One in six Australian couples will have a fertility issue at some point in their lives and one in 10 couples will have trouble conceiving their second child. You are not alone.
Don’t panic, your fertility journey doesn’t have to be an express service straight to IVF. Some simple changes can improve your chance of conceiving naturally.
It's important to remember the emotions, worries and thoughts you are currently trying to deal with are valid and common. You are not alone. Read on
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The World Health Organisation predicts that infertility will be the third most serious health condition in the 21st Century
We're dedicated to helping you achieve your dream - having a baby. We offer a range of services - from IVF to genetic diagnosis of pre-implantation embryos - all with the aim of easing your journey to successful pregnancy.
Are you a female struggling to conceive? Read through potential reasons why, or learn more about testing options.
With 40% of fertility issues being male related, find out what may be causing you troubles, or learn more about male fertility testing
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Around 11% of women around the world suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) although the fact it’s often misdiagnosed or even goes undiagnosed means numbers are probably even higher.
The name – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – refers to the multiple, mini “cysts” which form on the ovaries of some women who suffer from the condition. These cysts are actually egg sacks or follicles and instead of growing and releasing an egg through ovulation as they normally would, they stall, instead releasing relatively higher male hormones into the blood, causing a range of health problems.
It’s a complex condition that can be related to elevated cholesterol, an insulin imbalance and a tendency to unwanted weight gain. However, significant metabolic shifts can still occur even if you are slim.
PCOS is one of the leading causes of subfertility or infertility but fortunately it doesn’t mean that you can’t conceive. In fact, celebrity mums including Jools Oliver, Victoria Beckham and actor Emma Thompson have all been reported as having PCOS.
Read on to find out more about the symptoms, the science and the solutions. Alternatively reach out to us and let us get you started on the path to achieving your dreams of having a baby.
The #1 piece of advice our patients pass on to people trying to conceive is to ask for help earlier. Genea's Fertility Specialists are experts in helping people conceive and seeing one is not a fast track to IVF - in fact we help more than 50% our patients have a baby with fertility treatments other than IVF.
PCOS affects both your physical and emotional wellbeing and there are a number of symptoms doctors commonly associate with the syndrome. One of the quirks of PCOS is that you might be able to tick quite a few symptoms on the list or you might experience just one - the condition shows up differently in each woman.
The symptoms and signs of PCOS can include:
It's worth noting, if you’re taking or have been taking the pill, you might not experience some or any of these symptoms because the oral contraceptive pill may be masking them.
Did you know that disorders which involve ovulation - PCOS falls in this category - account for approximately 40 per cent of female infertility? So yes, it could be the reason you haven’t fallen pregnant. There are two main reasons:
Those male hormones or ‘androgens’ we mentioned above are present in low levels in all women, but those of you who have PCOS often have excessive levels in your blood. This is what causes the frustrating facial and body hair and acne and it can also prevent ovulation, that is, stop your eggs being released to meet with the sperm and form an embryo.
Insulin is needed to regulate blood sugar levels. With PCOS, however, your body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin. The pancreas, which produces insulin, is not aware of this change and keeps producing more, causing large levels to be present in your blood, which in turn affects ovulation and therefore your ability to conceive. Also, given that insulin is no longer as effective in regulating blood sugar levels, over time diabetes can develop.
We suggest that if you have any of the symptoms we’ve listed above and you’ve been trying to get pregnant for six months or more, that you please speak to your gynaecologist or Genea Fertility Specialist.
Your doctor will organise a combination of blood tests to assess your hormone levels and a pelvic ultrasound to look at your ovaries to see if the “cysts” or follicles are present. There’s currently no cure for PCOS but we can help you successfully manage the syndrome by making changes to your diet and exercise routines and, in some cases, medical intervention.
If you’re diagnosed with PCOS and you are overweight, your doctor is likely to advise you to try to lose some weight to improve your chances of conceiving. In fact, studies show that a BMI of more than 30 significantly reduces your fertility. Why not check yours with our BMI calculator. The good news is that losing even just a small amount of weight – five per cent of your starting weight – will help 90 per cent of women start ovulating again and approximately 30 per cent to conceive naturally.
If your weight is already in the normal range or losing weight doesn’t help you conceive, there are a range of other treatments we can offer to help you, such as medication to increase ovulation, hormonal treatments and surgical options. IVF may be needed if there are other factors involved, such as poor sperm quality, so it’s important that you and your partner are assessed together to decide on the best treatment options.
The best treatment for you can be worked out by your Genea Fertility Specialist, as there are obviously many different factors to consider.
You may have already been diagnosed with PCOS or perhaps the symptoms we’ve described sound very familiar to you. If you are concerned that PCOS might be affecting your ability to get pregnant, a simple discussion with a Genea Fertility Specialist is the first step you should take. We’ll work with you to come to a diagnosis and organise any tests which are needed to design the best treatment plan for you.
To take the next step and organise an appointment, contact us.
Doctors aren’t 100 per cent sure what causes PCOS but what we do know is that it’s a hormonal disorder which involves production of too much male hormone (androgen) in the ovaries together with raised levels or dysfunction of the hormone insulin. It can be genetic – passed down through your family – but that’s not always the case and there are some theories that environmental or lifestyle factors play a role.
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