ASK A FERTILITY EXPERT
The only way a diagnosis of early menopause or ovarian insufficiency can be made in a lady of 40 is by way of a blood test.
The FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels needs to be tested to determine the current function of the ovaries. The
typical symptoms of ovarian insuffiency include menstrual irregularities, hot flushes, vaginal dryness and sometimes
emotional symptoms. If the FSH level is normal, there might be other hormonal problems.
It is not recommended to do IVF / ICSI cycles back to back. These are cycles where injections are used to stimulate
the ovaries to produce eggs that can be aspirated. At least one month's rest is recommended. Other fertility
medication such as oral ovulation induction agents like Clomid can be used back to back. The longer it is used
continuously, it can cause cysts and be detrimental to the endometrial lining (inside wall of the uterus). Therefore
it is better to work in cycles of 3 months. Treatment needs to be assessed and according to a stepwise process, a
plan must be formulated to ultimately achieve pregnancy.
the cost of an abortion with no complaints ?
Nearly all medical aids do not cover fertility treatment. It is unclear if they will start doing so in the future.
count and poor egg quality ?
ICSI is still the gold standard to achieve fertilization in male factor couples. Protocols differ from clinic to clinic concerning
type of medication used.
This is a hugely controversial question. My opinion is that a couple should make the decision themselves. They should be
aware of the pros and cons of both procedures and make the decision themselves. Counseling should be extensive.
The thyroid gland is very important in a number of metabolic processes in a human body. Fertility and ovulation is definitely
also part of these processes. In the work-up of a sub-fertile couple, a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) needs to be done
on the female. Hyper (overactive) and hypo (underactive) thyroidism can play a part in female fertility.
There are different types of ovarian cysts. The most common are simple follicular cysts that are usually treatable
conservatively with hormonal manipulation. If they are bigger than 6cm, then surgery by way of a laparoscopy is
sometimes indicated to remove the cyst. During surgery, the cyst wall needs to be removed. By just aspirating the
fluid in the cyst, it will almost always re-occur. Surgery should be the last option and conservative treatment (tablets)
should always be tried first.
On average, menopause occurs between year 50 and 52. However, it differs from patient to patient and there is a
rare condition of premature menopause where it occurs in ladies under 40 years of age. The main symptoms of
possible menopause are hot flushes, certain emotional symptoms as well as problems with vaginal dryness. These
symptoms together with a blood test can be indicative of menopause. Menopause does not happen overnight and is
usually a gradual process that can take a number of years.
HELLP syndrome is a complication of a specific pregnancy related condition namely pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia (PET) is
caused by the pregnancy and causes high blood pressure. It can however affect basically all the main organs like the
kidneys, liver and the brain. HELLP is short for hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets. If a patient with
PET develops HELLP, the pregnancy must be terminated because it is a life-threatening condition for both the mother and
In a 2nd pregnancy you do have an increased chance of developing pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome again compared to
someone who has not had it before. However you still have a much higher chance of not developing it in a 2nd pregnancy.
One would suggest that a woman undergo certain blood tests between pregnancies. There are some haematological
conditions associated with increased tendency for bloodclotting that might cause Pre-eclampsia. There are also some
medication like Ecotrin(aspirin) and calcium that you will need to take in a 2nd pregnancy to decrease the chances of
developing pre-eclampsia again. Extensive monitoring during your second pregnancy is vital to pick up any problems early.
In conclusion a 2nd pregnancy will be emotionally quite taxing due to the stress of the 1st one, however, with good
monitoring and some medication there is no reason why you could not
have a good, healthy full-term pregnancy.
No, patients usually provide their own surrogate or donor. The counseling in such a case is quite extensive and there are
certain legal aspects that needs to be addressed first.
A myoma and a fibroid are the same thing. It is a benign tumor of the muscle layer (myometrium) of the uterus. It causes
symptoms including pain, severe bleeding, infertility. Myomas are usually genetic.
The only multivitamin that has proven to have a positive effect on the male sperm count is Staminogro. The usual
dose is 4 tablets daily. It is also a very good multivitamin.
true and can I still fall pregnant naturally ?
It is not normal to skip your cycles. The reason is probably that you did not ovulate. This can be caused by stress,
medication etc. There is no reason to think that you will not be able to fall pregnant naturally.
Other alternatives for a hysterectomy is firstly an endometrial ablation where the whole inside lining (endometrium) of the
uterus is destroyed with a specific instrument. This is also permanent and cannot be reversed. It is a lesser invasive
procedure than a hysterectomy with a quicker recovery time. Only a certain percentage of patients achieve total loss
of menstruation and 1 in 5 patients end up eventually with a hysterectomy.
