If you and your partner are having problems conceiving, it is encouraged that you should show mutual support by going for fertility assessments together
First comes love, then comes marriage, and next should be the baby in a carriage, right?
But unfortunately for some couples adding a baby into the equation is not as easy as it seems and the fertility journey may prove to be a rather uphill and rocky one.
theAsianparent spoke to Dr Yeong Cheng Toh and Dr Fong Yang, Fertility Specialists at Virtus Fertility Centre Singapore, for some expert advice about fertility issues and how couples should seek treatment together.
1. What are the fertility problems that Singaporean couples face?
Up to 1 in 6 Singaporean couples can experience difficulties when trying for a baby and up to a third of couples will have difficulties due to a combination of male and female factors.
After a woman’s age, male infertility is the single biggest reason a couple may have trouble conceiving.
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.
Endometriosis is a common fertility issue faced by Singaporean women.
It is a common condition affecting one in 10 women, especially women over the age of 30 who have not yet had children.
Endometriosis can affect a woman’s fertility by altering the uterine environment, making it difficult for a fertilised embryo to implant.
It may also affect the quality of the egg produced for fertilisation.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is another common fertility problem.
It is a hormonal condition that affects up to one in five women of reproductive age, and can make it more difficult to become pregnant naturally.
PCOS affects a woman’s fertility because the ovaries of women diagnosed with PCOS contain small cysts or follicles which may not produce eggs capable of being fertilised.
The most common cause of male infertility is azoospermia – where no spermatozoa are produced and/ or found in the ejaculate and oligospermia – where fewer spermatozoa are produced.
Sometimes spermatozoa are malformed, and in rare cases genetic diseases may be at fault.
Other specific conditions include immunological infertility where men develop antibodies against their own sperm, and retrograde ejaculation where sperm is not ejaculated through the urethra but into the urinary bladder and blockages in the vas deferens, due to injury or a previous vasectomy or subnormal quality of sperms.
2. Why is it important for couples to both go for a fertility assessment together?
Infertility is a complex medical condition affecting around 15% of the population.
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.
It is important for couples to go for fertility assessments together as infertility issues affect both men and women.
Although infertility is often thought of as a women’s condition since a woman’s age is the most significant factor affecting a couple’s chance of conception, research shows that male infertility is the next most significant factor affecting a couple’s inability to conceive.
Go to the next page to find out more about the fertility treatments available