Over the years, the evolution of technology has made life much easier. From speedy information access, communication, automated homes and cars, down to astounding breakthroughs in health and medicine.
Technology has not only made our lives as easy as a walk in the park but it has also brought lasting solutions to fertility issues. People who cannot have children spontaneously now have various viable options to choose from in order to become parents.
In what ways has technology made this possible?
It is common knowledge that for conception to take place, ovulation has to occur first. And the timing needs to be just right for conception to happen.
With the help of smartphone apps and wearable fertility trackers, women don’t have to manually track or second-guess their most fertile period of the month. Wearable fertility trackers come as bracelets or armbands that are worn on the arm.
Its function is to monitor basal body temperature, sleep, heart rate and activity, luteinizing hormone levels and electrolyte level, to determine accurate ovulation cycles.
With a 90% accuracy rate, you need not be encumbered with compiling multiple pieces of information anymore.
Egg Freezing (Cryo-Preservation or Verification)
This technology involves the extraction and storage of unfertilised eggs at sub-zero temperatures for the purpose of future use.
This is an option for older women, whose quality of eggs would have declined over the years. Or in situations where there is a possibility that these eggs may contain chromosomal abnormalities. Or in a case of menopause where a woman will no longer ovulate and her ovaries cease to release eggs.
Before any of these things happen, a woman can decide to freeze her eggs.
The procedure involves insertion of a needle into the ovarian follicles to retrieve the eggs after they ripen. This is done by a professional guided by an ultrasound.
Once the eggs are retrieved, a special solution is introduced into the eggs to prepare them for the new temperature.
Whenever the woman is ready for conception, a fertility specialist fertilises the egg in a lab. The sperm from either the woman’s partner or from a donor is used. The fertilised egg is then implanted into the uterus through in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
Most times, major infertility issues could result from changes in genes, chromosomes, or proteins. In cases like these, genetic screening—a type of technology—helps to determine the exact cause of infertility.
Genetic screening determines whether the issue lies with one or both parents. This puts into consideration their overall health conditions and specifies if the fertility issue is inherited or a one-off occurrence.
This screening also provides pointers to any known conditions that could cause infertility in case the plan is to get pregnant in the future.
Ultimately, genetic testing helps confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition. It also specifies the chances of developing or passing on a genetic disorder from parent to offspring.
Uterus transplantation is a fast-growing fertility technology that offers a promising potential treatment for women with Uterine Factor Infertility (UFI).
UFI was a previously irreversible form of female infertility that affected hundreds of thousands of women in their reproductive age.
Women with this type of condition cannot carry a pregnancy. They are either born without a uterus, had the uterus removed, or have a non-functioning uterus.
The process involves a surgical procedure in which a healthy uterus is transplanted into a woman whose uterus is absent or diseased.
Through uterine transplant technology, women that have suffered from this type of infertility are temporarily given the opportunity to carry and deliver a child.
In cases involving male infertility, especially in conditions where the sperm is unable to swim through the cervix into the fallopian tube or in a case of low sperm count, artificial insemination is often used.
This technology involves the insertion of sperm directly into a woman’s cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus.
This shortens the trip of the sperm and prevents any encounter with possible obstruction that could be present along its travel route.
Some of the artificial insemination techniques employed to achieve this include intrauterine insemination (IUI), intracervical insemination (ICI), intrauterine tubo peritoneal insemination (IUTPI), and intratubal insemination (ITI).
Finally, it is worthy of note that continuous technological impact and refinement have made these fertility treatments affordable and more successful.
Now we don’t just know how fertility is affected and how conception works, we have also witnessed many couples achieve their dream of starting a family due to advancements in technology.