1. When and why should I seek medical attention if I am unable to conceive?
Any couple who cannot conceive after 12 months of regular sexual intercourse should seek immediate medical attention. It is preferable that both the partners see their doctor together so that the appropriate investigations and counseling can take place.
We advise women aged 35 years and above to seek medical attention urgently as the treatment success is lower in older women.
2. What can be done for subfertility?
Depending on the underlying causes, varying treatment modalities may be offered. In cases of anovulation, drugs that enhance ovulation e.g. clomiphene may be prescribed to help the couple conceive. This can result in minor side effects such as nausea and bloatedness, multiple pregnancies (5-10% chance of twins) and may increase the risk of ovarian cancer in cases of prolonged and unregulated usage. Therefore, clomiphene is usually prescribed for only six ovulatory cycles.
Assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs), such as intra-uterine inseminations or in-vitro fertilizations (test tube babies), may be employed by reproductive specialists in certain cases. In cases of severe male factor, intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can be used. This refers to the injection of a single sperm to fertilize the egg. All these can only happen after detailed counseling of the procedural risks and benefits.
In the most extreme cases or for those adverse to assisted reproductive programmes, child adoption can even be considered as a last resort.
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Prior to planning pregnancy, you should learn more about the things involved in getting pregnant. It involves carrying a baby inside you for nine months, caring for a child for a number of years, and many more. Consider these things, so that you can properly assess if you are ready for pregnancy. Get all these very important tips about pregnancy that you need to know.