Infertility is a sensitive issue and so are the treatments, tests and evaluation that come along with it. Fortunately, there are qualified specialists who are ready to help you deal with this condition.
Your first visit to a GP clinic for your initial examination may be very uncomfortable or even downright frightening, but with due preparation you will know what to expect at your doctor’s office and have a better experience. Here are the important things to remember to dispel some of your doubts and fears about fertility treatments.
Fertility and High Body Mass Index
Obesity is one of the well-known causes of infertility in both men and women in Singapore. Some of the fertility-related health problems diagnosed by Doctor Lam at M Lam clinic in Singapore are due to obesity include reduced sperm count, erectile dysfunction, ovulation disorder, and increased risk of pregnancy complications especially miscarriage.
The body mass index (BMI) helps identify your risk level of various health problems. A person with a normal weight has a BMI ranging from 18.5 to 24.9. If your BMI is over 30, every additional unit decreases your chance of getting pregnant by several percent. High BMI is also associated with hormone imbalance in both men and women.
Rapid weight loss, on the other hand, is not advisable as it can harm your health rather than improve your chances of conceiving. Your GP clinic should recommend a program consisting of physical activities, dietary modifications, and necessary medications.
Infertility diagnosis usually requires several screenings in order to identify the cause of the condition. Your doctor will pick the diagnostic tests to perform according to your medical history and current health and reproductive state.
Tests for Female Partners
• Physical Examination: This is a thorough examination of your reproductive organ often done in a women’s health clinic. During the exam, your healthcare provider will look for signs of hyperprolactinaemia, thyroid gland disorders, uterine anomalies, polycystic ovary syndrome, and other conditions that can affect your fertility. Your healthcare provider will also get your weight and height to calculate your BMI.
• Hormone Balance Blood Test: Your Singapore specialist will perform a blood test to check your hormone levels. There’s a range of hormones that can be tested, but your specialist will identify which beneficial hormones to check. For instance, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), thyrotropin, and prolactin are all important to identify the cause of anovulation. Gonadotrophins and estrogen show the function of the ovaries, while luteinizing hormone indicates egg supply.
• Infectious Disease Testing: HIV and STDs like gonorrhoea and chlamydia are serious infertility causes, but are preventable. You can get infected with chlamydia without showing any symptoms and it can interfere in your efforts to conceive. In an STD and HIV testing, your doctor will take a sample mucous from your vagina and/or cervix and have it thoroughly examined in a laboratory.
• Hysteroslapingograpy: Your women’s health clinic performs this X-ray test to see the shape of your Fallopian tubes and uterus. This test rules out tubal obstruction and abnormalities in the uterine as the possible cause of infertility.
• Ultrasound: This step can be a part of physical examination or another step after hormone testing. Your doctor will use this test to evaluate the condition of your ovaries and uterus, and predict how your ovaries will respond to the treatments and medications.
• Diagnostic Laparoscopy: This minimally invasive surgery, performed under general anaesthesia, allows your doctor to view your internal reproductive organs. The doctor will insert a small tube, with a small video camera on it, through a small incision in the abdomen. Laparoscopy is performed when physical examination results and medical history suggests pelvic adhesions or endometriosis.
Tests for Male Partners
• Physical Examination: Your men’s health clinic specialist will examine your genitals to eliminate conditions like cryptorchidism (undescended testicles), varicele (swelling of testicles and veins), and anatomical abnormalities from the picture.
• Semen Analysis: A men’s health clinic provides this test to assess sperm mobility, sperm count, and its quality. An abstinence from any sexual activity for two to seven days is recommended prior to collection of semen sample.
• Hormone Balance Blood Test: Like women, men also have to undergo this type of blood test in a men’s health clinic. If your physical examination results and medical history shows signs of endocrine disorder, you will have to go through this test. Your testosterone and FSH levels will be checked in case of low sperm count. For signs of hyperprolactinaemia, prolactin levels will be measured.
• STD Screening: As mentioned, STDs pose a serious threat to the health, especially to men’s fertility. In an STD screening, the doctor will take a swab from the opening of the penis and send it to a laboratory for analysis.
• Genetic Testing: The doctor usually suggests this test if he notices features that suggest genetic cause of the infertility case. This test is also recommended if semen analysis results to severe oligospermia (low sperm count) or azoospermia (zero sperm count).
It is possible that, even after the test results say you and your partner are physically normal, you’re still unable to achieve pregnancy. Unfortunately, in these cases, the exact result of infertility is unidentified. It could be disappointing to hear this result after all the work you have put into trying to conceive. However, this does not mean that there is no cure for your case. There are so many treatment options available including vitro fertilization (IVF), combination of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and ovarian stimulation, and other therapy combinations with assisted reproductive treatments and technologies.
When it comes to getting a fertility treatment, you need to work with a qualified Singapore healthcare professional with whom you feel comfortable and who has the expertise to create a treatment program that suites your needs. Working together as a team—you, your partner, and your doctor—it’s possible to create a family that you have always dreamed of for yourself.