It was an afternoon of new learnings and renewed hope {especially for those who are suffering from infertility} at Merck’s Fertility Awareness 2017: Bridging Baby Steps event held at the Garden Ballroom Hal 3 and 4 of Edsa Shangri-la Manila last 21 October. It was also interesting as we were joined not only by couples seeking to increase their knowledge about infertility and looking for ways to combat it, but also by a couple who have waited for 16 years to conceive a child, tried In-Vitro Fertilization, and was blessed with a set of twins!

Infertility Facts

According to Dr. Leonardo Almeda, infertility is the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of adequate cohabitation or after 6 months if the woman is older than 35.  The term describes a man who cannot get a woman pregnant and a woman who cannot get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term and one out of 10 Filipinos is suffering from this condition.  Among the factors that can contribute to infertility include health conditions, behaviors, age, and genetics.

Generally, as age increases so does the likelihood of infertility. Older men produce fewer and lower-quality sperm in the same manner that older women have fewer and lower-quality eggs. The risk of some health conditions associated with infertility increases with age. Age-related declines in sperm and egg quality also increase the risk of health conditions such as Down Syndrome, autism, and schizophrenia in future generations.

During the event mums are asked to take the Fertility Quiz and I was relieved to find out that my results indicated that I do not need to see a reproduction specialist. Although my little man is more than a handful, it will be awesome to have another baby so he can have a playmate and a best friend.

Top 10 Fertility Myths Debunked

I am sure you have stumbled upon one or two of these fertility myths in your life. You might have probably been tempted to try them out but am sure you are well aware that most of them are rubbish. Number 6 could be particularly dangerous, whilst Number 5 is absolutely outrageous! To be on the safer side, it is always best to consult with your OB-Gyne or with an infertility specialist certified by the Philippine Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Inc., should you want to get pregnant and are having difficulties.

Treatments for Infertility

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Lucky for couples having difficulty conceiving a child today, they can now seek the help of licensed fertility experts to help them conceive a child. The most ideal treatment varies from one couple to the next and largely depends on what factors are causing the infertility. The common practice is to start with the least invasive and the most cost-effective way to get pregnant. Some factors are also taken into consideration, including the number of years the couple have been trying to conceive, the investigations previously done, and treatment options previously performed.

Dr. Anthony Marc Ancheta from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology ~ The Medical City Hospital discussed the treatment options available to patients suffering from infertility and these include:

Ovulation Induction + Follicle Monitoring + Timed Intercourse

The chances of getting pregnant with this treatment is 25% for those 20-30 years old and 10% for those above 35. The pre-requisites include:

  • There should be a good quality egg
  • The fallopian tubes have to be open
  • There should be an adequate number of rapidly swimming and “good-looking” sperms

Ovulation Induction +    Follicle Monitoring +    Artificial Insemination {Intrauterine Insemination}

Intrauterine Insemination or IUI is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization. The chances of getting pregnant through this treatment is 15-20% per cycle. The pre-requisites include {1} a good quality egg, {2} at least ONE of the fallopian tubes have to be open, and {3} total motile sperms inseminated : 5 Million.

In-Vitro Fertilization {IVF}

In-Vitro fertilization or IVF is the process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and  manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo is then transferred to the uterus. Chances of getting pregnant with the aid of this treatment is 41% for those below 35 years of age and 12% for those who are between 41 and 42 years old. Pre-requisites are {1} a minimum number of developing follicles, {2} a minimum number of “good-looking” sperms.

Egg-Freezing

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Dr. Gia Pastorfide gave an interesting talk about egg freezing, the procedure done to preserve a woman’s eggs or oocytes. The eggs are extracted, frozen, and stored for future use. This procedure is best done when a woman is below 35 years old and can cost up to Php300,000 per patient.

Egg freezing is seen as a means to stop the biological clock, but there are medical and social reasons why women chose to freeze their eggs.

Medical Reasons

  1. Cancer patients before undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy as these procedures can damage the eggs
  2. Women requiring gonadotoxic drugs that have deleterious effects on the gonads ~ ovary and testis
  3. Patients who need to remove their ovaries
  4. Patients who have strong history of early menopause or a history of premature ovarian insufficiency

Social Reasons

  1. Majority or about 80% of the patients are not in long-term relationships who wish to preserve future fertility options
  2. Other concerns such as demanding career or schooling

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Dr. Pastorfide confided that she underwent the procedure since she does not have a partner yet and still enjoys being single. She also shared that the egg retrieval for egg freezing is performed as a short outpatient procedure under ultrasound guidance. The eggs will then be frozen and stored for use at a later time. 10 eggs are recommended for each pregnancy attempt meaning if you plan to get pregnant multiple times later on in life, you need to preserve 10 eggs for each pregnancy trials.

The success of pregnancy with the aid of egg freezing depends on the woman’s age on retrieval and the sperm quality. One study showed that in 2-6 thawed eggs, there is 9-24% chance of live birth for those in their 30’s whilst the chance narrows down to 5-13% for those in their 40’s.

“Where There’s Life, There’s Hope”

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Dennis + Maurine Basilio with Dr. Gia Pastorfide, Dr. Leonardo Ancheta, and Dr. Dr. Anthony Marc Ancheta

The highlight of the afternoon was the testimony given by Dennis and Maurine Basilio. The couple has been married for 16 years and like many other couples having difficulty conceiving and getting pregnant, they prayed, cried, and got frustrated whilst waiting for their bundle of joy to arrive. They finally decided to try infertility treatment and after 2 failed IVF procedures, they finally conceived on the third attempt and finally gave birth to adorable twins, a boy and a girl.

It was indeed an inspirational experience to share that some of the women in the audience, those who probably went through the same ordeal Maurine had to endure before finally getting pregnant, were moved to tears.

Mum’s Two Cents

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It was, indeed, indescribable joy to finally hold your baby in your arms, especially if you have been waiting for it for too long and even suspected you will no longer bear a child. It is good to know that couples can now seek the aid of infertility specialist to help you realize your dream of becoming a mum or a dad.

You may visit any of the following IVF Centers:

  • In Vitro Fertilization Davao, Inc.
  • Center for Reproductive Medicine {CRM}
  • Center for Advanced Reproductive Medicine and Infertility {CARMI}
  • Kato Repro Biotech Center
  • Repro Optima
  • Victory ART Lab Philippines

To learn more about infertility and its different treatments, visit Fertility Awareness Philippines on Facebook.

Written by

mumwrites

is a 30-something work-at-home mum who blogs in between home chores + child-minding. i love coffee, books + reading, collecting lovely postcards, + spending loads of time outdoors with my little man.