Natural Ways of Increasing Fertility
You may want to consider tracking your ovulation and menstrual cycles in order to improve your chances of becoming pregnant. With the proper recording of body temperature and careful cervical fluid observation, you can greatly increase the likelihood of becoming pregnant. There are many resources in the form of books and websites that can help you to get started with tracking your body’s natural ovulation cycle. You may also want to consider purchasing ovulation tests online or from your local drug store to keep track of when your days to conceive during the month are. It is best to start checking from about Day 9 of your cycle till you get a positive test. Thereafter having intercourse that night or the next morning and about 36 hours thereafter is desirable.
Although it may seem like the natural thing to do, feeling pressured to have sexual intercourse often and as much as possible can be quite stressful for some couples resulting in sexual issues. Therefore, it is most important to attempt to conceive in the few days prior to ovulation, and then again on the first day of ovulation. Again, this would require diligent observation of your menstrual cycle and ovulation days.
A healthy lifestyle, eating habits, and regular use of vitamins have also been linked to fertility in women. You may want to consider taking a multivitamin as well as folic acid daily in order to improve your health and prepare your body for conception. Folic acid has many benefits for you as well as your baby, and has been medically proven to help your baby’s spine develop normally in utero.
Another less-known way to increase your chances of becoming pregnant is to use personal lubricant. There are many options available to you in terms of lubricants, including ones that are made specifically to encourage sperm to travel more quickly and easily to the egg. You should seek out lubricants that have adjusted levels oh pH and are similar to your body’s own natural cervical fluid (e.g. Pre-Seed). Many of these personal lubricants are made of natural and organic ingredients that may help to ease your mind if you need to use them regularly. KY Jelly, Astroglide and Replens are not appropriate.
Career and Fertility
Nowadays, more and more women are prioritizing career advancement and choosing to have children later in life but their attempts had often ended in failure because of decreased fertility due to increased age. This has changed thanks to advancement in medicine and technology. Other than fertility treatments to improve their chances to conceive, some career women are also beginning to protect their chances to conceive via procedures such as vitrification of eggs. Vitrification is the process I which an egg is frozen at extremely low temperatures to allow for future use in IVF whilst the success rate of vitrification resulting in a healthy pregnancy between 2 to 5% per mature egg one would need to undergo multiple cycles of expensive stimulation (atleast 6-7 times) to accumulate a good number of eggs of atleast 25-30. The quality of the egg is important and aging is a major factor in diminishing egg quality. Egg quality diminishes exponentially from age of 34 years (see chart). Print the chart and look at my presentation.
While freezing and storing eggs and embryos is a viable option for many women, your chances of becoming pregnant are still diminishing with the passage of time. Having children before age 35 greatly increases your chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy baby, whether you require fertility intervention or not. If you are over 35 and wish to have a baby in the future, you should speak with your doctor as soon as possible in order to create a plan for conception and pregnancy. Furthermore, as you age, you can develop medical condition such as hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, cancer and gynecological condition such as fibroids, endometriosis, cysts and growths that are detrimental to a safe pregnancy.
More and more couples are learning to share in the task of child rearing and parenting in the recent years. In the past, women are primarily responsible for looking after the well-being of the children, while men were expected to provide an income to help support his family, and not much else. These days, men are regularly encouraged to contribute equally to the upkeep of their home, and to connect with and help raise their children, more than ever before. We encourage partners to communicate and work together to provide support to each other before becoming pregnant, so that they may know what is expected of them as a couple prior to becoming parents for the first time.
In this day and age, fertility treatments are common place. Most people know at least one couple who have experienced difficulty conceiving a child. Medical advancements in fertility treatments have helped to allow these couples to have a baby in a less painful, less time-consuming way. Rather than spending weeks making visits to the clinic, modern IVF has advanced to allow more flexibility for patients. E.i “Patient friendly”
In Vitro Fertilization
What is IVF?
In more severe cases of infertility, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) may be indicated by your fertility specialist. IVF differs from IUI in that the fertilization of the egg and sperm is attempted outside the body and monitored closely in a laboratory. After fertilization, embryos are typically observed in lab for five days, at which point the blastocyst stage occurs. This stage in the IVF process indicates that an embryo is likely to implant into the uterus.
During this time, you will be asked to take fertility drugs, which can be administered at home with a small injection to your abdomen. The fertilized embryos are then transferred to the uterus in a procedure that closely mimics a routine pap smear. You will then be diligently monitored by ultrasound and routine blood work to keep an eye on the progression of your pregnancy.
