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Infertility refers to the inability to become pregnant after 12 months of regular sexual intercourse without contraception for women under 35 or, after 6 months for women over the age of 35. Infertility also refers to the inability to bear a child to term.
At the leading IVF clinic in North Cyprus, raising fertility awareness is important in determining when it is time to seek professional help. Approximately 85% of all couples will achieve pregnancy within one year of trying. An additional 7% of couples will conceive in the second year. The remaining 15% of couples will not be able to conceive. We generally recommend seeking medical help if pregnancy has not occurred within 6 to 12 months.
How Does Pregnancy Occur
For a couple to conceive, the following should happen:
- A woman must produce and release a viable egg from one of her ovaries (ovulation).
- A man must produce viable sperm which can successfully fertilize the woman’s egg (fertilization).
- The egg must travel through a fallopian tube toward the uterus (transportation).
- The fertilized egg must attach to the wall of the uterus (implantation).
Causes of Infertility
Infertility can be caused by many factors related to egg or sperm production, genetics, age, or exposure to chemicals and toxins. There are various conditions where a person may be advised to seek medical help before 12 months of trying to conceive.
Infertility in Women
- Menstrual problems: Having menstrual periods indicates that ovulation occurs regularly. If a woman’s cycles happen at longer intervals, it may indicate that she is not ovulating regularly, or even at all. Ovulation is essential for pregnancy to take place. If your menstrual cycles are infrequent or irregular, then it’s time to seek help.
- Age: Ovarian reserve (the number of eggs in a woman’s ovaries) diminishes gradually as a woman gets older. Along with the egg quantity, the quality of her eggs also decreases. As a woman ages, her eggs are more likely to be genetically or chromosomally abnormal. PGD Cyprus (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) or PGS Cyprus (Preimplantation genetic screening) may be advised. Women over 35 are recommended to seek medical help if they have been trying to conceive for 6 months or more.
- Pelvic infections or sexually transmitted diseases: Sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, can cause a blockage in the fallopian tubes due to inflammation and scarring. The fallopian tubes facilitate the process of conception as they enable the mature egg to move from the ovaries and meet the sperm through intercourse. With the help of an ultrasound scan our doctor can detect if the fallopian tubes are open or blocked and an appropriate course of treatment will be advised.
- Uterine abnormalities. Fibroids and endometrial polyps (overgrowth of cells in the uterus or the lining of the uterus) can lower the endometrium’s ability to accept the embryo and support its growth and development during pregnancy. These abnormalities can also cause bleeding between menstrual cycles. Women with a history of any of these abnormalities should get tested after 6 months of trying to conceive. Uterine fibroids can be removed through reproductive surgery in Cyprus.
- Unknown causes: Sometimes fertility tests do not reveal the cause of infertility. But with IVF in Cyprus, even when the causes of infertility are not known, various fertility treatments can be offered to individuals and couples to help them start or grow their family.
Infertility in Men
Some causes of male infertility include:
- Varicocele. This is a condition in which the veins on a man’s testicle(s) become enlarged and prevent the blood flow. Varicoceles can cause sperm to be produced in an insufficient quantity or abnormal shape.
- Ejaculation problems occur when sperm cannot move outward or their transport is delayed. These problems can occur because of surgery, injury, or aging.
- Structural abnormalities can damage or block the reproductive organs, leading to hormonal imbalance, sexual dysfunction, and infertility. Underdeveloped or undescended testes can also decrease a man’s ability to father a child.
- Sperm problems. Low sperm count, poor sperm quality, or abnormal motility or shape are the most common infertility issues found in men.
Can Infertility Be Genetic
Many women are unable to conceive due to certain chromosome abnormalities or single-gene disorders that were passed down from their parent(s). Chromosomally abnormal embryos often lead to miscarriage. Even if an abnormal embryo implants into the uterine lining, there is a great possibility that the pregnancy will not be successful, or the child will be born with birth defects.
