Wanting to get pregnant and not being able to is a heartbreaking reality for many families. Infertility is a complicated issue that involves several factors, and it is important to seek professional help from a medical doctor who specializes in fertility as quickly as possible. With the right support and treatment, families can increase their chances of becoming pregnant.
Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant after having unprotected sex for a certain length of time, usually one year. This timeframe may be less in women over 35. If you have tried for a year to conceive and have been unsuccessful, there may be a problem with you and/or your partner and it is important to see a doctor for further testing.
Infertility in women
Infertility in women often has to do with problems of the reproductive system, which may be congenital or due to infection, hormonal abnormalities that prevent ovulation, inadequate development of the uterine lining, obstruction of the fallopian tubes, adhesions or tumors in the uterus, or endometriosis.
Assessment usually begins with examination of cervical mucus, including the pH level, testing after sexual intercourse, ferning, and consistency of the mucus during ovulation. The cervical mucus may also be cultured.
Infertility in men
Infertility in men occurs in 20-30% of families trying to conceive. Testing begins with analyzing the semen using an ordinary microscope or a computer. An abnormal result will help the doctor plan the most appropriate treatment, such as ICSI or IVF.
If the semen analysis is normal, the sperm is examined, usually in cervical mucus, to see how many survive and how well the sperm moves in mucus. This can reveal if there are problems at the cervix. Furthermore, testing is also done to see if there are antisperm antibodies, which are immune system proteins that destroy sperm.
Common problems in men include:
Too few sperm in semen
Sperm moves abnormally
Narrowing or obstruction of the vas deferens or ureters
Various medical conditions
Infection or congenital abnormalities of the reproductive system
In some men, infertility can be due to obesity, stress, smoking, and alcohol consumption, all that can impact the health of semen and sperm.
Not all doctors can treat infertility and it is recommended that if you are having problems conceiving, you see an obstetrician-gynecologist who specializes in reproductive medicine, which focuses on the treatment of diseases and abnormalities of the reproductive system as well as infertility.
7 Signs you may need a Fertility Specialist
1. Not becoming pregnant after a period of unprotected sex
If a couple have had unprotected sex regularly, at least once a week, for one year, and have not become pregnant, they are experiencing infertility. It is recommended they see a fertility specialist for further testing. Assisted reproductive technology may not be needed, but the doctor can carry out a thorough physical assessment and begin planning treatment for a successful pregnancy.
2. Being over 35
The optimal reproductive age is between 20 and 30 years, but how we live our lives currently means that people are having children later and later, usually well after turning 30, not realizing that a woman has a limited number of eggs in her lifetime that can be fertilized to lead to pregnancy.
When a girl is born, all the eggs she will have in her lifetime have been determined. Many eggs will be lost after puberty; the older a woman is, the more eggs are lost. This is why the medical community has determined that once a woman is 35, she will have a much harder time getting pregnant and may be considered “infertile” automatically.
She may need to see a fertility specialist as soon as she plans to become pregnant. Getting pregnant older also increases the risk of abnormalities in the baby.
3. Experiencing more than three miscarriages
Having three or miscarriages consecutively without a known cause is called “recurrent miscarriage.” Women who experience recurrent miscarriage are considered to also be dealing with infertility as they are unable to retain a pregnancy.
After two consecutive miscarriages, it is recommended that you see a doctor for a thorough assessment to discover the cause of the miscarriages and to plan the appropriate treatment.
4. Having abnormal periods
Having irregular or abnormal periods occurs frequently in women and is often ignored as normal. But abnormal menstruation is often a sign of a problem with the reproductive system.
For example, the ovaries may not function normally to produce eggs, preventing ovulation. Or the hypothalamus near the pituitary gland, which is responsible for hormones, may be working abnormally.
So if your periods are abnormal, please see a doctor as soon as possible to rule out serious problems that can impact your fertility.
5. Experiencing sexually transmitted infections
Certain sexually transmitted infections can cause fertility problems, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, which are common infections. An infection of the vas deferens that leads to narrowing or obstruction can impact sperm production.
