The stork is a peculiar creature. It doesn’t always visit the usual way. Sometimes, it chooses to take a detour and leaves us waiting a little longer than we’d have liked. The waiting game can be a difficult, agonising time for a couple trying to conceive. For many, hope starts to dwindle and the prospect of pregnancy becomes a distant dream. Some couples choose to opt for assisted conception through a fertility centre, but don’t really know where to start. With the dawn of fertility technology in India, clinics by the dozen have sprouted across the country, but with the abundance of information available, it can be quite confusing to distinguish fact from positive rhetoric.
Luckily, we know where the stork lives, and from experience, we’ve put together a list of things that you should consider while picking your fertility centre. Keep these mind when you pick your clinic, and the stork may visit you sooner than you thought.
1. Your Doctor: Your doctor is your first step to building the family that you’ve always dreamt of. This is one of the most important phases of your life, and you deserve a doctor who understands your goals, your medical history and your plan for your family. Take time to identify a doctor whom you trust and feel comfortable with.
2. Biology is Inevitable: Basic biology can’t be changed, period. While medicine can help you overcome medical problems, you can’t change how old you are and the conditions you have. For instance, it is natural for ovarian reserves to fall as you age, and medicine can’t slow that process down, though it can help you overcome it. Similarly, if you have been diagnosed with PCOS or endometriosis, natural conception could prove to be a challenge. While these conditions cannot be eliminated, their effects can most certainly be minimised. When you choose a clinic, consider the expertise of the team that will assist you with conception in light of your condition. Your success rate depends on their skill level.
3. Success Rates Are Misleading: Some clinics boast of higher success rates, because they capture the life of an embryo only until implantation. Others track an embryo’s journey all the way until birth. Some centres deal with harder cases; others deal with standard ones. Success rates can’t be compared apple to apple, or in this context, baby to baby. The probability of a successful pregnancy depends on a number of factors such as age, lifestyle, medical problems and fitness levels. Ask questions that pertain to you, to know how equipped a clinic is to handle your treatment.
4. Twins Are Hard Work: Twins are adorable, yes, but only when they’re someone else’s. Having twins is no cakewalk, both during pregnancy and afterwards. Multiple embryos could pose health risks to you, and it’s best to deliver one healthy baby at a time. Of course, your doctor may recommend transferring more than one embryo based on certain considerations like age, health condition and finances, but ultimately, that decision will be up to you. If the thought of twins or triplets is overwhelming, consider a single embryo transfer.
5. Talk About Your Journey: Infertility is heart-wrenching, and fertility treatments can help. Having said that, treatment for infertility can be taxing on the mind and body, and it helps to talk about it. Seek guidance from a counsellor, or talk to a close friend about the emotions that you are experiencing. Creating a circle of love and light around you will make you stronger.
6. Consider Your Options: If you haven’t thought about your options to start a family, now is a good time. Some couples struggle with infertility despite interventions like Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). If that sounds familiar, you may want to screen your embryos via Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) to check for any genetic defects. If you find that your embryos exhibit defects, it may be well worth considering surrogacy, a donor egg or a donor sperm.
7. Take a Break: If you’re feeling exhausted by the end of your fertility treatment, you’re not alone. Fertility treatment is tiring, and taking a break can help you rejuvenate and re-energise. So what’s the link between stress and infertility? Well, nothing really, but stress does reduce your fertility potential. Research has shown that women who display high levels of the stress-related enzyme alpha-amylase, carry twice the risk of infertility. Moral of the story? Worry less, laugh longer and live more.
8. Technology Helps: In medicine, there are continual advances being made. There are doctors hard at work across the world uncovering new trends, innovating new treatments and creating medical history with new technology. When you do your research, keep technology as a criterion. Ask your clinic which technology is used and how it plays a role in conception. The latest technology is adopted by very few fertility centres in the country, and the lack of a technology-based approach is often mirrored in their poor success rates.
9. Every Fertility Centre is Different: While they all promise the same thing, every fertility centre is different. It is important to consider convenience when it comes to making a decision. Some centres offer everything under one roof, right from fertility treatments to counsellors, to nutritionists and obstetricians. Some, simply offer a laboratory with a petri dish for embryo implantation. Understand the spread of a fertility clinic and how it can help you at every step of the way.
10. Fertility Treatments Aren’t Cheap: Treatment rates depend on the degree of expertise you need to become pregnant. However, some centres have a range of services to ensure that the odds are in your favour. If you are seeking fertility treatments, it is worthwhile to go with a centre that improves your chances through a host of technological tools. The financial trade-off, you’ll find, will be worth it, when compared to repeated cycles at a less expensive clinic.
When you begin infertility treatment, these points will help you stay prepared for what is to come. The stork spends much of its time at Cloudnine. Come say hello it and get started with your maternity journey!