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Health » Sexual-health » Harmful-infertility-treatments-060605
Harmful infertility treatments - Part II

Dr. Aniruddha Malpani Dr. Aniruddha Malpani
Renowned infertility specialist. He runs an infertility clinic in Mumbai and has written many books.

« continued from Part I

Here's a list of what we feel are dangerous treatments of which patients should beware!

Harmful infertility treatments - Part II
  1. Varicocele surgery. The fact that doctors are still uncertain about the efficacy of varicocele surgery after so many years is itself a telling commentary on how unhelpful this surgery is. While the surgery may improve sperm counts in some men, objective trials have shown that it is no better than just watchful waiting.
  2. Medical therapy for low sperm counts. This is another one of those areas where fashions come and go. The current rage is "antioxidants" and dietary supplements. Since they do not need a medical prescription, they can be sold directly to unwary patients, but no study has documented an increase in pregnancy rates after any of these treatments. They claim at improving "sperm health" (whatever that means!) and that their clinical trials only show an increase in sperm count and motility. If you want "healthier sperm", or an increase in your sperm count, then go ahead and take these, but if you want a baby, then they are just a waste of time and money.
  3. Surgery for fibroids. Fibroids are very common benign tumours found in the uterus of many young women. Some of these women who have fibroids will also have the misfortune of being infertile, and some of them will then end up falling in the hands of an enthusiastic knife-happy surgeon who will advise them to get the fibroids removed. However, most fibroids are silent bystanders in an infertile woman's uterus, and do not need to be removed. The only fibroids which need to be removed are submucous fibroids, and these can be removed by doing an operative hysteroscopy. Think many times before agreeing for myomectomy surgery if you are infertile. You may get your fibroids removed, but you may also end up with adhesions, which will reduce your fertility even further! Often, getting a second opinion also does not help, because even the next surgeon may still advise surgical removal - after all, surgeons are happiest when doing surgery!

  1. Surgery for removing an ovarian cyst. Ovarian cysts are very common in young women, which is why they are very common in infertile women. Because of the frequent use of ultrasound scanning in treating infertile women, many of these small ovarian cysts are diagnosed and reported by the sonographer. Once an infertile woman knows she has an ovarian cyst (a term she may never have heard of before), her mind starts playing tricks with her, and she feels that it is the cyst which is responsible for her infertility. Sooner or later, she will fall into the hands of an unscrupulous doctor who agrees with her, and offers to remove the cyst with "minimally invasive surgery". The vast majority of ovarian cysts are of no clinical importance, and do not need to be touched. They usually regress on their own, and rarely affect fertility. However, unnecessary surgery to remove a cyst will often cause infertility, because normal ovarian tissue is also removed at the time of the cyst removal. No surgery is far less invasive than "minimally invasive surgery"!
  2. Hysteroscopic metroplasty. This has become a very popular operation in some parts of India. While doing a hysteroscopy, some over-enthusiastic surgeons will make cuts on the lateral walls of the uterus, to "broaden" the uterine cavity. The truth is that fertile uterine cavities come in various shapes and sizes, and there is no need to change the shape of the cavity. Not a single study in the medical literature has been published which shows this procedure helps , and this gratuitous surgery can often cause intrauterine adhesions and damage the uterus! Beware of trigger happy surgeons out to make money.

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