Infertility is probably one taboo topic seldom discussed yet wrought with misconceptions. In conjunction with National Infertility Awareness Week, Fertility Support Singapore has graciously answered some frequently asked questions and also launched #IDIDNTKNOW campaign 2023 to spread awareness of the struggles couples go through due to infertility.
Fertility Support Singapore is a non-profit group established in 2000, run by a group of women volunteers in Singapore who have faced infertility challenges. It provides access to useful resources and information, gives support to those undergoing the struggles of infertility and runs educational campaigns on infertility.
Infertility: Statistics & Common Causes
About 15% of couples are unable to conceive within the first year of trying. Of 39% of those cases are female infertility, 20% male, and 26% with both partners.
Some common infertility causes for women include lack of ovulation, fallopian tube issues, fibroids in womb.
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For men, issues include hormonal disorders, sperm blockage, sperm antibodies, disorder of sexual function.
Different Kinds of Fertility Treatments
There are different fertility treatments including: timed intercourse, ovulation boosters, surgery involving tubes or uterus, Supra ovulation intrauterine insemination (SOIUI) and IVF, hormonal changes.
The commonly known treatments are IUI and IVF. In IUI, the fertilisation happens in the body (sperm injected into body) whereas in IVF, fertilisation happens outside of body. (Eggs retrieved and fertilised, then put back into the womb)
Preparing the Body for Fertility Treatments
Fertility checks are useful in identifying potential issues. TCM, supplements, a healthy diet and lifestyle can prepare the body well for treatments and affect success rates.
Resources by Fertility Support Singapore
To find out more about resources on infertility, resources, funding and support available for them, couples can visit this site.
Stories about Struggles with Fertility
Also look out for Fertility Support Singapore’s #IDIDNTKNOW video campaign.
Fertility Support Singapore’s #IDIDNTKNOW video campaign shares some stories of families who have struggled with infertility.
Here are some of their stories:
Rohaida Rahmat, IVF Mother of Two & Rahmat Bin Ahmad, Father to IVF Warrior
Rohaida started looking out if she had issues conceiving about a year after getting married. She went for checks and found out that she had a blocked tube which was unblocked. She went through TCM, fertility massages, and soon got pregnant naturally.
A miscarriage and two ectopic pregnancies later, she had to remove both her fallopian tubes leaving her with no choice but to proceed with IVF.
Struggling to conceive made Rohaida question her value as a woman and wife. But having the opportunity to try IVF gave her renewed determination to want to take home a child.
As the first of his four children to need fertility assistance, Rahmat (Rohaida’s father) found himself at a loss of what to do seeing his daughter struggle this way.
As scary as it seemed to him, he took it upon him to be her cheerleader, shuttling her to and from appointments or bringing her food – simple things that he felt would make the journey a little easier for her.
Kristen Kiong, PCOS Mother of 2
Kristen didn’t know that infrequent periods would lead her down a diagnosis of PCOS and the accompanying fertility challenges that came with such a diagnosis.
Kristen had infrequent periods since she was young and never gave it much thought.
In 2012, at 23 years old, she found out that she had PCOS. It was a diagnosis that she had not been on a search for – she had gone for an immunisation job and was referred to a gynae when she told the nurse that she had not had her period for 7 months.
She tried the hormone pills that she was prescribed and that made her period come once every three months, as opposed to her usual seven.
As Kristen was not married then, she shoved the problem out of my mind.
Kristen got married in April 2016, and even though they started trying six months after the wedding, there was still no news in October 2018.
She eventually went for a HSG (together with thorough womb and uterus checks) that she had put off, and was then told that her fallopian tubes were blocked. Thankfully though, the surgeon said that they could be unblocked.
After treatment, accompanied with rounds of TCM and supplements, Kristen and her husband were finally blessed with a baby girl in March 2020. About a year to a year and a half after, they decided to try again. In her heart and mind, it was back to square one. They were blessed with #2, and she was delivered safely in 2022.
At the end of the day, on hindsight, she probably should have dealt with the issues sooner.
It does not hurt to Seek Help Early!