Embarking on the journey to conceive a child is an exciting and deeply personal experience for couples. However, it can also be accompanied by a multitude of concerns and questions that arise along the way. From the optimal timing of intercourse to understanding fertility factors, couples often find themselves grappling with uncertainties.
To shed light on these common concerns, Dr Janice Tung, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Accredited IVF Specialist @MBBS (S’pore), MRCOG (Lond), shares valuable insights into the realm of fertility and trying to conceive. Answering the questions that were asked during the “Getting Pregnant 101 Webinar: Are You Working Hard or Smart?”, Dr Tung provides guidance and support as couples navigate the path towards parenthood.
Does birth control affect a woman’s fertility?
The short answer is no. However, if you have been on a birth control pill for very long, it may thin out the lining and recovery would take longer. Also, the time alone that has passed while you are on the birth control pill would also lead to a natural impact on fertility.
Is it true that the older I get, the higher the risks are of conceiving a baby with birth defects?
True. But this should not stop someone from trying for a baby. There is no certainty in life, since even when you are young, there can be problems. Even a healthy baby may face problems later in life, such as learning difficulties and autism. Unless you do not have a baby at all, else, there is no certainty, whichever age you are.
How does work stress affect fertility and trying to conceive?
So far, stress has been hard to quantify and, hence, hard to qualify. There’s been an association certainly. Medical science has tried to explain it by trying to detect the production of pro-inflammatory chemical factors or certain raised hormone levels in stressful situations or environments. Therefore, with regard to work-related stress, our advice would be to try and resolve or optimise any stressful situation, and to have ways to cope with stress.
Dr Tung explains that there are various factors including lifestyle and hormonal that may affect one’s fertility
Is it advisable to take folate supplement while trying to conceive? It seems to be giving me an acne breakout, though.
Yes, it is generally advisable for women who are trying to conceive to take a folate supplement. Most healthcare professionals recommend that women who are planning to become pregnant or are in the early stages of pregnancy take a daily folic acid supplement of 400 to 800 micrograms (mcg) alongside a healthy diet.
Folate, also known as folic acid or vitamin B9, is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in the early development of the baby’s neural tube. Adequate folate intake before and during pregnancy can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in the developing fetus.
If you have noticed a correlation between taking folate supplements and experiencing acne breakouts, it’s possible that there may be an underlying cause or individual sensitivity in your case. While folate is generally well-tolerated, individual reactions can vary.
Here are a few possible explanations and suggestions to consider:
Dosage: The dosage of the folate supplement might be too high for your body. Higher doses of certain vitamins and minerals can sometimes lead to adverse effects. Consider discussing with your healthcare provider to determine if a lower dosage might be more suitable for you.
Other factors: It’s important to consider if there are other factors contributing to your acne breakouts. Hormonal changes, stress, diet, skincare products, and other lifestyle factors can also affect the condition of your skin. Evaluating these factors alongside the folate supplementation can help identify the root cause.
Alternative sources: Instead of relying solely on supplements, you can try incorporating more folate-rich foods into your diet. Leafy green vegetables, lentils, beans, citrus fruits, and fortified cereals are all good sources of natural folate. By obtaining folate through whole foods, you may be less likely to experience adverse effects.
Remember, every individual is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Seeking professional guidance will help you make informed decisions about your supplementation and overall health.
Will a fertility check affect one’s virginity?
No, it is possible to check without affecting virginity. Virginity is a term typically used to describe a person who has not engaged in sexual intercourse. It is unrelated to fertility testing, which involves assessing reproductive health and the ability to conceive. Fertility checks usually include medical evaluations, tests, and examinations to determine factors that may affect a person’s ability to conceive a child. These tests do not impact a person’s virginity status in any way.
While IVF presents various benefits for couples trying to conceive, Dr Janice Tung also presents the side effects and risks to manage a couple’s expectations
Are there any benefits of egg freezing in preparation for IVF?
Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a process in which a woman’s eggs are collected, frozen, and stored for future use. It is often done as a means of fertility preservation, allowing women to preserve their eggs when they are younger and more fertile for use in the future, including in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. Here are some benefits of egg freezing in preparation for IVF:
Preserving fertility: Egg freezing provides women with the opportunity to preserve their fertility when they are in their prime reproductive years. As women age, the quantity and quality of their eggs decline, making it more difficult to conceive. By freezing eggs at a younger age, women can increase their chances of having a biological child later in life.
Medical conditions and treatments: Egg freezing is particularly beneficial for women who are facing medical conditions or treatments that may affect their fertility. Conditions such as cancer or autoimmune disorders, as well as treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy, can potentially harm a woman’s eggs. By freezing eggs before undergoing such treatments, women can safeguard their fertility and increase their chances of conceiving after recovery.
Lifestyle choices: Many women choose to delay starting a family due to various personal and professional reasons. Egg freezing allows them to preserve their fertility while they focus on their careers, education, or other life goals. It provides a sense of security, knowing that they have frozen eggs available when they are ready to have children.
Partner availability: Some women may be in a committed relationship but not yet ready to start a family due to factors such as financial stability or personal circumstances. Freezing eggs allows them to extend the window of opportunity to have a biological child with their partner by preserving their eggs until they are ready for IVF.
Peace of mind: Egg freezing can provide emotional and psychological benefits by offering peace of mind. Women who are concerned about their future fertility may experience reduced anxiety and stress knowing that they have taken proactive steps to preserve their eggs for potential use in the future.
Increased success rates: The success of IVF largely depends on the quality of eggs used. By freezing eggs at a younger age, when they are typically healthier and more viable, women can potentially increase their chances of successful pregnancy and childbirth when they decide to use those frozen eggs in an IVF cycle.
It’s important to note that the success of egg freezing and IVF depends on various factors, including the age at which the eggs were frozen, the number of eggs retrieved, and the overall health of the woman. Consulting with a fertility specialist can provide personalised information and guidance based on an individual’s specific circumstances.
Is it true that going through IVF will increase the chances of conceiving twins?
Yes. During IVF, multiple embryos may be transferred to the uterus to increase the chances of successful implantation. This is done to improve the likelihood of achieving a pregnancy, considering that not all embryos may develop normally or implant successfully. By transferring more than one embryo, the likelihood of multiple pregnancies, including twins, increases.
Also, prior to IVF, women undergo ovarian stimulation using fertility drugs to encourage the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. This is done to increase the chances of obtaining viable embryos for transfer. However, this stimulation can occasionally lead to the release of multiple eggs during ovulation, which can result in the conception of twins or more.
DIY insemination devices are becoming more available in Singapore. Are they more effective?
I believe in home insemination method since it allows for more stress-free consistent trying. But a syringe and cup would do. There’s no need to purchase special devices. It can be stressful when you run out, plus such devices are expensive.
About the Expert:
Dr Janice Tung, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Accredited IVF Specialist @MBBS (S’pore), MRCOG (Lond), obtained her medical degree from the National University of Singapore, where she received the SS Ratnam Book Prize by the O&G Society of Singapore, for coming top of her cohort in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G). She is currently a member of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (UK).