Yummy mummies in their thirties or forties

Login to Health November 3, 2017 Mens Health, Womens Health 746 Views

For 37 year old Kathleen D’sa of Chicago, getting pregnant was an ordeal. The young air-hostess was aware that with every passing year after 35, her chances of conceiving would reduce while the risk of miscarriage would increase. She recollects how Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) came to her rescue, with an extremely supportive and progressive gynecologist/obstetrician who guided her through steps, along with a counselor – all this, when she couldn’t conceive for over a year. Luckily, for Kathleen, despite a high pressure job, she received a lot of co-operation from her colleagues. Another important factor that made a difference, was that western society is more accepting of and sympathetic towards childless couples than in the Indian subcontinent where the pressure and the blame solely on the woman is tremendous.  Besides, societal expectations, there are also cultural barriers towards infertile couples in India, with the most common attitude towards adoption of children, being rejection. So, unfortunately in India, childless couples are subjected to a lot of ridicule and disrespect with the woman bearing the brunt of it primarily with the most-scathing taunt, of being “barren”. In vitrio fertilization (IVF) is a boon for such couples even though it may be very expensive for most couples.

Combination of some therapies a women may try to conceive!

  1. Fertility drugs which stimulate ovulation: Medications are an effective way to treat ovulation disorders and many a times to induce ovulation. However, there are risks associated and your gynecologist or Reproduction/IVF Specialist would be able to guide you on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Intrauterine insemination (IUI): In this procedure, when an ovary releases one or more eggs, healthy sperm are inserted directly into the uterus. Fertility medications may complement the normal cycle.
  3. Surgery: Certain complication and, disorders like uterine problems such as endometrial polyps, intrauterine scar tissue or uterine septum require hysteroscopic surgery.

For 28 year old Aruna Mirpuri, it was a ‘scourge’ for not having conceived even after four years of marriage. Traditional in-laws had done the rounds with her – astrologers, pundits, appeasing various gods and goddesses with fasts, eating protein-rich food when instructed by a baba, or not eating certain foods as mentioned by the so-called learned men. Finally, Aruna and her husband were advised by their neighbor to go the scientific way – to approach an infertility expert. Her husband was reluctant but Aruna did not let him back out. At the onset, her already-hesitant hubby needed to face a session that required him to answer certain sexual habits, before even the preliminary round of infertility testing was to be conducted. The hospital that Aruna selected had encountered many such cases and hence before her husband could become churlish and further aggravate the situation, its counselling team swung into action. They helped him understand the situation with scientific facts, sifting out yarn generated by superstition and stereotypical beliefs. The unlearning greatly helped him overcome his inhibitions and made him feel equally responsible as a spouse – a far cry from his earlier chauvinistic self. Needless to say, this made Aruna feel significantly better, altering her mindset too from being negative to one no longer ruled by hopelessness and despondency.

Polycystic ovary syndrome was ruled out; nor was there any need for tubal surgery. Aruna’s husband was now determined to stand by her and prevent unpleasant domestic situations from flaring up. He took great pains to  explain to his parents about endometriosis, IVF, how it works and miscarriage being a common occurrence. It was extremely difficult for them to break free from the conventional mould of “It’s her problem, she can’t bear a child.” The concept of ‘low sperm count’ was indeed a revelation to them, one that was most disconcerting, to say the least. Besides this, he himself came across and comprehended the wide plethora of reasons behind male infertility and their diagnosis – ranging from genetic testing, imaging to testicular biopsy and in the rarest of cases tests to determine DNA abnormalities.

Many Indian women will resonate with experiences similar to Aruna’s. For couples yearning to hear the pitter patter of little feet, IVF brings hope. But there are a few factors to consider:

  • Infertility experts do not advocate IVF as the first form of treatment (exception being tubal surgery) and will recommend it only after all else has failed – artificial insemination, fertility drugs and surgery.
  • Hormone treatments are exhorbitant. Certain procedures are not covered by insurance.
  • Specialists treating severe fertility problems may have lower success rate. Do not be swayed by results. The skill and expertise of the fertility doctor and specialist are paramount.
  • Duration and cost of storing embryos, as well as knowing about embryo transfer, egg donation program and other such related aspects, require careful study and analysis.

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