1What are the causes of infertility?

Approximately 40% of the causes are of male origin, 40% is of female origin and in 20 % of the cases, there is no obvious identifiable cause. In many couples, both the man and woman face problems. The male causes of infertility are mainly due to problems with sperm, either low sperm count or poor sperm quality.
The female causes can include one or more of the following:

  • Ovulation defects including polycystic ovarian disease (PCO)
  • Problems related to uterus, e.g. fibroid, endometrial defects etc.
  • Fallopian tube blockage or disease
  • Endometriosis
2How long should we try to conceive before opting for infertility treatment?

Most experts suggest at least one year. Women aged 35 years or older should see their doctors after six months of trying.

It is a good idea for any couple to talk to a doctor before trying to get pregnant. Doctors can help you get your body ready for a healthy baby. They can also answer questions on fertility and give tips on conceiving.

3Are the hormone treatments harmful for us or for our (future) child?

Hormones administered during IVF treatment may have some side-effects. Fortunately, they are not serious and are mostly temporary.

4Does IVF significantly increase the chances of twins or triplets?

Yes to some extent, for usually two embryos are placed in the uterus during embryo transfer . For women above 37 years, it might be decided to transfer 3 embryos. This is to improve the chances of pregnancy. Recently there is an upcoming trend of single embryo transfer which would definitely reduce the chances of multiple pregnancies.

5Do we have to be extra careful after transfer of the embryo to ensure its implantation?

After the embryo transfer,there is little that you can do – medically nor practically –to aid its implantation. So do not feel guilty at all if the implantation doesn’t occur. However, it is advised to take general care of yourself and maintain stress levels.

6Can I exercise while I’m undergoing IVF treatment?

Yes, but you should refrain from high-impact exercise and opt for workouts such as walking, swimming, yoga, or cycling during IVF treatment.

7Does IVF produce a higher incidence of ectopic pregnancy (implantation outside the womb)?

A woman who is pregnant through natural fertilisation has 1% chance of an ectopic pregnancy. Chances are no higher for an IVF pregnancy unless the woman concerned already has damage to one or both of her fallopian tubes.

However, IVF treatment may produce an ectopic pregnancy. Even though the transfer involves very careful insertion of the embryo(s) into the womb, the embryo does not immediately attach itself to the wall of the womb. This explains why it sometimes migrates to the fallopian tube and develops there.

8Is there a higher risk of birth defects with a child born from IVF?

With in vitro fertilization, or IVF, children have a 9 % chance of birth defects overall, compared to a 6.6 % chance in naturally conceived babies. But whether the cause of these defects is the fertility treatment itself or is it due to the actual cause of infertility is still unclear.

9Can we have intercourse during our treatment cycle?

We advise all patients on a stimulated cycle to abstain from intercourse after starting FSH injections up until 2 days after the egg collection. The reason is that a stray sperm and a stray egg left over from your egg pick-up could add up to unplanned multiple pregnancies or an ectopic pregnancy. If you are commencing a natural or frozen cycle we advise that you speak with your nurse coordinator regarding this matter. If you are having PGD (genetic testing of embryos to avoid a genetic disease) then intercourse is even more dangerous, as your baby could come from an untested embryo.

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