According to research, one in 10 couples suffer from infertility, but how much do we really know about it? In a seminar organized by Merck Serono Philippines and Helping Build Families, in partnership with Philippine Society Of Reproductive Endocrinology And Infertility, Inc. (PSREI), Rudie Frederick B. Mendiola, MD, and Anthony Marc Ancheta MD, shed some light into the mystery of infertility and explain the different kinds of treatment you can try if you're having difficulty conceiving a child.

Does infertility only affect women?
No. Most people think that infertility is the fault of the woman. About 25 percent of the time, however, the problem is caused by male infertility.

What are the causes of infertility?

For her:
This is an important factor when it comes to getting pregnant. Doctors say that the best times to get pregnant are from 20 to 29 years old, when women have a higher chance of fertility. As a woman ages, the miscarriage rate increases.
• Obesity
If your BMI is more than 29, it will take you longer to conceive.
• Ovulation disorders such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
• Fallopian Tube Disorder
• Changes to the uterus or the cervix

For him:
• Varicoceles
This is the stagnation of blood in the testicle. Increased temperature in that area and the toxins that are brought out by the blood flow stay there and can affect the quality of the sperm.
• Diabetes
If diabetes is uncontrolled, it may lead to erectile dysfunction.
• Overheating
Men who are exposed to high temperatures tend to have low count and poor-quality sperms.

If men ejaculate, are they considered fertile?
Men may have a very low sperm count, low sperm motility, or poor-quality sperm, and still ejaculate. Some cases have shown that some ejaculations may not contain sperms at all. If you want to know if there are sperms during ejaculation, have the sample analyzed in a laboratory.

Can I have a hard time conceiving a second baby even if I had no difficulty with the first one?
It depends on the case. Some couples have been diagnosed with secondary fertility problems despite a successful first pregnancy. There are certain conditions that can get worse as you age.

How can infertility be treated?
There are three treatment options:

1. Ovulation Induction + Follicle Monitoring + Timed Intercourse
For this procedure to succeed, there must be a good-quality egg, the fallopian tubes have to be open, and there should be an adequate number of rapidly swimming and "good-looking" sperms. If you use this procedure, you have a 25 percent chance of getting pregnant (if you’re between 20 to 30 years old), and less than 10 percent if you’re above 35 years old.

2. Artificial Insemination
During this process, the ovaries are stimulated to produce one or two eggs. When the follicle reaches a good size, the egg is then allowed to be released and on the day of the insemination, the husband is asked for a sperm sample. The doctors then separate the "good-looking" sperms from the bad ones. After choosing, sperm enhancers are added so that they’ll be able to swim faster. Basically, doctors will put in pre-selected good-looking sperms as well as decrease the distance between the sperm and the egg.

3. In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
IVF simply means that fertilization of the egg by the sperm doesn’t happen inside the woman’s body. What happens is the egg is fertilized using the husband’s sperm outside, and then the embryo is put back inside the mother’s womb. For the IVF procedure to succeed, there should be a minimum number of follicles and "good-looking" sperms.

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