BENGALURU: Around 30 per cent of all infertility cases are unexplained, says a city-based fertility expert.
When a couple has not conceived even after two years of unprotected sex and all other disorders related to the reproductive systems are ruled out, they are diagnosed with unexplained infertility. Factors like age, lifestyle, food and pollution can contribute to the condition, however they are not the only reasons. This is neither hereditary nor race specific.
Thanuja (35), a former corporate employee, was diagnosed with unexplained infertility when even after years of trying, she had not been able to conceive.
“I had consulted many doctors in Bengaluru and the US. They put me through the same tests and the result was always the same - both my husband and I were normal and fertile,” Thanuja recalls.
After three attempts of Intra-uterine Insemination (IUI) failed, In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF) — where mature eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and fertilised by the sperm in a lab and the fertilised egg is implanted in the uterus — was suggested to the couple.
The procedure was costly and Thanuja was not satisfied with the doctor’s approach. “It did not feel right. So I consulted Dr Aviva Pinto of Nova IVI Fertility Centre who suggested many alternatives,” she says.
Thanuja recalls the difficult period. “It was frustrating and depressing. Every month, I underwent treatment and I hoped to conceive. But I got my period every time and I felt sad and hopeless. People started commenting on how I couldn’t get pregnant even after six years of being married,” she says.
While everyone thought the fault was hers, she didn’t bother explaining herself. Nor did she fall for people’s superstitious advice.
“Someone suggested that I feed my husband almonds, while another told me to visit a temple at five in the morning. My husband and I didn’t do any of that. We quietly prayed though,” she says.
Thanuja even considered adoption. “Though the medication did not have many side-effects, they made me emotional. I used to cry day and night,” she says.
The IVF was successful and the couple finally conceived. “But the idea to adopt our next child is still on our minds,” she says.
Thanuja is now a happy mother to Anika, who is almost two now. “My lifestyle has completely changed. Anika is a very co-operative yet opinionated child. I would never trade this joy for anything,” she shares.
“Hang in there,” is the advice she gives to all parents trying to have a child. “It might feel like the end of the world. But everything happens when the time is right. Becoming a mother is the most beautiful experience. Do not ever lose hope,” she says.
“Fifty to 60 per cent of young couples diagnosed with unexplained fertility have been able to conceive through other means. But the success rate comes down with age,” says Dr Aviva Pinto.
“The ova of Asian women expire sooner and cannot be compared to those of Caucasian women. So we cannot ape the West here,” she explains.
Infertility treatment comes with a huge price tag and not all patients can afford the diagnosis and treatment. “We explain the cost and side-effects clearly early on. If we find out that treatment is impossible, we recommend adoption,” she adds.