How Does a Fertility Clinic Help You Conceive?

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Are you trying to start a family but facing challenges? Whether you’re in a same-sex relationship, single, or concerned about your age, fertility clinics can be a helpful resource. They offer a variety of options to support your family-building journey.

These clinics can assess fertility factors, provide advice and offer treatments such as assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to enhance the chances of conception. Whether it’s diagnostic tests, fertility preservation, or advanced procedures like IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation), these clinics cater to diverse needs.

Let’s explore the range of services that fertility clinics typically provide. Here’s what you can expect from most fertility clinics:

Fertility Testing

They conduct a series of tests to assess fertility levels, both for women and possibly their partners. For male partners, they highly recommend fertility testing through semen analysis. This procedure involves examining a semen sample in the lab to evaluate sperm count, motility, and other factors influencing fertility. Many people mistakenly believe that fertility problems are caused only by women, but in reality, male-factor infertility accounts for around 30% of all fertility issues.

For women, fertility testing usually includes blood tests to measure anti-Mullerian hormone levels (indicating ovarian reserve) and transvaginal ultrasound scans to assess the condition of the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. If you consider private fertility tests in London, various packages are available.

Often, couples see initial screenings indicating good anti-Mullerian hormone levels, assuming all is well. However, further investigations might reveal issues like abnormalities in the uterine cavity or fallopian tubes that demand advanced techniques, such as aqua scanning. An aqua scan examines the integrity of the womb cavity to detect scarring, polyps, or uterine septum. The procedure also involves injecting air into the fallopian tubes to confirm they are unobstructed and functional.

Egg Freezing

Egg freezing is a choice for women who want to preserve their fertility by having some of their eggs collected and stored for future use in fertility treatment if needed. This option is gaining popularity because as women become more aware of the decline in fertility after the mid-30s, many feel they need extra time – time to find the right partner, achieve financial stability, or establish their careers before starting a family.

Recent years have brought significant technological progress to the egg-freezing process. Today, a woman over 40 has a better chance of a healthy pregnancy using eggs frozen in her mid-30s than using her own fresh eggs after 40.

Egg freezing can also help reduce risks associated with pregnancy after 40, such as chromosomal abnormalities and miscarriages.

To enhance the chances of future pregnancy success, I start the egg-freezing process by stimulating the ovaries with fertility medications. It encourages the ovaries to produce more number of eggs. The eggs are retrieved while the patient is under sedation, and the mature ones are immediately frozen.

Some clinics still use older slow-freezing methods, but expert gynaecologists in London often prefer the advanced vitrification (flash freezing) technology. This technique freezes the eggs within 5-10 minutes, significantly lowering the risk of egg cell damage that can occur during long freezing periods. When needed for future use, the eggs are thawed and injected with sperm using a technique called ICSI. Experts retrieve the eggs while the patient is under anaesthesia and freeze the mature ones.

Sperm Freezing

Male fertility declines with age, affecting sperm quality and testicular function and increasing risks of genetic diseases in offspring. To prepare for the future, some men choose to freeze their sperm.

Fertility Medicines

Various drugs can induce ovulation in women with conditions like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and may enhance male fertility. While these medications alone are less effective than IVF, they are cost-effective and minimally invasive, making them a preferred initial option.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Also called artificial insemination, IUI involves placing washed sperm into a woman’s uterus during ovulation to aid conception. Specialists can perform this procedure with or without fertility drugs. While medication increases pregnancy likelihood, it also raises the chance of multiple births. A reputable fertility clinic will thoroughly assess and discuss the best approach for you.

In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

IVF entails fertilising a woman’s eggs with sperm in a lab before transferring them back into the womb. Controlled ovarian stimulation using fertility drugs precedes this to optimise egg production for successful conception.

Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Similar to IVF, ICSI involves injecting sperm directly into an egg in the lab. Gynaecologists recommend this method for couples with male infertility issues or prior IVF cycles with low egg fertilisation rates.

