HAVING a baby is a joy that many married couples seek, but not all have been lucky to experience it.
For some, the journey to parenthood is filled with emotional heartbreaks after years of trying to conceive with no success.
This prompted some couples to seek fertility treatments.
Sunfert International Fertility Centre medical director Dr Lim Lei Jun said understanding how pregnancy took place was an important first step.
“It is important to find out why fertilisation hasn’t occurred and what causes it, ” she said.
She emphasised that age was a big factor to consider when dealing with infertility.
“Overall, one in 10 couples are facing infertility.
“But on a closer look, the prevalence of infertility actually increases with age.
“It is one in seven for couples aged 30 to 34, one in five for those aged 35 to 39 and increases to one in four for those above 40, ” she added.
Dr Lim, who is a fertility specialist, said women below 35 years old should try to conceive for a year before seeking treatments.
“Those aged above 35 should try for six months and those above 40 should see a doctor immediately, ” she said, adding that it was important to note it was a misconception that women were solely responsible for failure to conceive.
Sunfert director and fertility specialist Dr Eeson Sinthamoney agreed, saying that medical evidence revealed that men contributed equally to factors causing infertility.
The misconception of women being responsible for failure to conceive, he said, had often caused a blame game between couples.
“Many men often assumed that it wasn’t an issue with them, and many women simply accepted it was their fault, ” he said.
He elaborated that while most experts were unclear regarding what caused male infertility, it could be diagnosed.
“This can be achieved by a semen analysis, which will look into the sperm count, morphology (shape of the sperm tail) and motility (ability to swim).
“Morphology affects a sperm’s ability to fertilise an ovum and motility its ability to swim into the fallopian tubes, ” he explained.
He said weak sperms could be aided to reach the ovum, via the intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
Via this method, an individual sperm would be inserted directly into the ovum to mature into an embryo.
Dr Eeson and Dr Lim were speaking during a live Zoom webinar hosted by Star Media Group Bhd.
For women, Dr Lim said among the factors causing infertility included ovulatory dysfunction, a condition in which ova were not released regularly and a blocked fallopian tube due to abnormal tissue growth.
She said the centre would consider some factors before starting a couple on treatments, such as the woman’s age and if she needed any prior surgery, duration for which the couples had been trying to conceive and their emotional state.
To start off intrauterine insemination, she said the woman would be prescribed pills and possibly injections to stimulate ova production.
“The most motile sperms will be isolated from the man’s semen before being inseminated at a suitable time into the female’s womb, ” she said.
In the case of blocked fallopian tubes, weak or low sperm count, Dr Lim said ICSI in a laboratory might be needed, after which the embryo would be transferred into the womb to allow it to implant on the uterine wall, which could take up to 14 days.
She reminded couples that fertility treatments were not something to rush into and that they had to prepare for the emotional and financial costs.
“Understand that it is essentially a numbers game. That will help couples cope better emotionally, ” she advised.
For details, call or WhatsApp 018-230 8181/ 0000 (Sunfert), email to firstname.lastname@example.org