AM I FERTILE?
February is Fertility Awareness month. The month to answer a very intimidating question - am I fertile? Before reaching this conclusion there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, it's important to note that before you allow your imagination to run wild with the fear that you may be, you need to have been trying to conceive for at least 12 months. If after a year you and your partner have not conceived, don't fret there are a few other points to keep in mind:1. Are you over the age of 35? If so, as I'm sure you're well aware, your biological clock could be a possible reason for infertility. Studies have shown that women over 35 have a more difficult time falling pregnant compared to younger women due to the fewer production of eggs.
2. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango and, when it comes to infertility both partners should be tested in order to determine the cause. For men, it may be a sperm disorder that has gone undetected. We recommend giving you and your partner peace of mind by booking an appointment with us for a semen analysis. For R1200, we can confirm whether your sperm has the strength to swim upriver or, if they need a little boost. Either way, we're here to help you!
3. Babies are made in fallopian tubes. That said, if you're a female under the age of 35, that hasn't conceived after 12 months of trying to, an HSG test (an X-ray that can determine if your fallopian tubes need to be opened) can be done. Although this is not done at our centre, we can assist you to the best of our ability once you have received your results.
Finally, a word of encouragement - fear not! Here at the Family Matters Fertility Centre, we are capable and compassionate to walk this journey of conception with you offering you the option of IVF that we do at our on-site laboratory. If you'd like to book an appointment, please click the link below.
BANKING YOUR EGGS, FREEZING YOUR FUTURE BABIES
Unfortunately, as women age, their fertility declines. The biological clock is REAL. I’ve seen many women focused on climbing the corporate ladder to reach financial independence but, as they attend their routine gynae checks - a chat on starting a family reveals that many of them would love to be moms one day when circumstances allow. As I assess them, some of their sonars show that their eggs are depleting. My advice for them is to do a blood test (AMH) to check-in on their ovarian reserve. I explain this test to be like a petrol gauge that indicates to you the mileage you can cover. For a woman whose sonar reveals fewer follicles and AMH levels on the decline, it may be an indicator to focus the attention on plans of motherhood earlier than anticipated. Where fertility is concerned, ignorance is not bliss, but pain. A poor ovarian reserve means missing out on the chance of having a biological child. However, all hope is not lost as there is the option of egg donation as an alternative and others. So what do you do if you’re not ready to be a mom but would love to be one day? Either you haven’t met your Prince in shining armour yet, your career has just begun to skyrocket, or, your financial situation needs to add up first (as babies don’t come cheap they say). Then BANK your eggs - something I refer to as your FERTILITY INSURANCE or FERTILITY BACK-UP. As your eggs are aging or wasting away each month it slowly reduces chances of future motherhood. Since you’re not spending on nappies and the formula yet, why not invest in such a change towards your fertility insurance and freeze your eggs? This would ensure that in the case you run into a situation of delayed motherhood readiness for whatever reason and your eggs are depleted, there’s a viable plan B for your own biological child. Freezing eggs offers the advantage that after the age of 35 years of age the quality of your eggs would not be compromised and their age would remain not a day or a second older than the day you froze them. This means that even if you’re only ready for a baby at the age of 42, your fertility investment can be cashed in to give you the opportunity of the family you desire. At Family Matters Fertility Centre this is achieved with 3 components:
1. Our world-class technology in the fertility lab.
2. Highly skilled Team of Fertility Specialist doctor, embryologist, God Almighty and of course.
3. You and your lovely self.
For more information book a consultation with us today!
IVF stands for In-vitro fertilization. This means that instead of the meeting of egg and sperm (Fertilization)in the fallopian tube of the woman, the meeting is done in the laboratory where the woman's eggs are removed from the ovary and fertilized with the sperm from the man. The embryo then develops in the lab and is transferred into the woman’s womb after 3-5 days.
When is IVF done?
How is IVF done? Steps to IVF
Ovarian stimulation during IVF
Naturally, the body releases one mature egg per month for fertilization. Ovarian stimulation involves the administration of medication to the woman which stimulates the ovaries to instead produce about 5 - 10 eggs during the menstruation cycle. The process takes about 8 - 12 days on average depending on the body's response.
Monitoring during IVF
During the process of stimulation with drugs, the ovarian response is checked/monitored by transvaginal sonar to confirm follicular growth by measuring the size of the ovarian follicles, the thickness of the lining of the womb and blood tests. Expected follicular growth is 18mm on average and the womb lining thickness of 8mm.
Ovarian aspiration (egg pick-up)
This is the process that involves harvesting the eggs from the woman’s ovaries into a petri-dish of the lab for assessment and fertilization. The woman is sedated with medication that makes her not to feel pain during the procedure. A sonar is done transvaginally to view the ovarian follicles well and a needle inserted with sonar guidance into the ovary. Suction is then applied to draw out as many eggs as available. The procedure takes anything between 10 - 30 minutes, depending on the number of eggs available and the position of the ovaries.
Fertilization of egg and sperm:
IVF or ICSI
This is the fun part that takes place in the laboratory. If the quality of the sperm is good, then natural fertilization (IVF) is left to take place overnight where the sperm is poured over the eggs and courtship takes place between the two and the egg naturally selects the best sperm for itself. If there is abnormality in the sperm quantity or quality, then our very skilled embryologist is the one who analyzes (under a microscope) the sperm sample produced, then chooses the best looking, fittest, fastest guy to inject into the egg for fertilization. This process is called ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection).
All of the above procedures can be done here at Family Matters Fertility Centre, with staff that are competent and compassionate to assist you along the way.
Give us a call to book an appointment and begin your fertility journey.