Infertility is the 11 letter alphabet in the true sense, where the involvement of both the partners, male & female are equal. The burden of such a journey has many twists and turns and family is the place where the roots can be traced.
Many couples have one question to ask and which forms the core data from the 1st visit to the clinic. Does fertility run in the family?
Perhaps, the couple wondered, was it the case with earlier generations too? Fertility has many faces. Does genetics play any part in the question we are answering today?
To establish the close connection of infertility with genetics, there has to be a gene coding for infertility. The genes are a set of pairs of DNA. No gene codes for infertility.
There is continuous evolution that is called a mutation, variation leading to adaption. Such events are not associated with infertility.
Let’s make it more simplified. Just because our parents or grandparents had faced the problems with pregnancy, does not mean, we will also face the same concerns. Yes, there are certain conditions which probably need to be addressed in time that may delay the conception.
The very important aspect of taking family history is to know the density of risk certain conditions invite and the impact it had on them as well as can have on the next generations. Certain conditions can make family history a relevant aspect of diagnosis.
Infertility is complex due to underlying health conditions to hormonal imbalances. You may be wondering whether genetics also play a role.
Let’s address a few of these conditions:
Two common health conditions that can largely affect fertility concerns in females: are polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis.
PCOS causes hormonal imbalances that can affect the functioning of ovaries. Such PCOS causes obesity and other related problems resulting in ovulation problems. One can conceive with PCOS but need timely control and assistance from fertility experts to conceive.
Endometriosis: this is a condition which has a close connection with family and is one of the most common causes of infertility often . In case of endometriosis, the tissue normally found in the lining of the uterus develops elsewhere in the body, including the ovaries and fallopian tubes. These tissues often respond to hormonal changes and bleeding starts resulting in pain, swelling and scarring. The signs and symptoms vary and are patient-specific. The delay in diagnosis often results in delayed treatments. Endometriosis is one of the few conditions linked to infertility that can be passed down, you can find out more about the condition on our blog section.
As addressed above, ovulation problems such as PCOS can be controlled whereas such conditions can be inherited. It is to be noted that lifestyle-driven ovulation problems are the major contributor for delay in conception in Indian settings.
Male infertility concerns.
The most important male infertility concern is Poor sperm quality. It is often found that poor sperm quality is the result of poor lifestyle choices and diet, oxidative stress to name a few. Extensive Research is done in this area to find out poor semen quality progression through 2 to 3 generations. It is early to say, there may or may not be a link between poor sperm quality and genetics. The overall impact of lifestyle on sperm quality just cannot be neglected.
Many conditions are just not the result of inheritance.
Most conditions that cause infertility, or factors of male and infertility are not passed on to the next generations. Poor egg quality or low egg reserves and blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, Infections can happen to anyone, irrespective of family history.
At the end of the day, nobody knows what causes PCOS & Endometriosis. These conditions do have family links. The line of caution is that merely the presence of such conditions does not make you a candidate for infertility. Any presence of such premorbid conditions can guide the physician to direct the treatment accordingly.
We have seen many couples suffering from infertility, visiting our centre Yash IVF, Deccan, Pune. A deeper understanding of their family history gave a clearer picture of reproductive health. As infertility is detected when a couple is unable to conceive after active sex for a year. Personal, and professional goals further burden the load. Only 20% of couples who visit Yash IVF, Deccan, and PUNE needed IVF, whereas the rest could achieve pregnancy with some assistance and after making valuable changes in lifestyle, diet and exercise. Many factors affect fertility, one of which is genetics, but that is not the only case often. There are many other factors like stress, environment, lifestyle, and obesity that also cause infertility.
There are numerous things about infertility that suck, here is one of them. The most perfect embryo in the world can be genetically abnormal, so they are not always related.
Do we recommend genetic testing? For a certain group of patients, yes but not for all patients. As most of the patients can conceive without it.
You may be offered genetic testing if you
Carry a genetic abnormalities
Have many failed cycles
Have suffered pregnancy losses
Having advanced maternal age above 35
On one end, where conditions like endometriosis, detection itself take time and treatable conditions like PCOS, Ovulatory dysfunctions don’t get treated well in time.
Age is still the main factor that decides the outcome. Family history forms the major part of history taking as the right diagnosis is the key to the treatment.
There is a treatment available for such couples. If you are not ready for pregnancy or your sister is struggling with infertility, you should consider freezing the eggs till you are ready.
We at Yash IVF are a centre of excellence in treating such cases with due care and the latest protocols in Assisted Reproductive Technologies. We understand your desire to have a baby. With your efforts and emotional trauma, we understand you , beyond the medical conditions. We are proud to offer compassionate care for your fertility concerns.
Contact us today for more on how you and your sister can realize your dream of having a family.