ICMR Reg. No 10556
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Welcome to Blossom Fertility & IVF Center..

Realising your dream
It is the dream of most couples to have their own children as part of their relationship. In India 1 in 6 couples will have problems conceiving.
The Blossom Fertility and IVF Centre aims to reduce the stress and hassle associated with infertility investigations and treatment, by offering a one-stop diagnostic and treatment service for infertile couples.

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The Infertility Trip

The Recognition

This is a journey that no one intends to start, and no one can be sure how it will end. The first step is the recognition that there may be a problem. The formal definition of infertility is failure to conceive after one year of exposure to pregnancy (“unprotected intercourse”). The concept of waiting one year reflects the reality that usually conception will take place within 6 months of trying and the full year accounts for those cycles where appropriate exposure may not have taken place due to missing the right day for example.

When to start?

Most couples start on this journey at the office of the wife’s gynecologist. During a routine exam, she may mention that she stopped using contraception some time ago and nothing is happening.

The initial evaluation will typically be simple. Most gynecologists will initially recommend that the patient should monitor her fertile period days ,which are between 12 to 16 days of period in regularly menstruating women. These monitoring exercises also serve the very important function of verifying whether the couple is having intercourse at the right time of the month. After this initial step, there is great variability as to how gynecologists will manage their patients who are trying to conceive.

Some GYNs will immediately give the patient some treatment, typically in the form of Clomiphene citrate (Siphene or fertyl) tablets which will enhance or establish ovulation. This may be a waste of time if the cause of the infertility is not related to ovulation but it isn’t completely off base as a starting point since about 20-25% of the time it is. Other GYNs will carry out some series of diagnostic tests in an attempt to establish the cause of the infertility. These tests will typically include evaluations of the husband (semen analysis, post coital tests), the fallopian tubes (hysterosalpingograms or HSG) and occasionally hormonal assessments (blood tests) or even laparoscopy to rule out endometriosis. Some GYNs will immediately refer patients to infertility specialists once the diagnosis has been made. It is certainly reasonable for a GYN to carry out an initial evaluation and even initial treatment but typically if there hasn’t been success within 6-12 months, it is appropriate to see a specialist. Unfortunately, some patients may lose their opportunity to conceive as a consequence of increasing age because they were not treated by a specialist in a timely fashion, especially in those situations where the woman is over 35 years of age.

The advanced journey

If a couple hasn’t conceived under the care of the GYN, they will generally end up under the care of an Infertility specialist.

In any case, once a patient comes to see an infertility specialist, the first step will be to review that which has been done previously. Further diagnostic testing may be required. It is striking how often a couple will be treated without a diagnosis having been identified. A thoughtful infertility specialist will avoid repeating tests which have already been done. The purpose of testing is to arrive at a working diagnosis for the couple’s infertility.

Once a diagnosis is established, directed therapy can be implemented. For example, if the woman is not ovulating, ovulation induction will be necessary. If the husband has borderline sperm concentrations, sperm preparations, which can concentrate the available good sperm and intrauterine inseminations may be used. The medical literature has shown time and again that our therapies are surprisingly efficient; typically a couple will be pregnant within 3 cycles of a given treatment. The caveat is that pregnancy will happen that quickly if it will happen at all. Once again a conscientious infertility specialist will need to reassess and possibly change therapies if success is not reached within this time frame.

In some cases, all testing is normal and we cannot find the “reason” for the couple’s infertility. This is the case about 15% of the time. These couples are thought to have Unexplained or Idiopathic Infertility. This diagnosis can be very difficult emotionally because couples are frustrated when a problem cannot be identified. Clearly there is a problem preventing pregnancy; however we may not have the tools yet to identify what it is. Even though this may be an emotionally difficult diagnosis to deal with, the good news is that couples with Unexplained Infertility have an excellent prognosis for success with treatment… The treatment of the infertile couple is dynamic. It is inappropriate to be dogmatic in this field. As time passes, situations change and we need to be constantly aware of possible new data which will change the diagnosis and therefore treatment. For example, if a woman seeks out therapy at age 40, hopefully one of the first tests that will be done is some assessment of egg quality. While it may have been normal when last checked, it is imperative to recheck it periodically if the couple is still not pregnant. Time is always passing! It is very important that the couple and their doctor work as a team, continuously assessing where they are, where they’ve been and where they are going. The point is that once a diagnosis is available, optimized therapy should be carried out for a few cycles and if there is no success, to re-assess and change course.

