Before understanding what reproductive medicine entails, it is important to know what is meant by reproductive health. The World Health Organization defines it as people having responsible sex life, the capability to reproduce offspring and most importantly the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. Sexual health is in fact an umbrella term that deals with many aspects of one’s mental and social well-being as well. Infertility is something that affects 15% of the global population which is roughly 48.5 million couples. The major factor responsible for this is the plethora of reproductive health issues that occur in both males and females. Reproductive medicine is a specialized branch of medicine that can help make sense of the serious issue of infertility.
To put it simply, reproductive medicine deeply looks into how the creation of life happens and how it develops throughout pregnancy. Various therapies are then formulated based on this understanding in order to maximize outcomes like improved pregnancy rates, reduced obstetric complications or miscarriages, decreased incidence of fetuses born with birth defects. The field of reproductive medicine has evolved so much in the recent decades to include in its broad spectrum of study everything from reproductive endocrinology, reproductive genetics, reproductive tract microbiota, coagulation, reproductive endoscopy to oncofertility.
Assisted Reproductive Technology which happens to be an integral part of reproductive medicine has in many ways scientifically defeated infertility to a great extent. Procedures such as in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), cryopreservation of gametes or embryos, or the use of fertility medication have allowed many couples to successfully take the parenthood road. A number of latest advancements and techniques introduced are all based on the painstaking research and studies that forms the very core of reproductive medicine. Positive outcomes of the various reproductive technology methods are further enhanced by techniques like Time lapse imaging of embryo, magnetic activated cell sorting, endometrial receptivity analysis testing, preimplantation genetic testing and so on.
Reproductive medicine has also paved the way for a number of methods that can greatly assist in the diagnosis of reproductive health issues. Ovulation testing used to determine your fertile days, Hysterosalpingography to evaluate the shape of the uterus or how much the fallopian tubes are open, Ovarian reserve testing to help determine the quality and quantity of eggs available for ovulation or the various imaging tests by which the uterine or fallopian tube diseases can be examined or a sonohysterogram to do a detailed analysis of the uterus are just some from the lot.
With India getting ready to overhaul its healthcare delivery system and digitize it under the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), the latest reproductive medicine developments have put forward the suggestion of introducing artificial intelligence to play a crucial role in assisted reproductive technology and reproductive medicine in general. This can be useful especially in areas like assessment of ovarian reserve parameters, embryo evaluation and selection, and sperm selection. Deploying AI in the framework of assisted reproductive technology could possibly increase the dependability and cost-effectiveness of the fertility services while offering individual-oriented and precise treatment.
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