Over the years, the number of Singaporean couples seeking help for fertility problems have risen. Some of the common reasons include couples marrying later, couples delaying having children, and a higher level of stress at work for both men and women. This is even more true when more women are climbing the corporate ladder.
Unfortunately, having a child is not often always a milestone in life that we can plan for. Neither does it always happen as easily as what we see in the movies. In fact, there is only a short 24-hour window in a woman’s menstrual cycle for fertilization. Without fertilization, where the sperm meets the egg, there will be no pregnancy. And that is only one part in the chain of events that must happen before a new life forms in the woman’s body.
What’s more, when environmental factors such as work-life stress kicks in, this could mess up a woman’s menstrual cycle. When cycles are no longer regular, it gets even harder to predict when the fertile period is. If so, the odds of pregnancy are further lowered.
At the very start, many couples will choose to think that they do not have fertility issues and attribute their unsuccessful procreation attempts to them just not trying hard enough. However, for couples who are actively trying to conceive, having sexual intercourse 2-3 times during the fertile period is considered to be a sufficient effort.
The general rule of thumb to consider seeking medical help for fertility would be:
- For women below 35 years old, who have been unable to conceive after 1 year of trying
- For women above 35 years old, who have been unable to conceive after 6 months of trying
(for women with underlying gynaecological conditions, the risk of infertility is higher and hence they will need to seek help even before the 6-month mark)
Seeking help early is important because age has a critical impact on fertility. Fertility gradually begins declining after 30, especially after 35. By 40, the odds of conceiving are less than 5 per cent each month and the chances further drop to as low as 1 percent in the 45 – 49 age range. An older age also comes with increased risk of miscarriage and pregnancy complications.
A gynaecologist that specializes in fertility would be able to assess the issue and recommend the various courses of action that can be taken. It will all begin with a fertility assessment, also frequently referred to as a fertility work-up. Subsequently, based on your specific condition and priorities, your gynaecologist will discuss the most suitable options for you.