The optimal options

Unfortunately some couples will not get pregnant with simpler therapy. Yet many of these couples will be successful with more complex therapies. The “big guns” of infertility treatments fall under the name of the Advanced Reproductive Techniques (ART). There have been many different techniques described over the years, usually alluded to by their abbreviations such as IVF, GIFT, ICSI, TET, ZIFT etc. Today, the dominant procedure (and the original one!) is IVF or In Vitro Fertilization.

IVF is a very powerful tool in that it bypasses non-functioning tubes, it can minimize the impact of endometriosis, and it can bypass male factors. The biggest change in the treatment of infertility in the last 15 years has been the growth of IVF. This is for the very good reason that success rates have risen steadily. As recently as 10 years ago, the best IVF programs in the country had “take home baby rates” of 20%. The best programs today have rates that are almost 3 times higher than that.

The future trend is for IVF to be used earlier in the course of treatment than before. This is not only because it is the most successful therapy option we have available today but also because it will treat just about all problems which may be preventing pregnancy. As the per cycle success rates continue to rise and as we continue to reduce the likelihood of multiple pregnancy, it is only a matter of time before IVF becomes the procedure of choice for the treatment of infertility.

Old age old eggs

We know that all women have a “biological clock.” The difficult part is to determine when a given woman has undergone the transition from having “good” eggs to “bad” eggs. We know that typically this will happen in the decade between ages 35 and 45 but it can actually happen at any time.

Furthermore, this transition is not necessarily related to timing of menopause, so a woman will not have any hints or symptoms that her eggs may be decreasing in quality. By the time symptoms such as irregular cycles, hot flashes etc. appear, it may be too late. It is imperative that a physician treating an infertile couple checks for egg quality. If a woman has abnormal egg quality (usually referred to as “abnormal ovarian reserve”) all therapies which rely on her eggs will have a very poor likelihood of success (less than 5% chance of healthy live born babies, unfortunately). Furthermore, our treatments, regardless of complexity or simplicity, will not increase the baseline likelihood of success. This raises the question of ethics in that if the therapy we offer a couple is not going to make pregnancy any more likely, should we carry it out?

If a woman over 35 has normal ovarian reserve, however, she deserves aggressive efficient therapy. Time is of the essence and the couple should proceed quickly trough the options. Obviously whoever is taking care of the couple shouldn’t waste any time.

Any other routes?

Sometimes the couple won’t be able to establish a pregnancy because of egg quality issues. The traditional options for these couples have been to remain as they are as a family or to pursue adoption.
Those are still the right options for many couples. For others however, these are not the right choices. By using in vitro fertilization techniques, we can establish pregnancies using eggs donated by another woman. This is analogous to the situations where the husband is sterile and a sperm donor is used. In the process of egg donation, healthy eggs are retrieved from an egg donor and by means of IVF, these eggs are then inseminated with the husband’s sperm and the resulting embryos are transferred back into the uterus of the wife who is the egg recipient. Technically the process is fairly straightforward and these are highly successful IVF procedures. Emotionally, however, this may not be the right option for all couples. Obviously this is a very individual decision and all couples should undergo extensive evaluation and counseling to ensure that this is the right path for them on their journey to create the family they envision.

Road less travelled!

Sometimes our treatments don’t work. The vast majority of couples presenting for the treatment of infertility will be successful and will do so in a short amount of time. Most don’t need complex, expensive therapy, such as IVF, and will conceive with simpler office based therapy. Unfortunately, some couples will not conceive. Sometimes we know why, e.g. poor quality eggs as a consequence of age. And sometimes we never find out the why. Regardless of this, we have to deal with this outcome since human beings are emotional creatures.

After couples have resolved their situation, different choices will be available. If the lack of success is due to poor quality eggs, donor eggs have enabled these couples to be parents. Adoption is the right choice for some couples. Other couples may choose to remain as they are, remembering that they married and decided to make a life together because of each other and not because of possible future progeny. While treating infertile couples, we have found that the process is as important as the outcome. Of course we wish every couple could have a healthy baby, and we’re ecstatic when that happens. In the cases where it doesn’t happen (and in the ones where it does!) it is most important that after all is said and done we can look back and be at peace with what took place. It is critical that the couple as well as the physician can look back and conclude that we followed the right path in that we didn’t do too much and carry out unethical treatments but we als

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