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Home  |  Infertility Overview

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after at least one year of unprotected intercourse.

By this definition the duration of the failure to conceive should be 12 or more months before an investigation is undertaken unless medical history and physical findings dictate earlier evaluation and treatment.

Of all the pregnancies that occur after unprotected timed intercourse, 78 – 85 % are achieved in the first 6 months of trying.

Several reasons that could merit a need for speedier intervention and evaluation of a couple would include, an older age in the women (above 35years) or when there is a reason and suspected cause of infertility like endometriosis, Pelvic infections, anovulation etc.

The single most important factor that influences a couple’s chance of conceiving is the woman’s age. There is an accelerated decline of the woman’s fertility after the age of 37 years. This is mainly caused by accelerated loss of egg tissue (oocytes) in the ovaries, a natural phenomenon of the ageing in the woman. In addition to the reduced number of
eggs, the quality of eggs is also reduced, chromosomal abnormalities in the eggs often times cause abnormalities in the fertilization (poor outcome in ART) and may also result in early pregnancy losses. On the whole, 30% of reasons for failure to conceive could be male factor problems, 30% could be female infertility and 30% could be “unexplained” infertility. In some an overlap of all the above reasons would exist.

On 25th July 1978, Louise Joy Brown, was the first successful ‘test tube’ baby to be born in the world in Great Britain.

Since then, nearly 2,00,000 IVF cycles are performed worldwide every year and about 1000000 children have been born through this technique. Advances in IVF technology enables conception and childbirth in couples with conditions that were in the past considered to be uncorrectable. Advances in genetic diagnosis makes it possible now to identify diseased embryos prior to implantation.