Understanding Infertility

What is infertility and how common is it?

Most couples plan on having a baby, and for many this happens within a reasonable amount of time. Unfortunately, for 1 in 6 couples this is not easily achievable and help may be needed to assess if there is a problem.

In fact in most cases you are not “infertile” but “sub-fertile”. In other words you have the ability to conceive and have been unsuccessful so far which could be corrected with appropriate advice or treatment.

What causes infertility?

Conception is a process that depends upon many factors. The main factors are listed below:

  1. The production of healthy Sperm by the man. Problems with this may include low sperm counts.
  2. Release of healthy Eggs. Problems with this include irregular periods or polycystic ovarian syndrome or premature ovarian ageing (reduced reserve) and hormone imbalances.
  3. Normal Fallopian Tubes allow the sperm to reach the egg. Problems with blocked tubes could be due to infection such as Chlamydia, adhesions, endometriosis or complications of previous surgery.
  4. Implantation of an embryo in the woman’s Uterus (womb). Problems with this include Fibroids and polyps, or scarring (Asherman’s syndrome).
  5. The presence of Endometriosis which could cause scarring of tubes and can be associated with pelvic pain
  6. In some cases, even after a full range of tests, no cause is found. This is called unexplained infertility and is more common when older. Fortunately there are several treatment options available for this.

How is Infertility assessed?

We advise you seek medical help if you are unable to achieve pregnancy within a year of unprotected intercourse. However, if there is a known problem such as irregular or absent periods, pelvic, sexually transmitted infections (PID), endometriosis, or male, sperm and testicular problems, help should be sought sooner.

Tests will be required to help us identify the problems and advise you on how to improve your chances or what treatment is best.

The main areas of assessment are: tests of ovulation and ovarian reserve, a sperm test, and Ultrasound scan and tests of Fallopian tubes if required.

Find out more here

What if there is a problem identified?

If we identify a problem, we’ll discuss this with you in detail and suggest the next steps. We offer a wide range of fertility treatments, which can significantly improve your prospects of conceiving.

Some of the ways we can aid conception include: ovulation induction, clomifene, Intrauterine insemination treatment (IUI), In-vitro fertilization (IVF), Intra Cytoplasmis Sperm Injection (ICSI) and Egg Donation treatment and Sperm donation (donor) treatment.

Valentine Akande also undertakes advanced Fertility Surgery such as laparoscopic (key-hole) surgery for blocked tubes, ovarian drilling for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), reversal of sterilization, removal of fibroids, ovarian cysts as well as surgery for endometriosis.

What factors that determine your treatment?

This will depend on your personal circumstances including symptoms, past history, results of tests, and the following:

  • The severity of your condition as determined by test results
  • How long you’ve been trying for a baby
  • Any infertility treatment you may have had in the past
  • The benefits of assisted methods of conception treatment e.g. IUI, IVF or ICSI
  • And most importantly, your wishes.