Robert Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on the development of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). His achievements have made it possible to treat infertility, and it is indeed a miracle for many who are unable to conceive naturally. Once we witnessed such a near-miracle where the young girl and her family still finds it difficult to believe that she became pregnant.
A 22 year old girl named Srishti (name changed), residing in Kurukshetra, never had her periods until she was 18 years old. Her worried mother took her to their family doctor who prescribed her contraceptive pills. She finally started having periods regularly, but only by taking these hormonal tablets.
She was married to a local businessman and neither she nor her family discussed with a gynecologist, whether she would be able to carry a baby. After 2 years of marriage, when she was unable to conceive, she was taken by her mother-in-law to many gynecologists. All of them told her that she had a small uterus and might never be able to conceive. Also, they stated that she would need a surrogate who could carry her child. She was sent back to her mother’s place in Delhi and threatened by her in-laws to “… Get your daughter treated, or keep her with you only.”
Her mother came to us, almost begging, that if we could please help to save her daughter. She was not having periods without medicine. On further investigation we found that she indeed had a small uterus, about half the size that was of the normal. Also, we found out that she had a very rare problem. Her brain was not producing enough hormones which are responsible for making the eggs necessary for conception. Since her ovaries did not make eggs, and she did not produce sufficient female hormones, it further resulted in her having a small uterus. She did not have periods, and she was unable to conceive.
Although, there are reports of pregnancy in a small uterus, the success rate is drastically less. We counseled the mother about these facts. With surrogacy costing a whopping Rs 8-10 lakhs in the city, it was out of question for them. We wanted to give her at least one attempt to succeed whilst under our care. We started her on injections that stimulate her ovaries to make eggs. Our aim was to make at least one or 2 eggs. After giving her 3 injections, we performed an ultrasound on her and instead of the intended 2 or 3 eggs, multiple eggs had started growing.
Another, very difficult situation for us had to be dealt with. We counseled her and her mother regarding doing IVF. After listening about IVF or what is known in common parlance as a “test tube baby,” the mother and daughter got scared. With the husband’s family not supporting her, it was very difficult for her to arrange for the money. But with so many eggs developing, IVF was the only solution otherwise the newly produced eggs would go waste.
She finally agreed. We performed the in vitro fertilization and took out her eggs and fertilized them with the husband’s sperm. After 5 days, we got 2 beautiful embryos, which we transferred. Keeping our fingers crossed, we waited for 12 days and got her pregnancy test done which was was positive. The ultrasound was done 2 weeks later and it showed a single live pregnancy. Her pregnancy was uneventful and delivered a healthy baby boy.
There are many causes of not having periods in a young woman. One of the causes is hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, meaning that the brain does not secrete sufficient hormones for the development of eggs. This cause is treatable and the female can become pregnant, as happened in this case. But the most important issue is to approach the right infertility specialist who can diagnose and rightly treat them.
Dr. Priti Gupta is a specialized infertility specialist in Delhi and NCR. She has learned about IVF in USA . She is now running her IVF center in west Delhi which is quite famous and prominent. You can get in touch with us any time.