For the most part, conceiving happens naturally. Couples all around us are posting 4D scans and pictures of baby bumps on social media. For 10-15% of couples, it won’t happen naturally. Medical intervention is needed to help them conceive.
Dr Richard Joubert, a gynaecologist and specialist in fertility at Mediclinic and the Surgi Clinic, consulted with Mopani on what might be preventing you from conceiving naturally.
Infertility vs. subfertility
“It is important to know that there is a clear difference between infertility and subfertility. Infertility refers to a woman having no eggs in her ovaries at all, or men having no viable sperm. Subfertility refers to fertile patients that have some hindrances, obstacles or challenge. Luckily, most of my patients will only need some help to make the best out of their own fertility potential”, explained Dr Joubert.
What are the most common causes of subfertility in women?
“Many women are waiting longer to conceive. They want to focus on their careers or they get married a bit later in life. We commonly see women who are over the age of 35, struggling to conceive”, he said.
“There is also the male aspect, some men have issues with their anatomy. We don’t focus on who is at fault, we focus on how we can treat it or improve on chances. This is not a you or me problem, this is a couple problem. It is something they face, together.”
“Some women struggle to ovulate due to conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). We also know that endometriosis, where endometrial tissue grows in places other than the inside of the uterus also impacts fertility. Some women experience perimenopause or they have anatomical issues concerning their fallopian tubes. This refers to a blockage that prevents the sperm and the eggs from meeting.”
What should you do if you are struggling to conceive?
“You should try conceiving naturally for at least a year, unless you are aware of a specific issue you or your partner may have. Once you book an appointment with your fertility specialist or gynaecologist, a variety of tests may be done to determine what is causing the problem.”
“In most cases I can prescribe medication that will aid in ovulation. In some cases, it is not possible to see what is causing the issue with a simple sonar scan. When we have ruled out the simplest things, we do a laparoscopy. This refers to a small incision where we insert a camera to check for any signs of blocked fallopian tubes or other markers. We can also insert a camera from the cervix into the uterus to see if there are any other conditions making the uterus a hostile environment.”
“Once we know what is causing the problem, we can prescribe medication or perform a surgical procedure to fix it or remove any possible obstructions.”
“It is important to keep a healthy, balanced diet, maintain moderate exercise and make sure that you are in overall good health.”
Are surrogate mothers common?
“Not really. We see more women donating eggs to be used to facilitate a pregnancy. Remember, most women are able to carry a baby, even if they are in their 50’s. It is about how viable her eggs are. If a woman’s eggs are not viable, she can use a donor egg and still carry her baby herself”, Dr Joubert explained.
“Surrogate mothers are only used in cases where a woman had a hysterectomy, and therefore has no way of carrying a baby.
“In any of these cases, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) is used as the method. We have a 30-40% chance of success with IVF.”
You can book an appointment with Dr Joubert on 0137457605 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can reach the Surgi Clinic on 013 752 6688, or visit the facility at 15 Hendrik Potgieter street, Nelspruit.
Mopani Pharmacy offers a variety of supplements that offers all the necessary nutrition your body needs for optimum fertility and a healthy pregnancy. Ask your doctor, gynaecologist or pharmacist for a recommendation and any possible contra-indications.
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