An embryo is considered abnormal when one of the following abnormalities occur:
- A missing or extra chromosome
- An upside-down chromosome
- A change in the genetic structure
- Chromosome pieces attached to the wrong chromosome
Single-gene disorders are mutations in the DNA sequence of a specific gene. A lack of a protein caused by a specific gene mutation can alter the way cells work. Single-gene disorders such as cystic fibrosis and Tay Sachs are inherited from the parents and can be easily passed onto the offspring.
Individuals and couples diagnosed with specific chromosomal or genetic defects may benefit from preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) or preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) during their IVF Cyprus treatment. These genetic tests will increase the chances of having a normal pregnancy and a healthy biological child.
Will Endometriosis Cause Infertility
Endometriosis is a condition in which cells that line the uterine cavity (endometrium) grow in other areas of the body. Endometriosis can lead to infertility by causing inflammation and scarring. It can also have a negative effect on the quality of the eggs, sperm or embryos. If you were diagnosed with endometriosis, there are surgical methods that can help you remove endometrial cells. The combination of surgery and IVF at the leading fertility clinic in Cyprus can increase the chances of a successful conception and pregnancy.
Infertility and Obesity
Obesity is an abnormal accumulation of body fat which is usually >20% over an individual’s ideal body weight. This is referred to as a body mass index (BMI) over 30. People in this category are much more likely to face infertility than people of normal weight.
Obesity can cause ovulation and menstrual problems, a decline in egg quality, and a reduced pregnancy rate. Obesity can also affect fertility in men. Some common fertility problems from being overweight include sperm production and erection problems.
The good news is that by making some lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet and doing regular exercise or workout can improve your chances of getting pregnant. Losing even a few kilos can have a positive impact on your ability to conceive.
We understand that losing weight is not easy, but through commitment and dedication, it is possible to achieve healthier body weight and improve your IVF success. The trick is to find people who will support you or even better, people who will be part of the journey itself (your partner for example). This will help you set up healthy lifestyle habits and improve chances for future conception.
How is Infertility Diagnosed
Our euroCARE IVF fertility specialists may order a few tests to check for fertility problems. Some common infertility tests include:
- Transvaginal ultrasound – Ultrasound is an important tool in assessing your ovarian reserve (number of available eggs in the ovaries) and evaluating the uterus, tubes, and ovaries for any structural abnormalities. Many abnormalities can be detected through ultrasound including fibroids and polyps, blocked fallopian tubes, ovarian cysts, etc.
- Laboratory testing – The female partner will have specific blood tests to measure the levels of the following hormones: anti-mullerian hormone (AMH), which is related to the ovarian function and a woman’s egg supply; thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which indicates if there are any problems with the thyroid function; and prolactin (PRL), a hormone that regulates menstruation.
- Semen analysis – The semen analysis is a fertility test that measures: sperm count, concentration, motility (movement), and morphology (shape). Abnormality in any of these parameters may indicate poor quality of sperm and decreased ability of the sperm to fertilize the egg. If your semen analysis results are abnormal, further evaluation is usually required.
- Medical examination – Medical evaluation includes physical exams and medical and sexual histories of both partners. Our doctor may ask you some of the following questions during your fertility consultation: How long have you been trying to get pregnant? How often are you having intercourse? Do you have pain during your menstrual periods or intercourse? Have you been pregnant before? How often do you have menstrual cycles? Do you have any medical problems or prior surgeries? Do you have a family history of medical or genetic problems? These and many other questions will be discussed at your fertility consultation with our IVF specialist to help him develop a personalized treatment for you.
- Other tests (if necessary)
Can Infertility Be Treated
Once diagnosed, infertility can be treated with conventional therapies such as drug treatment or surgical repair of reproductive organs. Alternatively, you may be recommended assisted reproductive technologies to help you get pregnant.
What Are My Infertility Treatment Options
- Artificial Insemination: Intrauterine insemination (IUI) Cyprus is a fertility treatment in which sperm is placed into the uterus. The sperm is washed and prepared for insemination before insemination. The most motile sperm cells are brought closer to the tubes and the released egg. Insemination is accomplished by injecting a large quantity of concentrated sperm into the uterus with the intent to establish a pregnancy.
