- A map makes exploration simpler in an uncharted land. Like a new city that you visit on vacation. It’s a great feel to sit in a cafe with the map spread out and make plans to travel in the city.
- Now, this map is just a means to help us get around. A convenient apparatus.It will help us reach our destination quicker. It gives us a sense of direction. The map is strangely silent about the experiencing of the destination. We all know that feeling- we follow the excellent map and reach the place we want to be at and are completely disappointed with what we find there or in other instances awestruck with the beauty and magnificence of the sight we behold. Sometimes we have followed the map and yet somehow lost our way!
- As I sit before you at my clinic, I am like your map. As a Fertility doctor, I will lay out the routes in your journey to parenthood. I can make your journey a little simpler and quicker. I try and find newer paths when the old ones don’t lead you to your destination. Sometimes I am the map that will help you very , very quickly and sometimes it’s a bit muddled and slow.
- A map always helps. To negotiate a road you haven’t travelled to.
Yesterday I wrote about understanding how a regulated, synchronized menstrual cycle was very essential for a conception to occur. I also explained how we could have a more productive day when our day followed a precise structure. I also drew an analogy between the two events , for easy understanding. We all know that sometimes our day can just fall apart- nothing goes as planned . This could happen for any number of reasons, we may wake up late, miss the bus to work etc.. Similarly, inside our bodies, for many reasons the various signals can get missed or jumbled and this can result in delayed menses, irregular menses or any thing similar. The reasons for mis firings of these signals could be an imbalance in the hormones, for example a low thyroid hormone level, it could be a response of a hormone to a stressful situation- a surge of steroids or it could be a disease in the uterus or ovaries. Whatever be the reason, the end result is a lack of an environment that is essential for a healthy pregnancy. In my practice, I have found stress, thyroid abnormalities and an unhealthy body weight to be the most common trigger factors for irregular menses. Each of these factors ultimately prevent regulated formation of healthy eggs and a healthy uterine lining, both factors that are very important for conception. Luckily for us, most of these factors can be dealt with and corrected. So, you see, that pink cycle in that picture? Well, getting on it and cycling your way to a healthy body weight could be the first thing that you could do to set right your inner rhythm.
All of us have seen those kind of days- you know, the ones where we are up on time in the morning, eat, exercise and work on perfect schedule and feel great about how everything fell into place so well. That feeling of ease and comfort makes us feel relaxed and happy.
It’s probably a similar phenomenon that goes on inside a woman’s body when all the hormones are balanced, the signals to the ovaries and uterus are perfectly timed and the body is in the best possible situation to start a pregnancy .
So what is a perfect menstrual cycle? What makes the rhythm and pace inside the body completely attuned to conception?
There needs to be a communication between the brain, the ovaries and the uterus. The objective of this is to ensure a synchronized growth of a healthy egg, its timely release into the Fallopian tube- a phenomenon called as ovulation and also the development of a healthy, spongy and sticky lining in the uterine cavity. Hormones play a large role in regulating all these events. If the woman were to conceive in that cycle, she will not be menstruating that month onwards. The uterus will be growing to preserve and protect the baby. If there is no conception, then the uterus will shed the lining and it appears as a menstrual flow.
Several reasons could affect these synchronous events. I will write about all that soon. For now, it’s good to understand that just as we get more out of our day when we are sticking to a schedule, something similar happens inside a woman’s body too. There seems to be a great need for a regulated working of different systems to help her increase her chances of conception.Life Clinic Ivf will give you more information on fertility and conception.
As promised, here I am with the second part of my earlier blog . This post will be more specific. It will help you if you are trying to conceive and have been advised treatment.
About 30% of couples who have difficulty conceiving may have test investigations reported as normal. So if you have been in this situation, you may be told that you have “Unexplained Infertility “.
It’s possible that if I were to perform a set of new tests, maybe using latest technology I just might be able to unearth hitherto unseen reasons for the Infertility. The “Unexplained ” factor may find reasons and answers in the future. We can now test minute functions of sperms, body fluids and even test embryos in the IVF lab.
So , coming back to here and now- what is the best way forwards if you have unexplained infertility? Here is what I would do:-
A) Explain to you the benefits of conceiving sooner rather than later. This is especially true if you have been married for over 5 years or if you are over 35 years old. To hasten the process of conception, the treatment could be medications for inducing ovulation, intrauterine insemination or in some cases IVF.
B) If you are uncomfortable with the above suggestions, you would be counseled and encouraged to keep trying to conceive on your own. Weight loss, healthy work-life balance, yoga and exercise will greatly aid conception.
Those that opt out of a treatment plan will conceive too- it may take longer and more persistent efforts, but at least half the couples in this group will see success in 2-3 years.
Our minds can understand facts when they are presented to us with some logic and reason. For instance, we can easily accept the fact that over eating can make us fat. Or the fact that we could become diabetic if we are overweight. And when a blood test shows an elevated sugar level we know that it is a diagnosis for Diabetes. So it’s obvious that we look for proof of a disease or condition via a set of clinical tests and when the test results come out as normal we are reassured that we are healthy and fine.
So far, so good. Now, this sense of relief may give us no indication of wellbeing in some situations. Yes, this brings me back to a regular day at my fertility clinic.
About 30% of couples who come to a clinic seeking medical help to get pregnant may have absolutely normal clinical reports. And yet they aren’t able to conceive. This is Unexplained Infertility.
So, what’s Unexplained Infertility all about? I am going to give a little bit of information today and will continue all about it in my next blog page. We need to understand that our bodies are dynamic structures. Blood flows, heart beats , nerve cells fire responses, eggs are released into the Fallopian tube, sperms swim fast towards the eggs and so on…These events need a certain order, a rhythm ,a sequence. It is meant to happen in a very precise way. It is possible that a tiny error can jumble everything and what is meant to be a beautiful symphony can end up as a discordant, broken tune in our bodies.
The manner in which the laboratory conducts tests on fertility hormones or sperm function may really not reflect what really goes amiss within our bodies. Hence we tell you that it could be Unexplained Infertility.
Getting pregnant can sometimes take a long while. The wait to conceiving can be stressful. Meeting the right doctor can help in making a decision. In my own clinic, Life Fertility Clinic, I help many couples take a step in the right direction.
- Are you over 35 years old? If yes, IVF is the best method to help you conceive quickly. The older the age of the woman, the longer it takes to get pregnant. There is a natural drop in fertility that affects all women.
- Have you been married for over 5 years? You will probably have been trying to get pregnant for over 2-3 years by now. IVF is your best choice of treatment.
- Do you have unhealthy Fallopian tubes?- Healthy and patent tubes are important for conception. If the tubes are blocked or unhealthy you can conceive through IVF treatment.
- Does the Semen Assessment report look disappointing?- Very low sperm counts or very poor sperm movement can affect egg-sperm interaction and result in infertility. IVF can help here.
- Repeated failure of intra uterine insemination cycles- have you failed to conceive after more than 3 attempts at intra uterine inseminations? There could be subtle defects in egg and sperm transportation. IVF can get you pregnant.
- Do you have Endometriosis?- advanced Endometriosis can cause difficulties for conception. IVF is the best way to reduce the time to conception.
- Have you undergone several pelvic surgeries?- surgery for Fibroids in the uterus, adenomyosis of uterus or removal of cysts in the ovaries can sometimes reduce fertility. If simple treatment for a year hasn’t resulted in a pregnancy, it’s best to try getting pregnant with IVF.