Most little girls at some point in time imagine how they’d one day marry Prince Charming and have X number of children. Probably the more the merrier since little girls know nothing about the pains of childbirth or the tiring parenting days. I don’t think, however, that little girls would ever imagine infertility to be an issue since it’s a given that after marriage comes the baby, isn’t it?
Well, it seems that generation after generation, people subscribe to this fairy tale bit of the happily-ever-after. If you’ve been married for half a year without getting pregnant, the loves-to-poke-her-nose-in-your-affairs aunty would be surely hounding you for an answer as to why you’ve not jumped on the baby wagon. I don’t suppose you could say it to her face that ‘we’re trying but aren’t successful’ because there’s a stigma attached to infertility even though in a substantial number of couples’ lives (one in ten couples), infertility is a very real and painful issue.
A close friend of mine had her mum asking her why she refused to get pregnant since she wasn’t even working. But she couldn’t bring herself to tell her mother that they had been trying and she even left her stressful job to try to conceive. To her mother, she just wasn’t trying hard enough.
So what options do you have after not being able to conceive after a year of trying (or half a year if you’re above 35)?
Most people shun fertility treatment because they assume that fertility treatment means going for the fairly expensive IVF treatment but that’s usually not what fertility specialists would recommend as a first option. After fertility tests are carried out (to try to find the root cause), in some cases, some might be able to conceive naturally simply by correcting a medical problem through a simple surgery in a day clinic. If ovulation is the area of concern, oral medication may be provided and if either party has a problem producing the necessary hormones, hormone treatment would be recommended. Other treatment options are to use assisted reproduction techniques, of which IVF is only one of the options.
Having the right information and knowledge on fertility issues would help couples who have problems conceiving have a better chance. Modern fertility treatments have proven to be effective. Unfortunately, the majority of couples with infertility issues remain untreated despite the available medical treatment. In Asia, with persisting social and personal barriers, low fertility awareness and limited access to treatment access, the figures are even lower.
Embarking on the road to conceive a baby can be an emotionally distressing one, hence it is important for all of us, not just those who are trying for a baby, to be informed about infertility issues so we can be sensitive to their feelings and be their pillar of strength should they need us.
More information and issues related to fertility and reproduction can be found here. Learn about the struggles couples with infertility issues go through in this heartfelt video:
Disclosure: This post is part of Fertility Week Asia supported by Merck Serono.