At Alana, We Care About your Fertility
When seeking advice and help for your fertility problems, the first contact and assessment you have with your care team is crucial before you start your journey.
At Alana, your fertility consultation will encompass an assessment by one of our doctors, as well as our naturopath if you choose, to allow us to provide you with the most comprehensive review of your reproductive health. The management that we institute at this stage is critical for your fertility journey. You will be cared for by a team focusing on all aspects of your fertility and working together to ensure the plans made are complimentary and in unison with your goals, a baby.
Whether you decide on one consultation to initiate the path of preconception planning or want to have a complete assessment of your reproductive health, our team will not only investigate your problem but give you the tools to optimise and create a fertile environment for your growing baby.
Infertility Causes and Symptoms
In order to become pregnant you will need to release an egg, your hormones need to be finely tuned, your fallopian tubes need to be open, there needs to be healthy sperm to meet your egg and your uterus needs to accommodate the embryo to create an optimal environment for the baby to develop. Many factors are involved and you and your partner may have infertility or sub fertility based on one, or any combination of these factors.
Common causes for female infertility include biological age (since there is good science that the older you are, the more difficult it is to become pregnant), anovulation (when you do not release an egg) and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Other causes include endometriosis or previous infections. Some women have endometrial polyps, or structural abnormalities such as fibroids, or development problems of the uterus that may interfere with pregnancy.
Male infertility due to sperm abnormalities is surprisingly common and this may be identified in a sperm count as a change in the volume, quantity or quality of sperm and seminal fluid produced. There can also be an issue in sperm being transported effectively or hormonal issues that lead to poor production of sperm.
Treatment for Infertility
Because treatments for infertility are targeted at the cause of the infertility, you may require a number of tests to find the problem and come up with the best tailored management plan for you. Common tests may include a check to make sure that ovulation (release of an egg) is occurring; the tubes are open (this may be checked with a special type of ultrasound called a HyCoSy) and a sperm count to check that there are adequate numbers and quality of sperm.
Some treatments for female infertility include ovulation induction where, if release of an egg is not occurring, a number of medications may be trialed to help with this. Where there are structural issues with the uterus, the ovary or suspected diseases that may impact fertility, then surgery may be considered, such as a laparoscopy and removal of endometriosis or a hysteroscopy and removal of a polyp. Sometimes a direct cause cannot be found and your infertility is “unexplained”. When this occurs or if other treatment options have not been successful, then discussion of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) as an option may be appropriate. This is a highly effective form of treating many infertility issues and will be discussed with you fully should this be the recommendation for you based upon your wishes and your clinical circumstances.
Many sperm abnormalities may be treated by initially trying to improve the quality or directly inserting sperm into the uterus (called intrauterine insemination or IUI). However a further process called ICSI (where a single sperm is injected directly into the egg) may be needed for severe sperm abnormalities or when other processes are unsuccessful. This means that only one sperm is necessary for fertilisation to occur.
You may wish to have a preconception consultation ensuring you are best prepared for your upcoming pregnancy. Although many women do not routinely undertake this, we recommend every woman have a preconception check-up prior to pregnancy as best practice care to help optimise health and reduce risks to both you and your baby. At Alana this can be performed by any of our doctors and will include specific advice for you based on your medical history, previous obstetric history and other contributing factors. Blood tests may be required and booster vaccinations may be recommended prior to conceiving. Recommendations for pre-pregnancy supplementation will also be addressed. Preconception check-ups are most important for women who have preexisting medical conditions and may need adjustment of medications prior to conception.
Fertility Care at Alana
At Alana we offer a range of fertility services where we will discuss the best management plan for your specific needs and goals. If you feel pressured by your biological clock ticking you might wish to discuss your future fertility including options like egg freezing. If you have been actively trying for twelve months and haven’t seen that second line on your home pregnancy test, or you have gone through miscarriages, you may wish to discuss further investigations or treatments for infertility.
You and your partner are welcome to see one of our gynaecologists or our naturopath at Alana. We take the time to get to know your medical and reproductive history, explore possible infertility causes and specific symptoms, organise tests for you and your partner and then discuss on how to best proceed.