Fertility control is an issue for almost every relationship.

Most couples want to plan when they have children and, most of the time, fertility control is about preventing pregnancy. But what if you want a child, and conception doesn’t happen?

Most people think they will conceive almost immediately when they cease contraception. In reality, 10-15% of couples experience infertility. (Infertility is defined as an inability to conceive after 12 months of regular unprotected intercourse). Few couples are prepared when the problem happens to them.

In a couple with normal fertility, there’s a 20% chance of falling pregnant each month. After 2 years, 94% will be pregnant and the average time to pregnancy is 4 months.

Conception is a very complicated process and many things can make it difficult without it being impossible.

  • If a mild factor is present that decreases the chance of conception by only 20%, and 60% will be pregnant in one year with a mean time to pregnancy of 2 years.
  • Should there be two mild factors, the pregnancy rate falls to 1% per month, 17% will be pregnant in 2 years and the mean time to pregnancy is 7 years.
  • If we take three mild factors, not an uncommon situation for a woman in her mid-30’s, then there is a pregnancy rate of 0.15% per month with 3.7% being pregnant in 2 years and a mean time to pregnancy of 40 years!
  • Another crucial factor is the duration of the infertility. If a couple have not conceived in 3 years, then their chance of conceiving falls from the original rate of 20% per month to only 4.6% per month.

If you suspect you may have an infertility problem, it is much better to seek advice sooner rather than later, it could be something very simple, for example is intercourse being appropriately timed? Do work commitments mean your partner is away during the fertile time?

The Oocyte (egg) is only viable for 24 to 48 hours, so it is important to understand when you are most fertile. If all advice has been followed with no pregnancy after 6 to 12 months then seek help sooner rather than later. Call us at Coastal IVF and make an appointment to discuss your concerns.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/science/slab/fertilty/story.htm

Investigation and Treatment Options

The investigation of infertility usually involves both partners and both should attend the interview. In the history of the infertile couple, questions relating to general health, medications, lifestyle and reproductive health are asked.

In females the menstrual history is important. Investigations include a pelvic ultrasound and blood tests to evaluate your ovarian function and ovulation. A diagnostic laparoscopy and hysteroscopy (a day procedure under general anaesthetic) is considered the gold standard for assessing your uterine cavity and tubal function. This is where the surgeon looks into your pelvis with a small camera and can ensure no adhesions, endometriosis, or other abnormalities are present.

For the male, a semen analysis is performed to assess the number and function of the sperm. Blood tests may be indicated to assess hormonal levels and other possible causes. Other tests of sperm function may be done – such as determining the presence or absence of anti-sperm antibodies.

Assisted Reproductive Techniques

A cause for subfertility or infertility can be found in a high proportion of couples. Intra-uterine insemination (IUI) can be performed if there is a cervical or sperm problem. If ovulation or development of the egg is an issue, tablets or injections may be used to stimulate the ovaries and induce ovulation. This is often used along with IUI. Stimulation of the ovaries may also be combined simply with timed intercourse. If this is not successful, usually after a variable number of tries, the couple may proceed to more invasive techniques such as IVF.

IVF is indicated if there is tubal obstruction or other poor prognostic factors such as low sperm numbers. Injectable drugs are used to stimulate multiple eggs (oocytes) and once mature, these eggs are collected through the vaginal wall by aspiration (under anaesthetic). The embryologist assesses the egg quality and the sperm is added (IVF). If fertilisation occurs, embryos are grown and a selected embryo is transferred to the uterus. Excess embryos can be frozen and then thawed for future use – frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycles. The number of embryos transferred will vary according to the clinic and the age of the patient. The success of each treatment will vary with the age of the woman, the clinic, and the reason for infertility.

In Summary…

Infertility is a surprisingly common condition that can cause varying degrees of stress and heartache. Treatment for infertility can be simple and easily managed with the correct diagnosis and treatment. Give Dr Paul Stokes and his specialist team a call, and they will put you at ease and assist you in achieving your desired outcome.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/science/slab/fertilty/story.htm


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  • Coastal IVF,
    Level 4,
    Esplanade and Second Avenue,
    (Sunshine Coast)
    QLD, Australia

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