Secondly, a Mirena intra-uterine device (IUD) can be considered. It is placed inside the uterus usually as a consulting room
procedure. This IUD releases a hormone that keeps the inside lining thin so that menstruation decreases or completely
goes away. This is not permanent and when the device is removed the lady can fall pregnant again. It can stay in for 5
years. 30% of patients achieve total loss of menstruation and 70% menstruate much lesser. Every patient should be
evaluated individually to find the best solution for her specific problem.
There is increasing evidence that genetic factors are implicated in endometriosis. Endometriosis occurs 6-9 times
more commonly in first-degree relatives of affected women. This also seems to be more pronounced in women
with severe disease. This has also been confirmed in extensive animal studies.
Teenagers can definitely have endometriosis. It is difficult to diagnose endometriosis only on the patients symptoms,
especially in teenagers. The reason for this is the poor correlation between symptoms and the severity of the
endometriosis. Patients can have severe symptoms with no endometriosis and the other way around as well.
Dysmenorrhoea (pain during menstruation) is basically the only symptom helpful in teenagers. If the pain does not
improve on oral contraceptives a laparoscopy is indicated for possible endometriosis. The endometriosis needs to be
removed during laparoscopy for future fertility benefit.
Yes, sperm can be frozen and re-used. However, fresh sperm yields the best results and one would prefer to use fresh
sperm as often as possible.
Anovulation (not ovulating) can have several causes. Only when the diagnosis of ovarian failure has been made should
one start contemplating using an egg donor. Egg donors are not easy to come by. The whole procedure from start
till the pregnancy test is done takes 1 month. The egg donor uses daily injections to stimulate her ovaries to produce
eggs. The recipient uses medication orally to thicken the endometrial lining (area where the embryo will be implanting).
The older one becomes, the greater risk is to have a baby with chromosome abnormality. However, it also becomes
extremely difficult to fall pregnant at the age of 43. My suggestion would be not to wait too long and to consider
seeing a fertility specialist for possible treatment. If you do fall pregnant, there are several tests that can determine
the specific chance that you have to have a chromosome abnormal fetus. The only way to know 100% wgere a
chromosome abnormality is present is to undergo an amniosinteses.
The main complication with fertility treatment is the condition of hyperstimulation that can occur specifically with
IVF or ICSI cycles. Hyperstimulation can be severe with life-threatening consequences. It is rare and can be avoided
with strict monitoring and definite treatment principles. There does not seem to be a link between premature ovarian failure
and repeated IVF/ICSI cycles. The emotional impact of going through many unsuccessful cycles can however be quite
There are a vast number of reasons for ovarian cysts of which polycystic ovarian disease / syndrome is the most common.
Other reasons include tumors, adhesions, medication, ovarian insufficiency, bleeding, anovulation etc. Each patient with a
cyst needs to be individually evaluated and examined to determine the cause and what sort of treatment to offer the
According to the criteria of the World Health Organization, normal quantity of sperm is the count per ml – more than
20million per ml. Normal quality of sperm refers to percentage normal morphology (head, neck, tail) - in other words, the
percentage sperm in a specimen that will be able to fertilize a normal oocyte (egg). The normal value is above 14%.
The sperm count will only be affected if the disease affects the testis tissue which leads to decreased sperm count, mobility
and morphology. An example of such a disease is orchiditis of which mumps is a common cause. Commons colds and flu will
not affect the sperm count.
Sperm can stay alive inside the body for up to 72 hours and an oocyte can stay fertilizable for up to 24 hours after
ovulation. Few women can tell exactly the moment they do ovulate. You do increase your chances of conceiving if you are
intimate everyday from 2 days before ovulation till 2 days after ovulation.
Unfortunately, the older that ladies are, the more difficult it becomes to fall pregnant. If is difficult to say what age is the
critical age for a woman but from 38 years of age the pregnancy rate declines rapidly. Ovulation still occurs deep into a
woman’s forties but the quality of oocytes/eggs rapidly decreases when the lady reaches 40 years of age. It is definitely
still possible to fall pregnant but it does become difficult.
Not menstruating / amenorrhea can have different causes. By far the most common cause is anovulation / not releasing an
egg. Polycystic ovarian disease is the most common reason for this. Each patient needs to be individually evaluated to
determine a cause. Other reasons include thyroid problems, ovarian insufficiency, anorexia, excessive exercise and tumors.