Infertility has rapidly increased among modern-day couples due to various reasons such as lifestyle, food, age at conception and problems with career. There are plenty of fertility treatments that can help you become a parent. Before getting into the core reason of infertility, every couple has to know the exact reason for the treatment one is advised to follow allowing to conceive a baby successfully. When it comes to fertility, each couple faces different issues and planning for a child later in life, should be a joint decision with the gynecologist post marriage.

Dr Keerthana Ashwin, co-founder of Dhiya Fertility and Maternity Clinic, Gynecology and specialist in fertility , minimal access surgeries such as hysteroscopy, laparoscopy for Gynecological problems and diseases answers some fertility related queries.

What is Dhiya Fertility & Maternity Clinic (DFMC) is all about?
Dhiya fertility is basically created to provide affordable IVF to all and mostly for patients from middle income category. Every Monday we provide 200 rupees OPD for middle income patients and to provide them a quality of care like any other class at affordable rates. A fertility specialist will be able to clearly tell if the issue is with the male or female and the reason why the couple is unable to have a baby. Our day care procedures for infertility evaluation are covered by insurance and they are keyhole laparoscopic surgeries. In this way, the cost is majorly reduced and the patients are comfortable to carry their own activities the very next day after the procedure. This cuts down a lot of cost for fertility treatment as the patient doesn’t stay with us over night. The skill of the surgeon is also very important in carrying out the laparoscopic surgery and in this way we are unique.

What are the special services you offer for women at DFMC?
From menstrual irregularities to cancers of the female organs, expert opinion and treatment is given at the clinic. An Inhouse laboratory to do all blood tests, ECG, 4D ultrasound and high tech IUI laboratory is provided at the clinic. Even when a patient is conceived through IVF we don’t stress for bed rest. We are a clinic that completely follows the protocol of RCOG, UK. Even on embryo transfer and egg collection are day care procedures and we discharge the patient on the same day. We are also working on the latest methods of treatments in maternity care, high-risk pregnancy, fertility treatment.

Tell us about the fertility problems in males and females in recent days
Infertility has drastically increased in this era only because of literacy rate of women is high now than 10-15 years back. Women are highly educated and want to go for a job, get them financially secure and this is also leading couples to postpone pregnancy later in life. They don’t want to have children at the age of 22 or 23 and this is not something wrong. The mentality of the couple is different nowadays and so the sub fertility sets in when they actually plan a baby later in life.

Does food play an important part in infertility and PCOS?
Of course, one of the reasons for infertility is smoking and consuming alcohol. We don’t cook at home but order tasty junk food online at our comfort which invariably is unhealthy. Outside food has artificial flavourings, colours and preservatives which makes it unhealthy and changes the biological clock of the human body. Food habits and stress messes up this way and makes the couple subfertile. I see many women doing night shifts that changes their menstrual cycle. How does a body produce periods exactly once in 28days? It’s a clock so if you try to mess your clock by staying awake all night and not regularise with your food, it will mess back with you. Also, the ovarian reserve keeps coming down as the woman ages. Now the good thing is all these can be easily reversed with regular exercise 6 days a week with weight training and also good clean food.

When should a couple plan pregnancy?
Once married, get yourself checked, keep all the parameters in place and then take a call on postponing the pregnancy and don’t regret it later. A minor thyroid problem or high sugars can be easily diagnosed by the doctor to a major heart disease that might contraindicate pregnancy. Hence a preconceptions counselling becomes of almost importance. Again, its completely upto the couple to decide to have a child at 25 or even at the age of 45 years.

How can a couple keep their fertility in place?
Before planning for a baby, first thing is to have an ideal weight, at least a physical activity 20minutes a day or cumulatively for 3hours in a week. Then, drinking enough water and keeping a check on your thyroid and sugar levels. If you have any genetic problems, there could be a slight chance that it can be inherited with the unborn child too. Any irregularity in menstrual cycles, heavy bleeding, periods more than 7 days, having periods only for a day, should be checked with your gynecologist and a sexually active woman should do a Papsmear or LBC test once every five years to rule out cervical cancers. Vaccinations should be complete prior to embarking pregnancy.

What are the future plans for DFMC?
Our future plan is to have an in-house state of the art ICSI lab, maternity ward, labouring suite and to provide a comfortable and new experience for a labouring mother. There should be several positions of birthing for a woman and she should be given the option to choose her position in labour. If she wants to stand and push the baby, let her do it. It’s her choice.

– By Vinitha Venkatesha
Dr Keerthana Ashwin
Fertility Specialist, Dhiya Fertility & Maternity Clinic, Chennai.