There’s a lot more talk about sex these days, but perhaps not enough talk about fertility health issues. In fact, many Singaporeans still find this a touchy subject and aren’t open to discussing fertility issues. Seeing a doctor is often stigmatised as a last resort or that something must be wrong. In truth, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with discussing fertility issues, for there are many couples who struggle with fertility. More often than not, the solution isn’t that complicated and the sooner you seek help, the better. Here’s why.
Fertility in Singapore
Many young couples who are trying to conceive are not sure when to be concerned about their fertility health. From a medical standpoint, a woman is generally considered infertile if she is unable to conceive after 12 months of trying1. However, early family planning is always a good idea. Especially if you are in your 30s and older, it is advisable to seek medical advice, as your fertility and the success of fertility treatments are affected by age.
Having said that, if you are having trouble trying to conceive, you can rest assured that you are not alone. In fact, about 15% of couples in Singapore are unable to conceive within 12 months of trying for a baby1. The good news is, although female infertility is growing worldwide, there are plenty of treatment options available. With medical and technological advancements, treatment for infertility has become more affordable, more effective, and with fewer side effects, so that’s great!
To get started, it’s important to understand how reproduction works, what factors affect your fertility, possible problems, and fertility treatment options.
1. Understanding Fertility and How it Works
Oftentimes, couples may experience problems trying to conceive not because of fertility problems, but rather, a lack of knowledge about trying to conceive. Timed sexual intercourse is key to conceiving, for conception only happens when you are fertile! A visit to your doctor can be useful in helping you to better understand your cycle as well as how to identify your most fertile days. It’s a simple step to boost your chances of conceiving successfully.
Furthermore, it’s important that you are having regular periods as well as producing and releasing a mature egg during each cycle in order to have good fertility health. Again, some of these problems are less complicated than you think, and they can easily be solved with a doctor’s advice.
2. Common Female Fertility Issues
-Age: One of the biggest factors adversely affecting female fertility is age, so it’s best not to put off trying to conceive for too long. Also, as you get older, don’t wait too long to seek medical help when trying to conceive.
– Endometriosis: When the tissue lining the uterus grows outside the uterus making it harder for the egg to fertilise and the embryo to implant. This is known to cause extremely heavy and painful periods or even pain during sexual intercourse.
-Fibroids: Lumps of uterine cell tissue growing inside or around your uterus.
-Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: A common hormonal problem where your ovaries have many small follicles, thus preventing your egg from maturing. Symptoms include irregular periods, acne, obesity, and increased hair growth.
-Lack of ovulation: When you do not produce or produce insufficient eggs1
-Fallopian Tube Issues1
3. Common Male Fertility Issues
People often assume that fertility issues are related to women. This isn’t true. About 40% of the fertility issue cases at Virtus Fertility Centre Singapore are actually in relation to male fertility. Again, there is not enough talk about male fertility in our society, and as such, men aren’t as forthcoming to discuss this. There is nothing to be ashamed of, and there are many men who are struggling with male fertility health. It’s important to normalise fertility health and talk about it. Here are some common male fertility problems:
-Abnormal Sperm Production
-Lifestyle Factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol, prescription medication, steroids, excess weight, high BMI, exposure to radiation, etc.
4. Treatment Options Available
As mentioned earlier, treatment options for fertility issues are aplenty these days. Before venturing into treatment, your doctor will conduct a detailed check on your background, lifestyle, and all that is necessary. A fertility health check will help to determine what options suit you. Fertility health checks generally include some simple blood tests and ultrasound scans (for women). Where necessary, you may have additional tests.
Your doctor may then advise you on how to conceive naturally by understanding your fertility window, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, improving your diet, and so on. If you require specific treatment, your doctor will advise accordingly and arrange for it.
Virtus Fertility Centre
Virtus Fertility Centre (VFC) is a clinic that understands the specific requirements and needs of Singaporean couples who are trying to conceive. VFC focuses on the holistic fertility journey, with each couple’s fertility treatment personalised to their specific situation. Fertility specialists, embryologists, and fertility counsellors work together with each couple from the start of treatment so they are fully supported on their journey. When IVF cycles are not successful or couples experience miscarriage, counsellors are on hand to offer support. VFC offers integrated fertility treatment including early fertility planning and checks, a full suite of Assisted Reproductive Technology treatments such as IVF, IUI, and ICSI, and onsite andrology and embryology laboratories. Options are also available for those interested in incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine into their fertility planning.
With a wide network of both local and international fertility experts, VFC makes available innovative services such as artificial intelligence–aided selection of embryos, and digital ID tracking of every egg, sperm, and embryo in the laboratory.
Some of the common treatment options offered by VFC include:
-Male and Couple Fertility tests
-Ovulation Induction – stimulating ovulation through medication
-Artificial Insemination (IUI) – inserting prepared semen into the neck of the womb to maximise your chance of conceiving naturally
-In Vitro Fertilisation – IVF and ICSI
As you can see, there are many possible causes for fertility issues amongst couples trying to conceive. It is important to normalise fertility health, especially discussions around male fertility. No one should feel embarrassed or outcast when facing fertility health issues. Early family planning is also important as the sooner you plan and seek medical advice, the sooner you can identify underlying health challenges and address them. If you are having trouble conceiving, or would like to understand more about your fertility health and the best timing to start a family, make an appointment at Virtus Fertility Centre and go forth on this journey with confidence.