NOVA IVI discuss PCOS and the fight for fertility

PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) effects between ten to 15 per cent of women worldwide. It generally starts manifesting at menarche (when a girl begins her periods) and persists until menopause

One of its consequences is infertility. While many women with PCOS conceive naturally, many don’t – requiring fertility treatment to have a biological child.

At Nova IVI Fertility, we have been able to help several patients with PCOS get pregnant. But before that, a quick run through of what PCOS is, how it affects you and how you can keep it from affecting you.

What is it

Common among women of reproductive age, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder.

Features of PCOS include:

  • Overproduction of male hormones
  • Excessive hair growth
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Improper egg production in ovaries.
  • Metabolic problems like Diabetes, Hypertension, hyperlipidemia

What are the treatment options?

While each patient will require a specific treatment plan, including doses of female hormones or special hair removal treatment and others, the best advice is to find ways to reduce weight, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly; the healthier you are, the less it will affect you.

PCOS and infertility

One of the most traumatic consequences of PCOS in infertility – and other problems with conceiving, including miscarriages. Naturally, over the years various treatment schemes have been developed to help women with PCOS.

Here is one from our archive.

Padmavathi’s story

Padmavathi (name changed) was 28 years old when she came to Nova IVI Fertility. Hailing from a remote village in India, she had married at the age of 16 to a man 12 years her senior.

Even after 12 years of marriage, she was childless. In her surroundings, infertility is seen as a divine curse, not a treatable illness. In between bouts of physical and emotional abuse, she was taken to one holy man after another. None of them were able to help.

She had her first period at the age of 12, but from the beginning, her periods were irregular – with months passing between them. Finally, it took medication to help her have her periods.

As the years passed she developed excessive body hair in areas where it is normally absent or minimal, such as on the chin, chest, face or body and acne, put on weight as  she was depressed all the time and found solace in eating.

She heard about Nova IVI Fertility from a neighbour whose relative had been successfully treated at Nova. She gathered courage and walked into one of the Nova centres in Bangalore, short, overweight, hirsute and desperate to have a child at any cost.

On examining her, the doctors at Nova found that she had PCOS and hence not forming and releasing oocytes on her own. After further investigation she was put on medication to reduce her insulin resistance (commonly seen in patients with PCOS).

She was encouraged to lose at least five to ten per cent of her weight. After intensive counselling, she was asked to return with her husband – after her weight loss.

Five months later, she had lost 12 kilos. She returned to Nova, feeling much more confident and happy. In this interval she had had two periods on her own as well – for the first time in years.

The couple were advised to go forward with an IVF or ICSI.  She underwent a cycle of IVF. Multiple eggs were retrieved, from which embryos were formed and frozen.

In a subsequent cycle, two embryos were transferred and she conceived, but ended up with an early miscarriage which is again a common complication of PCOS.

Finally in the third frozen embryo transfer cycle, she conceived again and today is the proud mother of a healthy son.

Nova IVI frequently sees patients like Padmavathi and it is our desire to help each one of them.

Do you have PCOS? What has been your journey to motherhood been? We’d love to hear your story, email mystory@ivfbabble.com

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