FAQ about Infertility and Its treatment
Infertility is described as a condition of not being able to achieve pregnancy after the attempt of unprotected sex for a period of at least 1 year. If you experience this, then it may be time for you to seek medical advice to find out the underlying cause in order to plan the proper treatment.
Infertility can involve one or both partners. Generally, in about one-third of cases, the cause of infertility involves only the male. Another third involves only the female, and in the remaining cases, the cause of infertility involves both partners, or no cause can be identified.
On top of that, a wide range of physical and emotional factors also attribute to infertility, such as stress, unhealthy habits such as heavy alcohol intake, excessive smoking, illicit drug use, obesity, and so on.
Couples who have been trying unsuccessfully for at least 1 year are recommended to seek medical help. A series of private counseling on patient medical history, sexual habits, physical examination will be conducted in order to determine their general state of health. For female partner, more specific tests are carried out such as pelvic scans (PVS), and blood hormone profile. For the male partner, semen analysis will be conducted.
It depends on the underlying cause and severity of problem.
- Ovulation induction medication may be prescribed. If applicable, tubal patency testing may be required.
- If the sperm concentration is low, medication may be prescribed to enhance sperm production. The couple may try for artificial insemination (IUI) if sperm counts are acceptable.
- If the sperm is profoundly poor or the tubes are block, ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) treatment may be required such as in-vitro Fertilization (IVF) or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).
- In the case of zero sperm count (azoospermia), MESA (microepididymal sperm aspiration) or TESE (testicular sperm extraction) may be required depending on the classification of azoospermia.
- If there is presence of endometriosis or cysts or fibroids, laparoscopic surgery may be required.
- The couples may resort to acquiring eggs through gamete donation (egg or sperm donation) if the female partner’s eggs fail to fertilise or create embryos that cannot sustain an ongoing pregnancy, ovarian failure due to chemotherapy , premature ovarian failure; or if the male partner’s is azoospermia. Gamete donation is also an option for couple who have high risk of passing on a serious genetic condition to their children. (for non-muslim only)
The success rate for a fertility treatment varied with age and AFC is proud to achieve world class pregnancy rates of 55% (overall clinical pregnancy rate). Besides, AFC had consistently achieved high pregnancy rates and post-thaw embryo survival rates comparable to other leading international fertility centres worldwide with clinical pregnancy rates of 80% per fresh blastocyst transfer and 63% in frozen embryo transfer.
Generally, the risks of IVF will be discussed with you before you begin your treatment. It is very important that you are fully aware of all the possible risks associated with IVF treatment.
- Fertility drug reaction – you may experience a mild reaction to fertility drugs such as hot flushes, headaches and restlessness. Symptoms usually disappear after a short time but if they do not, you should consult your doctor.
- OHSS (Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome) – fertility drugs used to stimulate egg growth may lead to OHSS where fluid accumulate in the abdomen and sometimes chest cavity causing abdominal discomfort and/or breathing difficulties. The ovaries also enlarge and can become painful. You may feel bloated, and nauseas. Severe cases are rare, but you should alert your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms.
- Multiple pregnancies – to increase the chances of getting pregnant, your doctor may transfer more than one embryo into your womb. However, it may also increase your chances of having twins/ triplets and potentially leading to preterm labor.
This will depend on the type of treatment you are having and your individual response to the medication. However, on average one IVF cycle takes 4-6 weeks to complete.
- Have a balanced and healthy diet.
- You may exercise in moderation but avoid strenuous exercise.
- Try to avoid taking herbs/ medications before speaking to your doctor.
- Do not smoke. It has been shown to be toxic to your eggs and cause damage to sperm DNA. It is important to stop smoking before starting your IVF treatment.
- Avoid alcohol or consume in moderation.
- Have adequate sleep.
- Keep well hydrated.
- Be positive and lowering stress levels may improve IVF success rates.
Pregnancy test is done using blood test two weeks after the day of egg retrieval. Pregnancy can be confirmed by ultrasound 30 to 40 days after aspiration.
We strongly advise you to abstain from intercourse to avoid any unplanned multiple pregnancy or an ectopic pregnancy. However if you are on a natural or frozen-thawed cycle, we advise you to speak to your nurse or doctor.
All injectable medications need to be kept refrigerated during the course of your treatment. You nurse coordinator will advise you on the storage of the medications.
FAQ about PGD
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is a reproductive technology used with an IVF cycle. It analyses the genetic profile of embryos before their transfer into the womb. PGD offers couples with certain genetic disorders the chance to have an unaffected child. This technique may also be useful in the treatment of those couples whom have had recurrent pregnancy loss or recurrent implantation failures.
Testing is performed by extracting and analyzing a single or a few cells from the embryo. We use Micro-array Comparative Genomic Hybridization (MaCGH) and can help select euploid (normal number of chromosome) embryos for transfer to reduce miscarriage rates and hence improving IVF success.
When a cell is removed (biopsied) from an embryo, cells are at the un-specialized stage of growth and biopsied embryos will continue to develop into pregnancies and healthy babies.
Research has shown that chromosome abnormalities can be common in eggs and embryos. With advancing age, a woman’s risk of having aneuploid (abnormal number of chromosome) eggs is greatly increased. Clinicians believe this is the main reason why birth rates fall for women in their late thirties and early forties.
Start your journey towards parenthood today
With our wealth of expertise and innovative technology, let us be your dedicated partner in making your fertility journey a successful one.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter