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I’m Infertile – What Next?

There are few things more heart-breaking than being ready but not able to get pregnant. Yes, you’re genuinely happy for other mums, but watching yet another friend announcing yet another pregnancy can make your heart ache. Because you’ve been anxiously dreading your period each month for…well it feels like so long you’ve lost track.

Dr Eskander

That said, many couples make all kinds of assumptions after trying but not managing to get pregnant for a while. Just because you have fertility problems, doesn’t necessarily mean all is lost.

We sat down with one of the UK’s most esteemed obstetrician-gynaecologists, Dr Alex Eskander, director of London’s leading women’s health clinic The Gynae Centre. He took us through what to do if you’re struggling to conceive. The Gynae Centre has spent decades providing gold standard fertility testing to help patients discover what’s standing in the way of their dream of becoming parents.

I’m Infertile - What Next?

First Step, Go For Fertility Screening

The rule of thumb is usually if you’ve been trying for a year or more, get tested. Having said that, if you are aged 35 or over, you may want to go sooner. When it comes to your fertility, time is precious.

Be sure you go to a clinic that will be exhaustive in its screening procedures and in examining your medical history. You want to know exactly what’s going on in order to best deal with it.

Don’t Assume The Problem Is The Woman’s

Dr Eskander said: “It’s amazing how often we still hear infertility and the biological clock talked about as if it’s purely a women’s problem, but that’s a myth. Actually, in around 40-50% of infertility cases, the man’s fertility is in the equation1. Many possible issues could be at play here, including suboptimal sperm, testicular problems, infection or even medication side effects. So never assume – men must be checked out as well.”

Here at Private Pregnancy UK we can help you find a Top Private Fertility/IVF Consultant or a Private Fertility/IVF Clinic or Hospital to guide you on your IVF journey.

What Kinds Of Treatments Might Be Able To Help Me Conceive?

Dr Eskander said: “In fact many problems that can obstruct fertility – endometriosis, ovulatory conditions, suboptimal sperm and so on – can actually be overcome with assisted conception techniques like IVF. Even unexplained infertility, which accounts for around a quarter of all cases, can often be beaten with interventions like IVF.”

Below is a list of the main reproductive treatments:

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

IVF is the process of fertilising a woman’s eggs with sperm in a lab, and then transferring the embryo(s) into the womb to develop. It can be used to circumvent an array of fertility problems, including ovulatory disorders, blocked fallopian tubes, abnormal sperm, endometriosis and unexplained infertility.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) and Physiological Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (PICSI)

ICSI bears a lot of resemblance to IVF except that in ICSI, fertility experts inject sperm directly into the woman’s egg in the laboratory. Hence the process is generally adopted for men with suboptimal sperm that would not be able to fertilise an egg otherwise.

The PICSI process is the same as the ICSI process, except that scientists identify and select the best sperm for injection.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

During IUI, the semen is washed before being carefully injected into the uterus using a purpose-designed catheter. This ensures the sperm is deposited near the uterine entrance of each of your fallopian tubes, and so the sperm then has less ground to cover to reach a woman’s egg. IUI is often used in conjunction with ovulation induction or controlled ovarian stimulation with fertility drugs.

Ovulation Induction

With ovulation induction, fertility experts can identify your optimal ‘fertile window’ using scans and hormone analysis. From here either natural conception, ovarian stimulation (using fertility drugs), and/or intrauterine insemination can be attempted.

Beyond this list, there are other interventions that may help, including ovarian surgery, surgical sperm aspiration, genetic testing and even reproductive immunology. A top clinic will have a wealth of tools at their disposal.

But the key message to leave with is that if you really want a baby, the worst thing you can do is make assumptions or bury your head in the sand. The first step is gold standard, exhaustive testing. Once you have a detailed diagnosis of any problems then an expert team can talk you through all your options and put together a specially designed plan for you.

Related article: How IVF Works

REFERENCES

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4691969/

 

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