1. What is Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART)?
Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) refers to a wide range of fertility treatments that involve the surgical removal of eggs from a woman’s ovaries and combining them with sperm in a laboratory to form embryos for later implantation in the woman’s uterus to achieve pregnancy.
Depending upon the causes of infertility determined through our specialist’s assessment, ART procedures that may be recommended include IntraUterine Insemination (IUI), In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). To increase the rate of success, these procedures are usually combined with conventional treatments, such as the use of fertility medications.
2. What is IntraUterine Insemination (IUI)?
In IUI, a sperm sample is collected from the woman’s spouse. In the laboratory, our specialist selects sperms of good quality, particularly those sperm that move fast and have no physical abnormalities. When a woman is close to ovulation – which occurs during the middle of her monthly cycle – these good quality sperms are inserted into her uterus with the use of a catheter.
The goal of IUI is to enable the sperm to have a good head start so that it can reach the eggs faster in order for fertilisation to occur. This procedure is recommended in cases of ovulation or endometriosis-related problems in the female, impotence/premature ejaculation, low sperm count, or decreased sperm mobility in the male, or unexplained infertility in either or both spouses.
3. What is IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)?
ICSI is a fertilisation procedure wherein one good quality sperm is injected directly into a mature egg. After a few days of incubation, the embryo is transferred to the woman’s uterus for implantation in the uterine lining.
This procedure is recommended when the quality of the man’s sperm is poor or fertilisation cannot take place due to the thickness of or changes occurring in the egg membrane (known as the zona pellucida).
4. When should a woman see a fertility specialist?
Studies have shown that maximum fertility rates occur in women between 20 and 25 years old. At this age range, women have a higher chance of achieving spontaneous conception.
As a woman ages, her changes of achieving pregnancy decreases with the decline of the quality of the eggs in her ovaries. In these cases, it is recommended to get an early diagnostic evaluation, preferably below age 35 and have not become pregnant after trying for one full year without using any form of contraception. For women between 35-40 years old, consultation is advised after 6 months of trying. Immediate evaluation is recommended for women who are above 40 years old.
However, regardless of your age, if you have a history of irregular periods, endometriosis, fibroids, repeated pregnancy loss and other factors, you need to get an evaluation and treatment immediately.
During your first consultation, your fertility specialist will take your medical history, conduct a thorough physical exam, and recommend blood tests and a pelvic ultrasound. He/she may also advise making lifestyle changes to increase your chances of conceiving naturally. If these conventional methods fail, fertility treatments will be initiated.
5. What are the causes of infertility in men?
The causes of male infertility are largely due to the quality of sperm. For this reason, male infertility is diagnosed by performing a semen analysis. Among the sperm characteristics that specialists analyse are…
Sperm Count – considered low if the number of sperm is less than 20 million in a millilitre of semen. A good semen sample should contain at least 40 million sperm.
Sperm Motility – especially selected are sperm that swim fast and move well so that they are highly likely to reach the egg.
Abnormal Sperm Morphology – requires analysis the sperm’s shape and structure. Ideal sperm have oval heads and long tails. Sperm with two heads, the presence of vacuoles in the sperm heads, and other abnormalities that will make the sperm less likely to fertilise the egg.
Other causes of male infertility include obstruction of the vas deferens (the duct that transports sperm from the testes to the urethra), hormonal imbalances, retrograde ejaculation, and genetic defects.
6. What is the estimated total cost of the IVF programme?
The cost depends upon the type of programme, the type and amount of drugs to be used, procedures performed, and the addition of ART techniques such as ICSI. Variations in costs are also dependent upon the individual’s response to the treatments.
For more information about the costs of our IVF programme and other fertility treatments, contact us today or you may schedule an appointment with our specialists.