When it comes to women’s health, one of the most common problems they face is infertility or the difficulty in conceiving. To have a clearer view, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, infertility is actually a disease, defined by the failure to achieve pregnancy after twelve months or more of a regular unprotected intercourse. The case of infertility is not just rampant in Singapore; rather it is present all over the world. In fact, figures show that one out of eight women and their partners are going through fertility issues even as early as in their 20s and this problem is affecting for different reasons. Since each person is different from the other, their respective reasonable time period to achieve pregnancy without treatment varies too. How early it is evaluated and treated can be determined based on the patient’s medical history and physical findings and is warranted after six months for women above 35 years old.
Choosing a Fertility Specialist for Testing and Infertility Treatment
Those who are seeking or are planning to seek professional help to treat infertility should start with either a good general gynaecologist or an infertility specialist (also known as reproductive endocrinologist). While there are general gynaecologists who are known to be good at the initial fertility evaluation and very basic infertility treatment, it is still downright imperative to know about your chosen doctor’s training and experience to support your chances and confidence of getting properly and appropriately treated. Consequently, it will be a plus if your doctor is a fellowship trained fertility specialist which means he/she rendered three additional years of specialized infertility training after he/she completes four years of Obstetrics and Gynaecology residency training. One way to confirm this is to ask if your doctor if he/she did a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Generally in women’s health, it is ideal to visit a fertility specialist right then and there or after six to twelve months of treatment with the gynaecologist, depending on the female partner’s age and the cause of infertility.
Moreover, below are the signs that it is the best time to visit a fertility specialist:
- If you are below 35 years old and you have been unable to get pregnant after one year of unprotected intercourse
- If you are 35 years old or above and you have not been able to conceive after six months of trying, suffering from irregular menstrual cycles, or have been monitoring ovulation without a positive result. It is also the best time to visit your doctor if you are diagnosed with cancer during reproductive years ago and you still want to preserve your ability to have children.
Furthermore, there are a number of criteria to take a look into to determine whether an immediate referral to a fertility specialist doctor is highly needed:
- Female age of about 38 or older
- Blocked one or both fallopian tubes regardless of the female age
- Other tubal problems regardless of the female age (ex. more than one tubal ectopic pregnancy)
- Male with a sperm count under 10 million per ml or sperm motility under 40 per cent
- If you have moderate or severe endometriosis regardless of the age
- If you encounter ovulation problems like polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS treated with three to six months of Clomid without conception regardless of the age
- IVF pregnancy success rates per egg retrieval or per embryo transfer
- Abnormal ovarian reserve tests like elevated day 3 FSH level regardless of the age
Cost of Fertility Treatment
How much you are going to spend depends on the fertility treatment you need. It does not actually always have to be expensive even if it can be a confusing process to determine what coverage is free from your health insurance plans. Fortunately, there are a lot of fertility centres nowadays that offer detailed financial plans and on-site financial counsellors to assist you with the process.