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Cyprus: IVF is the most successful and commonly used fertility treatment in which eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and are then fertilized by the sperm in our embryology laboratory. IVF has revolutionized assisted reproductive technology and the way fertility specialists help people have a baby. With IVF, fertilization is achieved by injecting single healthy sperm cells into the collected eggs. This method of fertilization is called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) Cyprus. The resulting embryos are grown in the laboratory for three to five days before being transferred to the uterus. Twelve days after the embryo transfer, a woman checks if she’s pregnant using a beta hCG test.
- Third party reproduction: This refers to the fertility treatments where another person provides sperm or eggs to help an individual or couple have a baby. There are four types of third-party reproduction including:
- 1) Sperm Donation Cyprus – a treatment that uses donated sperm to facilitate the fertilization of a woman’s eggs as part of IVF;
- 2) Egg Donation Cyprus – a treatment in which an egg donor donates her eggs to help another woman to conceive in an IVF procedure. The resulting embryos are then transferred into the uterus of the future mother (egg donor recipient) on day three or day five.
- 3) Embryo Donation Cyprus – a treatment where an embryo is created using fresh donor eggs and frozen donor sperm and then transferred into the recipient’s uterus.
- 4) Gestational Surrogacy – a treatment in which another woman receives the embryo and carries the pregnancy to term.
How is IVF Treatment Done
IVF in North Cyprus is a multi-step process that takes about 20 days. The woman undergoes ovarian stimulation to encourage the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Once the eggs reach an optimal size, an hCG injection is administered to stimulate the final maturation of the eggs. Just before ovulation takes place, the mature eggs are retrieved using ultrasound-guided aspiration. The egg retrieval procedure takes only 15 to 20 minutes. Once the eggs are collected, they are handed to the embryologist who evaluates them for maturity and quality and then fertilizes them with the partner’s or donor sperm using ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). The sperm is injected into each mature egg and resulting embryos are placed in a culture medium to allow them to grow before being transferred to the woman’s uterus.
After three to five days, embryos that have displayed excellent quality and have demonstrated appropriate development are selected for transfer into the womb. Embryo transfer is performed at our clinic using a thin, soft, sterile and flexible pre-loaded catheter within 15 minutes. A beta hCG test is carried out 12 to 14 days after the egg retrieval.
Tips to Improve Your Fertility
Lifestyle factors such as nutrition, body weight, exercise, stress, and environmental toxins can have a great effect on your fertility. Here you can find useful tips recommended by our fertility specialist:
- Low-glycemic diet. Avoid processed and sugary foods and replace them with a low-glycemic, wholesome diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, good fats and lean proteins. Incorporate gut-supporting foods like fermented foods, fiber, and probiotics.
- Vitamin supplements. Supplements containing vitamins C and E, zinc, and coenzyme Q10 can increase male and female fertility. Vitamin D, fish oil, and B vitamins are known to decrease infertility.
- Exercise regularly. Increased physical activity can have profound effects on your overall health and fertility.
- Reduce stress. While stress does not cause infertility, infertility in most cases can cause stress and anxiety. There are numerous methods for reducing stress, including yoga, meditation or Tai Chi. Getting enough sleep is also vital for providing rest for your body and being able to find strength in difficult times.
- Limit exposure to environmental toxins. Environmental toxins can cause hormonal imbalance and contribute to infertility.
- Consult a fertility specialist. We encourage you to work with a fertility doctor to address your fertility problems. A personalized treatment plan can help you balance your hormones, overcome infertility, and improve health.
Treating Infertility at euroCARE IVF
Thanks to the many advancements in assisted reproduction technology in recent years, individuals and couples trying to conceive can reach their dream of parenthood and have a healthy child. To determine the best treatment plan for you and your partner (if you have any), we carry out a comprehensive evaluation to determine the cause(s) of infertility. Having an accurate infertility diagnosis can help us to develop a personalized treatment plan that will give you the best chances of conception. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is the most advanced infertility treatment available to both women and men. These modern, state-of-the-art techniques, performed at the euroCARE IVF clinic, have made possible for thousands of individuals and couples to have a baby and build or grow their families with the help of science and expertise. Discover available treatment options at euroCARE IVF for your infertility problems!
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