I get very frustrated when infertile patients come to us after many years of marriage, and find that they’ve taken no medical treatment during this time. I wonder what has paralysed them into this level of inactivity where they choose to do nothing at all. Doesn’t it ever cross their minds that they are doing irrevocable harm to their chances of having a baby by waiting and doing nothing- that time never comes back again ?
The wait and watch approach is harmful because the woman’s ovarian reserve begins to decline after the age of 35 and reduces her chances of conceiving – and this age-related deterioration is irreversible.
As an IVF specialist, I am acutely aware of the impact age has on a woman’s fertility; but it isn’t something that most women are aware of. There really are no symptoms or indicators of declining egg quality and the ticking of the biological clock is silent.
Why People do Nothing
There are a number of reasons why most couples prefer to do nothing:
• Some lull themselves into a false sense of security. They sit pretty with the thought that since fertility is a natural process, they just need to have patience and keep trying to have a baby. This approach is underscored by the advice from elders in the family who tell them that patience is all they need and that sometimes, it just takes time to have a baby – after all, don’t all good things come to those who wait
• Some couples simply prefer to live in a fool’s paradise; they just don’t want to consider the fact that they may have problems conceiving. The minute they entertain the possibility that they may not be able to make a baby in the bedroom, their self-esteem takes a hit and they shut down into a state of denial.
• Many bank on the hope that things will iron themselves out. Haven’t we all heard of uncles and aunts who got pregnant in their bedrooms after a decade of marriage? And it worked perfectly for them, so why shouldn’t it for us?
• Others will adopt home remedies and “bedroom” techniques in an attempt to improve their chances. They alter their sexual position, their diets as well as their sexual frequency. They may even get some tips and advice from their
“super-fertile” friends (most of which will be misleading) since these tips are based on misconceptions and myths.
What makes the situation worse is that once they try any of these half-baked, home-grown solutions, they will have to give it a minimum of 6 months to test its efficacy- AND they end up losing even more time. The more of these they try, the more time they lose.
• Some people have heard just too many horror stories about IVF treatment and its side-effects, that they cold shoulder this possibility completely. Some people fear that it’s a risky and artificial treatment and that children born via IVF treatment are defective or abnormal- and they refuse to go to an IVF specialist. Many of these people will try some “natural” treatments including ayurveda, herbal medicines and acupuncture in a bid to boost their fertility.
• Religious-minded patients go temple-hopping in search of divine intercession. After all, aren’t babies a gift from God? He will give us one when the time is right – who are we to challenge his plans for us? Every month they miss their period , they get hopeful. Sometimes, if they trip and fall, they tell themselves that they had got pregnant, but the fall resulted in a miscarriage and they feel that additional rest will help them get pregnant again.
• Some patients are put off by a bad experience at an IVF clinic , or maybe they found the treatment too expensive and backed off after their first cycle. It’s true that IVF is an expensive treatment, but going to a good fertility specialist will only help you understand where you stand , it will give you peace of mind that you have explored all your options.
Not Considered an Urgent Matter
Finally, the major issue is that while infertility is always an important problem, it’s never urgent, so it's always very easy to push it off. Many people plan their life and say - I’ll think about have a baby after I get my promotion / after I have settled down in my new job/ after I can afford it/ after I have bought a new car/ after I have finished my MBA.
Unfortunately, you can't always have your cake and eat it too, and you sometimes need to make a trade-off. It is perfectly fine to put your job before your baby; provided that this is being is done with realistic expectations.
Women need to be well informed about the impact of the passage of time on their fertility. It’s easy to do nothing, but there is a price they pay for this – the opportunity cost, which they forget to factor in, because it is concealed. Many couples rue the fact that they did not do IVF earlier – but by then it’s too late!
Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you!