What is ICSI?
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a procedure whereby a single sperm is injected into an egg. You will be asked to take fertility drugs in order to stimulate egg production in the ovaries. These eggs will then be collected by your specialist. This procedure is minor, and you will be given general anaesthesia and monitored closely at all times. Your partner will be asked to provide a fresh sperm sample, though previous samples that have been frozen can also be used. If fertilization between the egg and sperm occurs, this sample will be cultured in the lab, and these embryos will be transferred to the womb, depending on their quality. To reduce the occurrence of multiple pregnancies, no more than one to two embryos will be transferred during this process.
What causes male infertility?
- Causes of infertility are varied, and may include:
- Abuse of cigarettes and/ or alcohol
- Drug use, such as steroids or recreational drugs
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Environmental exposures, i.e. toxic substances (lead, pesticides , and radiation)
- Anaemia and iron insufficiency
- Unhealthy diet
- Congenital Conditions (klinefelter’s)
- Deformities in development (undescended testes; varicoceles)
A small percentage of male infertility cases may be caused by hormonal issues affecting the brain and pituitary gland. Other hormones may also be produced by the body that can cause dysfunction in the sex hormone balance. Hypothyroidism can also affect male fertility.
Treatment for Male infertility
Male infertility treatment provides a number of different options to choose from. Often, your fertility specialist may advise you about your choices for sperm retrieval after taking a sperm sample, and you can then make an informed decision regarding how to proceed.
What is TESA?
If you suffer from azospermia, or absence or viable sperm in the semen, testicular sperm aspiration (TESA) may be indicated. After nerve block is used to reduce pain, a needle is inserted into the testis, and sperm is aspirated. Sometimes a small incision is made for the scrotal skin and better access to testicular tissue is attained. This sperm can then be used to assist in IVF treatment (i.e doing ICSI). This is relatively non-invasive procedure that can be performed by a urologist or andrologist.
What is PESA?
Your fertility doctor may also offer you the option of Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA), which will allow for multiple attempts at retrieval of sperm which will be used in IVF fertility treatments. PESA will only be indicated by your doctor if you suffer from severe obstructive azospermia. Under local or general anaesthesia, a syringe will be inserted into the testis, and fluid removed. While not common, in the event that PESA fails, you may be required to undergo a surgical procedure to assist in sperm retrieval.
What is MESA?
In cases of more severe infertility or obstructive azoospermia, Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration may be indicated by your specialist. Mesa requires an operative procedure performed under general anaesthesia. A needle may be used to aspirate fluid from the testis, or a small incision made to collect sperm that will assist in IVF. In most cases, only one procedure will be required in order to collect enough sperm to use in several rounds of IVF.
If no viable sperm was retrieved during the above procedures, you and your partner may also be asked to consider undergoing donor insemination. The sperm used in IVF during these cycles is provided by a donor who has been thoroughly screened for genetic disorders and other conditions prior to providing sperm donation. After the sperm has been processed in the laboratory, it is safe for used during IVF treatment.
Causes Female Infertility and Treatment
After age 35, the woman’s supply of viable eggs starts to diminish. If you have been trying to conceive a baby with your partner for 6 months to one year with no positive result, diagnosis of infertility must be ruled out. Infertility can be a sensitive subject and hard to talk about with your doctor; however, the sooner you get diagnosed, the sooner you can receive treatment to help you to conceive. Waiting and hoping that it will happen is very risky and detrimental as the fertility rates decrease rapidly due to aging.
One of the leading causes of female infertility is abnormal ovulation, coupled with abnormal or irregular periods. If you have experienced irregularities in your cycle, your fertility specialist ma suggest blood test to ultrasound to determine the cause. However, you can be non-ovulatory even if you have regular periods.
Other common causes of female infertility include:
- Abuse of cigarettes and/ or alcohol
- Use of recreational drugs
- Unhealthy diet
- Lack of, or excessive exercise
- Past history of abdominal surgery (eg removal or cyst, tubal surgery and appendectomy)
- Hormonal changes (high prolactin; polycystic ovaries)
- Fibroids or endometriosis discovered during laparoscopy
In Singapore, fertility treatments are highly regulated. You will be asked to provide your marriage certificate, and you may require several vaccinations. Fertility treatments typically begin on the second day of menstruation, and administered for 10-12 days. Surgery may or may not be indicated. Your fertility specialist will help you to make an informed decision regarding your best course of action.