How long should a couple try to get pregnant naturally, before they seek fertility treatment?
Assuming there are no underlying factors negatively impacting her or his fertility, if a woman is under the age of 35, she and her partner can try for a year to get pregnant naturally, before seeking out fertility treatment. However, if she is over 35, with the number and viability of her eggs reducing each progressive year, she is advised to approach a fertility expert sooner, rather than later, to make best use of her biological window. Seeing a fertility expert directly is recommended for women with irregular periods, endometriosis, Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or other related health conditions, or for couples where the male partner may be facing infertility issues such as a low sperm count, or abnormalities in the morphologies or motility of his sperm.
I am a healthy woman in my 20s. My partner and I have been trying to get pregnant for some time with no success, what could be the problem?
You, or your partner, or both of you, could have undiagnosed infertility problems that are undermining your ability to conceive naturally. For example, you or your partner may suffer from hypothyroidism – which in a female can interfere with ovulation, and in a male could lower sperm count. Or there could be other underlying problems like a diminished ovarian reserve that, while uncommon for women in their 20s, can occur. Or perhaps, without realising it, you suffer from a condition like endometriosis or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome that negatively impacts your chances of getting pregnant. On the other hand, perhaps there are could be undiscovered factors affecting the viability of your partner’s sperm, or factors like stress or poor diet affecting you both. Seeking a fertility specialist’s advice, to reveal and address the root of the problem, will save you a lot of time and confusion in attaining your goal of starting a family.
I am a woman over 40, can I still get pregnant?
While getting pregnant after 35 can be more challenging, the increasing importance of a career and rising childcare costs means greater numbers of women are delaying pregnancy until later in life – including their forties. In fact, the number of first-time births among women aged between 40 and 44 years more than doubled between 1990 and 2012. That being said, getting pregnant after 40 comes with greater challenges, due to a woman’s declining number of viable eggs, as well as the higher risk of health complications, birth defects and miscarriages after conception. Which is why, when it comes to safely growing your family after 40, my training and experience will help you identify the surest path to pregnancy and a healthy birth, with additional expertise and support available from my network of esteemed colleagues in related fields.
We are a couple with diabetes, can we still get pregnant?
Where one or both partners has diabetes – the condition where the body is unable to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range – fertility problems may arise, such as irregular or absent menstrual cycles in the woman, or erectile dysfunction or low levels of testosterone in the man. Diabetes can also stress a pregnancy, with increased risk of a miscarriage or the need for a baby to undergo intensive care following birth. Nevertheless, women or couples with diabetes can still become pregnant if they are guided to make the correct lifestyle changes (e.g. maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking) and the pregnancy is overseen correctly at every stage. Having been mentored by Professor Kypros Nicolaides of King’s College Hospital, a leading authority in the field of Fetal Medicine, I pledge to bring all my experience and resources to give you the best chance of starting or growing your family.
I am a woman with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), can I still get pregnant?
PCOS, a condition where hormonal imbalance interferes with ovulation – and, therefore, conception - affects one in 10 women of childbearing age. Its symptoms include irregular periods, abnormal hair growth, acne and multiple small ovarian cysts. Nevertheless, PCOS is one of the most treatable causes of female infertility and, every year, under the guidance of experienced fertility professionals, many women with the condition go on to become mothers. Treatment options will include lifestyle adjustments, taking or receiving fertility medications or injections, or undergoing procedures such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
I am a woman with endometriosis, can I still get pregnant?
Women with endometriosis – the painful condition where tissue similar to the uterine lining develops outside the womb – can struggle with fertility. Growths may obstruct the functioning of reproductive organs, e.g. forming around ovaries and hindering ovulation, or forming around fallopian tubes, obstructing sperm from reaching an egg. That being said, not only do some women with endometriosis fall pregnant without intervention, those who seek the guidance of a fertility expert boost their chances of conceiving even more. If we work together, I will require you to undergo a thorough hormonal analysis, together with diagnostic tests that may include a laparoscopy, hysteroscopy or hysterosalpingography, to determine the best strategy for you to grow your family.
I am a woman with fibroids, can I still get pregnant?
Most fibroids - non-cancerous growths in the uterine wall – do not ordinarily affect a woman’s fertility, but some, depending on their size and location, may obstruct the sperm’s access to an egg, or implantation of an embryo. Fibroids could potentially also add a pregnancy complication if located where the foetus itself needs to develop. Nevertheless, based on your specific health profile and family goals, you may be able to have a baby without needing to remove your fibroids. Alternatively, you may benefit from undergoing a myomectomy - surgery to remove the growth while preserving the uterus. Rest assured, we will discuss all viable options together.
What lifestyle changes can couples make to improve their chance of getting pregnant?
Quitting smoking, minimizing (or, better still, eliminating) alcohol, achieving a healthy weight in cases of obesity and maintaining a nutritious diet, as well as getting regular exercise and practising safe intercourse, are lifestyle choices that support the health and fertility of both partners, complementing the treatments undertaken under the guidance of a fertility specialist.
What kind of conditions can be treated by a gynaecological laparoscopy?
A laparoscopy, also known as minimally invasive surgery or keyhole surgery, can be used instead of open surgery to diagnose and treat a range of gynaecological conditions, such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), fibroids and cancers affecting the internal organs in the female pelvic cavity. This includes the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and other nearby organs.
What are the benefits of laparoscopic surgery?
Given that laparoscopy is a type of surgery that is performed using small incisions, the patient experiences significantly less pain and bleeding after the operation in comparison to traditional open surgery. This also means that the patient can recover quicker and resume work and other normal activities sooner than with open surgery.