Starting a family is an exciting process, but when you’re trying to conceive and it just doesn’t seem to be happening, it can be heartbreaking. But with the advancement of medicine and technology, there are now multiple treatment options available to help you and your partner start a family.
Infertility is more common than you might think, and there are many causes, but fortunately for hopeful parents there are also many treatments.
To help you understand this common issue we have compiled a list of information about some of the causes and the treatments that we offer.
What is Infertility?
Infertility is when you have difficulty trying to conceive.
Many risk factors can impact your chances of getting pregnant, including:
- Age – As a woman ages her chances of conceiving reduce. In a woman’s early to mid 20s there is a 25-30% chance of pregnancy every month, however by the time they’re in their 40s it reduces to around 5%.
- Ovulation problems – Some women do not ovulate regularly due to underlying conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or amenorrhoea. This lack of menstrual regularity can make it difficult to conceive naturally.
- Endometriosis – Endometriosis affects the growth of cells that line the uterus, this can lead to problems conceiving and staying pregnant.
- Azoospermia – Infertility isn’t just a woman’s issue, it affects men as well. Some males have a condition called azoospermia which is the absence of sperm.
Despite this condition affecting 1 in 6 couples in Australia, it is not a commonly discussed topic as it can be upsetting to talk about, and this can make you feel alone. But it’s important to remember that you’re not alone, there are many resources and people out there to support you.
There are many fertility clinics and doctors around Australia that can help find out why you’re experiencing trouble conceiving and treat you so that you can finally get pregnant.
The first step in treating fertility problems is finding out the cause. The treatment may be slightly different depending on the cause of your infertility.
When you visit a clinic your doctor will complete a full fertility assessment to understand the struggles you are facing and then discuss your treatment options.
To help you understand your options, let’s take a look at some of the common infertility treatments that Dr. Kelvin Larwood specialises in.
Ovulation Induction is usually prescribed as the first line of treatment for infertility issues that are caused by irregular menstrual cycles.
This treatment involves taking oral or injectable medication that stimulates and regulates ovulation. You will usually start the medication at the beginning of your menstrual cycle and then your doctor will monitor your body’s response using ultrasounds.
Your doctor will then be able to advise the best time to begin intercourse or insemination for the best chances of successful conception.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) involves inserting the prepared semen through the neck of the womb, into the uterus, close to the time of ovulation.
IUI can be prescribed alongside ovulation induction treatments or to coincide with your natural ovulation cycle, depending on the severity of your infertility.
This treatment is also common for patients who are using a sperm donor.
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is used to treat a range of fertility issues to give couples the best chances of giving birth to a healthy baby.
IVF is the process where the egg and sperm are joined outside of the body in specialised laboratory conditions. The fertilised egg is then given a chance to grow for around 5 days in this protected environment before being transferred into the woman’s uterus.
Your doctor will coordinate, monitor and support you through the entire process to ensure you the best possible chances of a successful pregnancy.
If more than two embryos develop during this process, they can be safely frozen for use during later cycles or for a second pregnancy.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is an optional additional stage of an IVF treatment cycle, which is mainly used to help overcome severe male infertility problems.
ICSI is the process of injecting a single sperm cell into each egg to assist with fertilisation using micro-manipulation equipment.
Along with IVF, ICSI is one of the most common Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) techniques used in Australia.
Most clinics will treat both male and female infertility issues. One common treatment for male infertility is sperm collections.
If the hopeful father is diagnosed with azoospermia, your doctor will be able to perform a surgical sperm collection in order to assess and collect healthy sperm cells that can be used during IUI or IVF treatments.
If you are experiencing issues with becoming pregnant, and are looking for help on your journey to parenthood, you can visit Dr. Kelvin Larwoods private clinic in Buderim on the Sunshine Coast.