Surgical Fertility Interventions

Surgical fertility interventions offer additional options beyond plain fertility treatments, although not every clinic provides them. For instance, women with PCOS may benefit from ovarian drilling, a procedure that stimulates ovulation. Those with endometriosis may opt for surgery to remove cysts, and blocked fallopian tubes may require corrective procedures. When a man’s semen lacks sperm or is obstructed, experts can perform sperm extraction procedures to help.

All of these procedures can be carried out by top gynaecologists in London. But the fact is that surgery is not always the ideal option. Sometimes, it is a wise decision to use your time and resources to go straight to IVF. A reputable fertility clinic will evaluate and discuss all options with you, helping you to make well-informed decisions.

Reproductive Immunology

Some fertility clinics specialise in handling complex cases. Indeed, many patients have faced a series of miscarriages and failed IVF cycles elsewhere. Some women have problems with their immune cells interacting with their reproductive system. In this modern era, gynaecologists are studying the field of reproductive immunology, exploring and addressing the immune system’s role in pregnancy to provide couples facing recurrent miscarriage or IVF failure with a better chance of success. While there are no guarantees, advanced immune testing and personalised treatments can offer hope to countless couples who have almost given up on their dream of having a baby.

What To Expect From A Fertility Clinic For The First Time?

Well, it varies. Some of you arrive at the clinic ready to jump straight into tests and examinations, while others prefer to start with a comprehensive consultation. You can book an appointment initially, allowing your consultant to gather detailed information about you. Together, you and your consultant can determine the most effective path forward towards achieving your goal of starting a family. This approach provides a solid foundation for personalised fertility treatment tailored to your unique needs and circumstances.

My Final Thoughts on Fertility Treatment

When it comes to fertility treatment, it’s crucial to tailor the approach to your unique fertility profile. That’s why precise testing enables you to guide your treatment journey. Depending on the specific challenges you may face in conceiving, a combination of different fertility treatments may be more suitable.

A reputable fertility clinic understands that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Each patient’s path to parenthood is distinct, considering biological factors, personal preferences and timing.

Fertility Treatment FAQs

Q1) What tests can I undergo to understand my IVF failure?

A fertility clinic provides a comprehensive range of tests to identify the reasons behind implantation failure. These tests fall into four main categories:

1.    Immune testing

2.    Screening for infections

3.    Evaluation of the uterine cavity

4.    Karyotyping

5.    Sperm analysis

These tests enable specialists to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on any issues identified. The team’s expertise, continuous patient monitoring, and tailored treatments offer the support needed to overcome the hurdles preventing you from achieving your dream of parenthood.

Q2) What causes recurrent miscarriages?

At times, there might not be any clear reasons behind recurrent miscarriages, and while it’s reassuring to rule out any dominant issues, the uncertainty can be distressing. Miscarriages can happen due to various reasons, with chromosomal abnormalities being the most common cause. Other contributing factors could include:

●     Weak cervix

●     Immune system factors

●     Infections

●     Blood clotting disorders

●     Polycystic ovaries

●     Diabetes and thyroid problems

●     Sperm-related issues

Q3) What exactly is reproductive immunology?

Reproductive immunology involves studying how the immune system defends against unfamiliar cells that might pose a threat. Researchers suggest that specific immune cells, known as ‘natural killer cells’ responsible for combating infections and diseases, can sometimes be present in excessive levels in the bloodstream. This overpopulation can extend to the uterus, leading to issues for both mother and baby and resulting in the rejection of the foetus.

Q4) What if my IUI becomes a failure?

If IUI fails to yield results, many patients then turn to In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) – a pricier and more involved fertility treatment, albeit with significantly higher success rates.

When contemplating IUI, bear in mind the potential for multiple attempts. If a cycle of IUI proves unsuccessful, you have the option to either proceed with another attempt immediately or take a break. For most patients, achieving conception through IUI often requires several cycles, typically around three or four attempts to determine its effectiveness. It’s worth noting that stimulated IUI offer better chances of success. Taking all these factors into account, along with the understanding that time plays a critical role in fertility, some patients choose to proceed directly to IVF.

Q5) How is IUI different from IVF?

The main difference between IUI and IVF lies in where fertilisation occurs. With IUI, fertilisation occurs naturally inside the woman’s body, whereas with IVF, fertilisation occurs outside the body in a controlled laboratory environment.

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