Up to 1 in 6 Singaporean couples can experience difficulties when they decide to start a family.
Unfortunately there are many causes of infertility which can involve complications from the woman or the man, or a combination of factors.
For conception to occur to you need a healthy egg and healthy sperm, meeting in the right environment, at just the right time. So if you are having difficulties getting pregnant, you will need to be assessed as a couple to determine the cause and restart your path to pregnancy.
How can we boost our natural fertility?
Many couples want to know what they can do to improve their natural fertility. Following are our top tips in this regard:
- Understand your fertile window
To increase your chance of becoming pregnant, have sex one or two days before ovulation, and then continue to have regular sex (two to three times a week) to further improve your chances. Calculate your fertile window »
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Stopping smoking can be the single most important thing you do to boost your fertility. Regular exercise can also help boost your overall health as well as fertility. Fertility specialists also recommend your consume alcohol and caffeine in moderation.
- Improve your diet
Both the female and male partners need to eat healthy food and maintain a healthy weight when they are trying to conceive. Women should start taking 500ug of folic acid each day, as well as multivitamins for general health. Learn more about vitamins, TCM, acupuncture and fertility »
The common causes of infertility in couples
When you understand all the factors that need to be in place to conceive a baby, it really is a complicated process. If anything of these things are not quite right, you may experience problems getting pregnant.
In 40% of couples the cause of infertility is attributed to a sperm factor, in another 40% the cause is found within the female reproductive system, and a third will have a combination of male and female factors.
Infertility in women can be caused by an ovulation disorder, blockages in the fallopian tubes or other complications in the uterine environment. Some of the most common conditions that can affect a woman’s fertility include Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis and fibroids.
Infertility in men is most commonly due to no or very few sperm produced and/or found in the ejaculate. Sometimes sperm are malformed, and in rare cases genetic diseases may be at fault. Other complications can include immunological infertility, retrograde ejaculation, blockages in the vas deferens or subnormal quality of sperm.
Fertility in both the woman and the man can also be affected by lifestyle choices such as smoking, excessive drinking or being severely under or overweight.
What’s involved in a fertility check up?
The single most important factor when it comes to trying to conceive is the woman’s age - the older a woman gets, the less likely it becomes, with or without treatment. This is why doctors recommend you seek helps after 12 months of trying if the woman is under the age of 36, and 6 months of trying if she’s 36 or older.
A fertility specialist can assess your overall reproductive health and conduct some simple tests to help identify any underlying causes of pregnancy delay.
For women fertility tests typically include some blood tests and ultrasounds to check for ovulation, specific fertility conditions and ovarian reserve. Some additional tests may be needed to check your fallopian tubes and condition of the uterus.
The most important fertility test for men is a semen analysis which measures the volume, shape and movement of his sperm.
To support you in taking the first step and having your fertility assessed, Virtus Fertility Centre offers an introductory fertility check for $299, excluding GST.
- A pelvic ultrasound for the woman
- A semen analysis for the man, and
- A couple’s consultation with one of our fertility specialist, who can explain the results and develop a plan for pregnancy.
A panel of blood tests may also be recommended after your consultation with your fertility specialist. The cost of such tests will be clearly explained to you at the time.
What are the most common fertility treatments?
Based on the results of your fertility assessment, your fertility specialist will determine your best path to pregnancy.
This may involve lifestyle changes, better timing of intercourse or surgery to rectify any underlying conditions.
It may also include fertility treatments such as IUI (where prepared semen is inserted through the next of the womb close to the time of ovulation) or IVF (placing eggs removed from the ovary, with many sperm to facilitate fertilisation and embryo development in the laboratory, before transferring the embryo back into the womb).
Because we know your emotional wellbeing can be as important as your physical wellbeing, Virtus Fertility Centre has a highly experienced fertility coach and counsellor in the team, to help support you on your fertility journey.
What’s the next step?
If you are considering coming to Virtus Fertility Centre, we encourage you to attend a free fertility seminar to learn more about our clinic, doctors and the fertility treatments available. Register for a free seminar »