OBGYN, Dr Christoper Ng, of GynaeMD Women’s & Rejuvenation Clinic, sheds some light on some frequently asked questions about infertility.
GynaeMD Women’s & Rejuvenation Clinic, founded by Dr Christopher Ng, integrates obstetrics, gynecology and aesthetic services to holistically cater to female health and wellness. Dr Ng and his team is dedicated to providing personalised and person-centered medical care with safety, honesty and integrity. Underscoring this mission its logo: a lotus flower. The bloom symbolises purity and is associated with good fortune, rebirth, fertility and good health.
On average, it can take up to 12 months for a young couple conceive. In most cases, about 2 in 10 couples who are trying to get pregnant successfully do so within a year. Infertility happens when a couple cannot conceive despite having regular unprotected sex for one year. At this stage, it is helpful to seek medical advice. However, couples who are older – particularly if the maternal age is above 35 – may consider seeking help after six months. This is because fertility decreases significantly in older couples and the sooner treatment is sought, the better the chance of conception.
There are many reasons for infertility and a common misconception is that infertility is mainly a ‘woman’s problem’. However, both men and women may have conditions that contribute to the inability to conceive. About 10% to 15% of couples are infertile.
Some common reasons for infertility include:
A fertility assessment is aimed at understanding the causes for infertility. It will include a thorough physical exam, medical history and discussion about the frequency of sexual intercourse. For men, the assessment will comprise a semen analysis that determines the number, shape, movement and health of the sperm. Women will undergo a comprehensive history on menstrual function as well as pregnancy, STD and birth control use. There may be tests to monitor the ovulation cycle. Additionally, your doctor may wish to order screenings to check for tubal blockages, physical abnormalities and other issues in the reproductive organs.
Treatments will depend on the type of problem identified.
The best way to increase the chances of conception is to start a family early when the couple is young. It is advisable for couples to visit their gynaecologist for preconception planning up to a year in advance. This helps determine their overall health and rules out potential risks. For example, infections such as chickenpox (varicella), German measles (rubella) and hepatitis B can be dangerous for an unborn baby. If immunisations are not complete or potential mothers are not sure if they are immune to certain infections, it is advisable to do vaccinations at least one month before they try to conceive. Routine pap smears and cervical cancer vaccination before conceiving should also be done. This check-up can also help ensure that any pre-existing conditions are well managed.
Healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet, consuming pre-conception vitamins along with folate and avoiding alcohol and smoking can also boost the chances of fertility.
A lotus flower. The bloom symbolises purity and is associated with good fortune, rebirth, fertility and good health.
The information provided in this article is meant purely for general information purposes only and may not be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider. The views, information or opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the writer and the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect those of, and are not endorsed by, Camden Medical Centre.