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Contraception and fertility are usually not words used in the same sentence. Fertility Today magazine will address issues of contraceptives that may affect, influence or put your fertility at risk. As with most diseases or disorders, prevention is better than finding a cure. Often preventing infertility is much easier and better than treating it! What can you do to reduce the risk of being infertile ?

The biggest preventable danger to fertility is due to uncontrolled sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia These can cause irreparable damage to the reproductive tract in both men and women. STDs can be prevented by:

  • Being informed and aware of the risks they pose.
  • Not engaging in promiscuous sexual activity. Abstinence or monogamy is safest!
  • Using condoms if there is more than one sexual partner.
  • Testing for STD if you are at risk
  • Early and thorough treatment for STDs. This includes: careful follow-up; testing for cure; and screening of sexual partners.

Often, couples will want to postpone childbearing after marriage. Contraception can also pose a hazard to future fertility, if not selected carefully.

  • IUDs should not be used in women who are at risk for STDs because they increase the risk of pelvic inflammation; and it may be a good idea not to use IUDs in women who have never conceived.
  • Oral contraceptives usually have no direct effect on fertility at all. However, women who have irregular anovulatory cycles before taking the pill will find that their irregular cycles return once they stop the pill and they may need treatment for this.
  • The use of depot contraceptives (such as Norplant ) can interfere with the resumption of ovulation, causing infertility.
  • Sterilization (tubal ligation and vasectomy ) as a method of family planning should be offered only to patients who are sure they have completed their families; have received adequate counseling; and whose children have reached adulthood.

Excerpts from the book How to Have a Baby: Overcoming Infertility
by Dr. Aniruddha Malpani, MD and Dr. Anjali Malpani, MD.

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