If you’re having problems falling pregnant, you’re not alone. One in six couples will have experienced infertility.
Infertility is defined as a couple being unable to conceive after 12 months of regular unprotected sex, or if you can’t carry a pregnancy to term.
The most common cause of infertility is a woman’s age. Other factors can relate to the female, male, a combination of both, or be unexplained.
The most common infertility factors in women are:
A woman’s age is the single most important factor affecting your fertility and whether you will have a baby.
Women are born with all the eggs they will have. Research shows female fertility declines slightly at 30, with a significant decline in your late 30s and early 40s. As you get older, your egg quality declines. You have a higher chance of miscarriage, or your baby having a genetic abnormality like Down syndrome.
Understanding how age affects fertility means you might decide to talk to your partner or doctor about having a baby sooner rather than later. If it’s not the right time for a baby, you might want to consider freezing some eggs for use down the track.
While there is no doubt age is a factor, IVF can help increase the chances of pregnancy as women get older.
PCOS is a hormonal condition affecting up to 1 in 5 women of childbearing age.
Polycystic ovaries means that cysts are appearing on the ovaries. PCOS affects hormones – women produce higher levels of insulin and testosterone which can lead to one or more symptoms like:
The cause of PCOS is unknown; it can be genetic or result from lifestyle and environmental factors.
PCOS is usually diagnosed using ultrasound, blood tests and a review of medical history.
For a PCOS diagnosis, most women need to meet at least 2 of the following criteria:
If you think you might have PCOS, talk to your GP or fertility specialist about tests they can run.
PCO refers to having polycystic ovaries that can be identified via ultrasound.
PCOS is a syndrome, where you experience 2 of the 3 symptoms outlined above.
The names are similar, PCO does not affect fertility like PCOS. PCO affects up to a third of women of childbearing age and is often not diagnosed as there are no other symptoms.
If you are diagnosed with PCOS, you may have problems having a baby. Irregular periods can affect ovulation, so it’s harder to know when to try to get pregnant, and means fewer chances than if you had a regular cycle. Research has also found that the hormones that control appetite and hunger may not be regulated as effectively with women with PCOS. It means that some women are more likely to gain weight and may have trouble losing weight.
Treatment options to help you have a baby can include:
Talk to your fertility specialist about the best way forward for you.
If you haven’t been diagnosed with PCOS, but you are concerned about it affecting your fertility, book a free chat with one of our experienced fertility nurses to talk about the next steps.
Fallopian tubes connect your ovaries to your uterus. They have 20-25 finger like structures on their ends that hover just above the ovaries and work to collect mature eggs when they are released. It is in the fallopian tubes that fertilisation of the egg will take place.
If your fallopian tubes are damaged or blocked, it may stop sperm from reaching an egg. Blocked or damaged tubes can be caused by:
Your fertility specialist can check your fallopian tubes through:
You may also try doing the tubal patency test.
If surgery is not suitable to fix your fallopian tubes, your fertility specialist may suggest IVF treatment as a possible treatment option for you.
Book an appointment with one of our experienced fertility doctors to talk through your situation and make an appointment with a fertility specialist.
Endometriosis is a common condition – it can affect up to one in ten women at some point from their first period to menopause. A third of women with endometriosis may experience fertility issues, but treatment is available.
Endometriosis occurs when the lining of the uterus (the endometrium), starts growing outside the uterus which causes scar tissue.
Endometriosis causes infertility in different ways. If the endometriosis damages the tubes and the ovaries then this will significantly reduce the woman’s ability to conceive. This will significantly alter the movement of the egg and sperm.
Even if the tubes and ovaries are not damaged then the endometriosis can affect the movement of sperm, egg picked up by the tube, egg fertilisation, embryo growth and implantation.
The cause of endometriosis isn’t entirely known and can vary between women. We do know that if you have a close relative with endometriosis, you’re up to ten times more likely to have it.
Some women experience incredibly painful periods, while others may not discover they have endometriosis until they have difficulty when they try to have a baby.
Common symptoms include:
If your fertility specialist suspects you have endometriosis, a laparoscopy can be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
About 30% of women with endometriosis will experience infertility, likely due to:
Not all women with endometriosis experience infertility. Some women with endometriosis will have no trouble conceiving naturally and having a successful pregnancy.
Yes. Depending on the type and severity of your endometriosis, treatment may include:
Talk to a fertility specialist about treating your endometriosis.
If you haven’t been diagnosed with endometriosis, but you’re concerned it maybe affecting your fertility, book a free chat with one of our experienced fertility nurses.
A miscarriage is when a pregnancy ends on its own before a woman has been pregnant for 20 weeks. It’s most likely to happen in the very early stages of the pregnancy and is uncommon after 10 weeks.
Many women who have a miscarriage go on and have a baby naturally.
If a woman has 2 or more miscarriages, without any successful pregnancies in between, this is called recurrent miscarriage. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriage, its important to talk to a fertility specialist about potential causes.
Common causes of miscarriage include:
Sometimes there’s no clear reason why you have had a miscarriage.
In the instance of a miscarriage occurring during treatment, our fertility specialists are on hand to support you through this difficult time. Our counsellors are experienced at dealing with miscarriage and will offer unlimited support and follow up.
If you have had recurrent miscarriages, your fertility specialist may recommend testing for Natural Killer Cells or Advanced Embryo Selection treatment.
Fibroids are benign growths or lumps of muscle tissue that form on the walls of the uterus. Less than 3% of women experience infertility because of fibroids.
Most women don’t experience any symptoms of fibroids, but the most common are:
Treatment options are usually hysteroscopy or laparoscopy surgery.
After a woman’s age, an issue with the male (male factor infertility) is the next most common cause of infertility when trying for a baby.
The major causes of male infertility include:
The most common cause of male infertility is if not enough sperm is made, the sperm is not healthy (motile), they don’t form correctly or there are sperm antibodies.
When no sperm is present in the ejaculate, it’s called azoospermia. It can be caused by genetic abnormalities, lack of sperm production or after a vasectomy.
Blockages can be present from birth (congenital), as a result of surgery (like a vasectomy) or due to severe trauma or infections. Some cases can be fixed or reversed, or sperm can be retrieved and used in IVF treatment.
Some men experience difficulties having regular ejaculatory sex. Men with diabetes, spinal cord injuries, who take certain medication or with psychosexual problems may have trouble ejaculating during penetrative sex. IVF is an effective option.
Although it doesn’t affect fertility to the same extent as female age, sperm quality does decrease with age. The risk of miscarriage in women is higher if the male is over 45. Older males also have a greater chance of conceiving children with autism, mental health problems and learning difficulties.
Male infertility is often diagnosed by a semen analysis test, a physical examination or testicular biopsy by your fertility specialist.
The most common causes of male infertility are easily diagnosed and treated with fertility treatment, such as IVF with Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
Established in 2011, Singapore O&G Ltd. (SOG) is a leading healthcare service provider dedicated towards delivering premier medical services to women’s and children’s health and wellness at affordable prices.
With a long and established track record in Singapore providing obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) services such as pre-pregnancy counselling, delivery, pregnancy and post-delivery care, the Group has since further expanded its spectrum of healthcare services to include paediatrics, endocrinology, gynaecological cancer, cancer-related general surgery for breast, thyroid and colon (colorectal), as well as skin and aesthetics treatments.
The Group’s clinics, under its four operating segments of O&G, Paediatrics, Cancer-related and Dermatology, are strategically located throughout Singapore to provide easy access to its patients.
SOG has been listed in the Catalist board of the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited since 4 June 2015.
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