggs with the patient’s husband’s sperm and placing the embryos (‘babies’) in the womb of the patient This is a variation of IVF (In vitro fertilisation or test tube baby). Egg donation provides excellent results for women who have poor quality eggs.
Solutions For A Woman Without A Womb
Unfortunately, there are certain conditions in which a woman is born without a uterus, or has to have it removed due to some medical reasons. With the help of IVF, embryos are prepared with her eggs and her husband’s sperms and then transferred to another woman’s womb. This procedure is called surrogacy.
Surrogates (who carry the baby) also require thorough screening to ensure that no infectious disease is transmitted to the baby, To confirm that the baby is truly that of the biological parents, DNA fingerprinting is done to confirm that the DNA of the baby. is the same as the DNA of the parents and not similar to the DNA of the surrogate, who carries the baby till delivery.
Further, Uterine Transplantation has recently been successfully tried abroad and about ten children have already been born with this procedure! But it may take another five years before it becomes a common clinical service.
Solutions For Men
Semen freezing is also an excellent option prior to chemotherapy or radiation in young men undergoing cancer treatment for their tumours. The semen is frozen, prior to the toxic treatment, because the sperms in the testes get damaged by both radiation and chemotherapy, leading to a poor quality semen sample. In such cases, the male has the option of having a child whenever desired by simply using the frozen sperm.
Therefore, today, there seems to be practically no reason for any couple to be childless. With the help of appropriate counselling and medical assistance, the opportunity to become a mother is now available to almost every single woman desiring a child!
Though it is wonderful to help gain a positive result for a childless couple, it is the responsibility of every centre carrying out such assisted reproductive procedures to maintain strict confidentiality, thorough paperwork, excellent hygiene and impeccable standards of care and ethics.