Ways to Combat Infertility

I have discovered how shallow my understanding about infertility last Saturday when I attended Merck Philippines Bridging Baby Steps Fertility Awareness Campaign at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel.

All the while, I thought that if you already have a baby, you won’t encounter any more problems in conceiving. But then I was wrong. Even my fertility quiz result stated that there is no indication that I will need to see a reproductive specialist, I learned that I and my partner may still have infertility problems, though we already have two kids.

My fertility quiz result

Infertility according to Dr. Leonardo Almeda is the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of adequate cohabitation. Among women below 35 years conception is achieved in 60% after 6 months and 85% in one year. After 35 years only 60% in one year and 85% in two years.

What I understand during the forum is the huge importance of the EGG and the SEMEN. And how AGE, HEALTH, and LIFESTYLE also affect conception. Other factors that affect a couple’s ability to procreate such as socio-cultural practices, including the marrying age, educational status, professional goals.

Also, the big question here is how well do you know your body? For women, do you have blocked fallopian tubes, do you have ovulation disorders or mild endometriosis? For men, do you suffer from severe sperm deficits? These are issues that may be hard to talk to even with our closest friends for fear of being ridiculed, so we need experts to explain it to us.

To assess if you are having infertility problems couples may answer these questions.

  1. How many years has the couple been trying to conceive?
  2. What investigation has been previously done?
  3. What treatment options have been performed?
  4. Have you been evaluated by board-certified infertility specialists?

During the forum, Dr. Anthony Marc Ancheta explained the treatments to infertility like Ovulation Induction, follicle monitoring, and timed intercourse, IUI or Intrauterine Insemination, and IN VITRO FERTILIZATION

For Ovulation induction, follicle monitoring, and timed intercourse, at least one good quality egg, with an adequate number of rapidly swimming and quality sperms is needed.

For IntraUterine Insemination, they allow patients to produce an egg, and around the time the egg will be released, then they will ask for a sperm sample. According to Dr. Ancheta, the patient’s spouse should abstain for at least 3 to 5 days before the actual IUI to collect a good quality sample. A good sample will be deposited directly into the uterine cavity.

Dr. Ancheta explained that the woman only produce one egg in a cycle but through IVF procedure, they try to produce a number of eggs. A minimum of 4 eggs to 15-20 eggs.

“The more good quality eggs, the more good quality embryos that can be formed,” said Dr. Ancheta.

Experts said that IVF in the Philippines today costs roughly up to 170,000 pesos per procedure. The reason of the depreciation of costs from half a million pesos per procedure is because many couples are trying this treatment already.

As a woman, I’m a bit excited to learn from Dra. Gia Pastorfide that EGG FREEZING is already available in the Philippines. I am a busy mother that still dream of having another child. I think this procedure is still feasible for me to preserve my egg supply while I’m still focusing on my career. Egg freezing is also a good choice for young women too.

In this procedure, the oocytes are extracted, frozen and restored and can be thawed at a later time. However, Dr. Pastorfide said that gradual decrease in quantity and quality of oocytes accelerates at the age of 38. It is more recommendable to undergo EGG FREEZING procedure while a woman is still young.

It correlates to Dr. Almeda’s discussion about the female’s biological time clock as a big factor in infertility because as woman ages, the follicle number it produces also declines, so as like for the male, as it ages, the semen volume, quality, and fertility also decrease.

The Basilio family who was present at the forum shared a testimonial of their successful IVF procedure. Though they did not hit the jackpot on their first try of IVF treatment, they did not lose hope to have an offspring. They now have two adorable kids. It was their willingness to have children at all costs and believe that God will grant them their wishes that made their dream family possible.

Please watch the short video.

Merck Philippines “Bridging Baby Steps” Campaign really enriches my knowledge about infertility and the methods that can be used to combat it. For my part, I believe decisions for undergoing infertility treatment should be always agreed by the couple. Because as the saying goes, it takes two to tango.