Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
Not being able to have a baby is called infertility and it is as much a responsibility of the husband as the wife. In fact, in one third of the cases, infertility is due to problems in you - the female partner, and in one third your husband is responsible. In the rest there may be problems in both the partners.
If the couple is having issues in conceiving, along with the fertility tests for the wife, the husband should also have his semen analyzed where the number, movement, quality and appearance of his sperm is tested. This should be done early so that invasive and expensive testing of the wife can be prevented. Further testing may also be required in some cases. However it is important to remember that any medication given to the husband will improve the sperms 3 months later, since the immature sperms spend that time in those tortuous tubules before ejaculation.
Problems in the sperm may be due to infections like sexually transmitted diseases or blocks in the tubes carrying the semen. Sometimes the semen may not come out but reverses back to enter the urinary bladder resulting in infertility. This is known as Retrograde Ejaculation and is caused by diabetes, certain medicines or injury to the genital-urinary system.
Sexual problems or impotence can cause infertility and maybe due to anxiety, stress, diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or medicines like anti-depressants. Varicoceles are enlarged veins in the scrotum; found commonly in 15-40% of men with infertility. They prevent proper flow of blood and cause heating of the sperms, resulting in decreased sperm production. Some of these issues can be treated with lifestyle changes with respect to weight, drugs, alcohol, and stress or by addition of medicines or hormones and in some cases may require surgery, which may not be successful always.
Sometimes, proper fertility treatments may be required to conceive. Artificial intra-uterine insemination (IUI) is an infertility treatment, which is done after preparing and nourishing the sperms in the laboratory and placing them directly inside the uterus via a tube. It is a simple way of overcoming many problems. Some cases may require Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) like IVF aka ‘test tube baby’. Even a single sperm present in a man’s testes can be retrieved to be injected directly into an egg to fertilize it in the laboratory in an amazing method called ICSI (Intra Cytoplamic Sperm Injection).
So, if you are not able to conceive, please visit your Gynecologist and get yourself and your husband tested for infertility. With science to rescue, there is always hope!
This article has been written by Dr. Nirja Chawla, Director, Obstetrics Gynaecology & Allied Services, Paras Bliss.