So you have been trying to conceive for a while and you may be feeling a little unsure and even a little anxious or frustrated… You’ve started thinking that assisted reproductive therapies (ART) such as IVF or ICSI may be an option for you but you are not sure when it’s time to start pursuing them.
In this week’s article I will help you understand your options (in some specific situations) and strategy changes required to help get you the outcome you are looking for—the healthy baby of your dreams.
Before doing anything else…
If you have chosen an assisted reproductive therapy path there is something you and your partner must do before embarking on it—and that is prepare your bodies so you can be in optimum health prior to a conception attempt, for the minimum time of at least 120 days that it takes for the egg to mature and the sperm to form in the best possible environment—for best results.
Once you have completed your preparation you will know it’s time to seek ART options if:
1. After optimising your health and fertility you have tried to conceive naturally for over 12 months
If you have completed a comprehensive preconception health care program and maintained the essential lifestyle changes to continue enhancing your natural fertility—whilst timing conception appropriately and you have not had a conception in 12 months, then ART may be the next step for you.
At this point it is important to note that a comprehensive and effective preconception preparation program should be both diagnostic and therapeutic. In other words, it’s vital that throughout its duration you (on the advice of your practitioner) actively seek out more information (through specialised assessment and or testing) about areas of your health that perhaps may need to be addressed in order to improve your odds of creating a healthy baby. Once you find this information, the next step is to be proactive to make positive changes.
2. You or your partner have been diagnosed with azoospermia
Despite the possible small amount of specific improvement preconception preparation can make to men that produce very little to no sperm—the change is unlikely to be enough to help you create a natural conception. However, you can in some cases produce a few motile sperm and have a chance of conception through ICSI. In this situation the only other options include donor sperm or donor embryo transfer.
3. You have completely blocked fallopian tubes
In this situation the best thing you do is complete your preconception preparation and go straight to IVF because if both of your tubes are 100% blocked, it is highly unlikely a natural conception will ensue. However, as previously mentioned, prior preparation can double your odds of taking home a healthy baby when your body is in optimum health before an IVF cycle attempt.
4. You have been diagnosed with ovarian failure or premature menopause
In these cases you may still be able to get pregnant and have a healthy baby however you may need to use either a donor egg or donor embryo. Both options are available in most parts of the world and of course are a form of ART.
If choosing a donor egg or embryo it is essential you also choose to optimise your health before hand for best results.
5. If you are over 43, have completed 120 days of preconception preparation and have subsequently had 6 conception attempts without “luck”
For some couples this may be another cue to seek ART because as a woman’s ovarian reserve declines chances through IVF also decrease and some IVF clinics may refuse treatment to woman over 45 if she plans to use her own eggs—due to diminished chances of ‘success’.
If you would like to discuss how our program can support you to enhance your fertility apply today for a free consultation with one of our fertility specialists.