While the world awaits its 7 billionth child to be born, scientists from all over the world express their growing concerns on the rapid global population growth and its devastating effects on our natural resources. Health-workers are worried that the new generation might not have enough to grow productively as new diseases are discovered and deadly viruses and bacteria make their mark on the human community.
Interestingly, several groups of scientists and researchers work on the treatment of infertility, a condition present in every seventh couple all over the world. Infertility means the inability of a couple to conceive a child. It is often associated with social dilemma in many parts of the world, especially the developing and under-developed countries. Infertility treatments involve first the recognition of the problem that might lie with either partner, and then the correction of these problems through various methods. Fertility tourism is a growing phenomenon whereby couples tour different countries to correct their infertility problems, either because these countries have the relevant technology or because they are cheaper. Fertility tourism is hence a form of medical tourism.
Treatment of infertility depends on the cause, duration of infertility, age of the partners and several personal preferences. Infertility treatments can be grouped as medical or alternate treatments. The At-home contraception kit is cervical cap that helps in cases of low-sperm count, low-sperm motility or a tilted cervix. Ovarian stimulating medication (eg. Clomid, Bravelle, Menopur, Pregnyl, Parlodel etc.) can be useful in cases where the sperm are in good quantity and quality and the woman's reproductive structures are normal.
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a commonly talked about infertility treatment where the sperm and egg are made to fertilize outside the body in a laboratory set-up with the intent of forming an embryo. The embryo (often multiple) is then transferred to the mother's uterus whereby is continues its development. IVF is one of several different forms of assisted reproductive technology techniques (ART) for infertility treatments. ICSI, ZIFT and GIFT are other forms of ART. Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can be used in cases of abnormal sperm count of morphology. In this procedure, sperms are directly injected into an egg. Tuboplasty can also be performed to correct a fallopian obstruction or adhesion in a woman.
Alternative infertility treatments include group psychological intervention, acupuncture and manual physical therapy. The efficiency of these alternative infertility treatments is mostly varied and debatable.