6. Having a chronic medical condition
Certain chronic conditions, such as chronic anovulation or chronic irregular ovulation, characterized by irregular periods, is usually related to problems of the thyroid, hormonal imbalance, PCOS, or even obesity.
7. Having problems ejaculating
Ejaculation problems can occur due to genetic conditions (such as cystic fibrosis), physiological abnormalities (blockage in the testicles), injury to reproductive organs, and even sexual problems. The most common ejaculation problems include premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, or retrograde ejaculation.
Infertility treatment options
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the treatment option most like sexual intercourse. The doctor will prescribe medication to increase the number and size of eggs and the healthiest sperm will be selected from a semen sample to be injected into the uterus.
This helps the sperm get closer to the eggs to increase the chances of fertilization and pregnancy. At Beyond IVF, the IUI procedure costs 15,000 per cycle.
In vitro fertilization (IVF)/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) has been developed from the traditional gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) procedure, but has a much higher success rate. IVF and ICSI also do not require surgery. Medication is injected for 10-12 days to stimulate the ovaries to produce more mature eggs.
These eggs are collected and fertilized by sperm in the laboratory and grown as embryos. Once ready, an embryo is transferred back into the uterus to grow in pregnancy. At Beyond IVF, the procedure starts at 246,000 baht only.
3. Egg Freezing
Egg freezing involves collecting eggs from the ovaries and freezing them to stop them from aging and deteriorating with time. As women get older, egg quality decreases, leading to difficulties conceiving and higher risk of an unhealthy baby.
In developing countries around the world, couples are finding it more and more difficult to get pregnant as families wait longer to get married and have babies. Egg freezing is becoming more popular with women nowadays. At Beyond IVF, the cost of egg freezing starts at 89,000 baht.
How to choose the right Fertility Specialist?
Many people look for the most “famous” fertility doctor, but when choosing the right fertility specialist for you, it is important to find someone that you feel comfortable with and who has solutions to the problems you are experiencing.
You should also look for a doctor with many years of experience treating infertility caused by a variety of reasons, with qualifications and knowledge that allows them to pinpoint the exact issues patients are experiencing as well as design the right treatment for the highest chances of success.
At Beyond IVF you can make an appointment to chat with our fertility specialist at no cost at all to see if our doctor is the right fit for you.
Questions to ask a Fertility Specialist
The most common questions our foreign patients ask us at Beyond IVF include:
How should I prepare myself before I begin treatment?
Once I start treatment, how long must I stay in Thailand?
What documents are required for fertility treatment?
Dr. Phunsak Suchonwani, our Fertility Specialist
Dr. Phunsak (Dr. Ton) Suchonwanit, our fertility specialist at Beyond IVF, has over 20 years of experience treating infertility, with several certifications to guarantee his knowledge and skills, including:
Doctor of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, 1993
Diploma, Thai Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital
Specialist, Medical Assisted Reproductive Technology
Assisted Reproductive Technology training from Boston IVF, Maryland, USA
At Beyond IVF we welcome families who have questions about infertility to stop by for a free consultation with our fertility specialist and medical team. You can discuss your medical history as well as any fertility treatments you have already undergone.
Please let the doctor know if you have any genetic conditions, if you have any other children, and if you have undergone any procedures that can impact your reproductive organs.
You are encouraged to bring your test results and medical files to the appointment with our doctor so he can begin to explore the cause of your infertility and offer the most appropriate recommendations.
We want our families to feel comfortable and to feel free to discuss their worries with our team at Beyond IVF. There are many causes of infertility and it is important to pinpoint exactly what is causing problems so the best treatment options can be designed for you.
To learn more about infertility
If you have any questions or concerns about your fertility or if you would like to undergo an assessment before you try to become pregnant, please stop by Beyond IVF to see our fertility specialist so we can support you in your pregnancy journey. If you have been trying to get pregnant for more than one year, it is time to see a specialist to figure out exactly why you’re not successful.
Certain conditions, left untreated, can become more complicated and more difficult to treat. At Beyond IVF we can discover the specific problems you are experiencing and offer you the appropriate solutions to help you become pregnant.
If you have any questions, please drop by Beyond IVF for a consultation or add us on Line at @beyondivf.