If you’ve been trying hard to have children for years but have yet to succeed, it can be very stressful and embarrassing to discuss this with others. I remember having this discussion with a female friend from the UK, who immediately sought recommendations for an OBGYN when she first came to Singapore because she needed to see one due to some gynaecological issue in order to conceive. When her gynae asked to see her husband, and finally diagnosed that her husband had a low sperm count as well, she felt a huge sense of relief because for many years, she thought that she was the only one with a problem. With proper medication for both of them, they’re now the proud parents of not one but three children!
While her story has a happy ending, I have met others who have struggled with conceiving children for years despite having spent a fortune on IVF treatments (with one cycle readily costing up to S$30,000). I can only imagine the mental struggles with the pressure of having children, the hope and anticipation every month, before the final disappointment, which may be something that I too may face if I eventually want to have children since I have endometriosis.
But are all fertility treatments so bleak? Aren’t there alternatives? Yes, there are and if you ever open up and ask (or simply use Google search), you might then be bombarded with too much information. So what we’ve done is to list a game plan for you and your partner so that you can take charge of your fertility and work towards getting that precious bundle of joy!
1. Go see one or two OBGYN together with your partner
This may seem like a no-brainer, especially for women, but this is important because you may need to seek a second opinion and it is always good to have medical professional advice – even when deciding to go the alternative medicine route. Also, just like in my friend’s case, it might be a good chance to further narrow down other possibilities as to why you were unable to get pregnant as it may not be a one-sided issue.
Moreover, having your partner with you also gives moral support for each other. There might be instances where both of you need to discuss on the best treatments to pursue or simply whether both of you feel comfortable with the doctor. This might also be a good gauge of how much you and your partner really want to have a child and the steps both of you are willing to go.
2. Speak to a fertility expert or sexologist
There are places such as FertilityCare that help couples get pregnant based on natural methods to help couples conceive and they do this through education, evaluation before customising a treatment plan for your specific needs. They work with medical professionals and are able to advise you through this journey so you don’t feel alone.
There are some couples who struggle to get pregnant perhaps due to premature ejaculation or vaginismus, which can be a result of either physical or psychological reasons. This is where couple therapy with a sexologist may actually help to understand and get the proper treatment needed.
3. Use at-home fertility products
Sperm count is dropping worldwide but male infertility is still a taboo topic in Asia due to the impression that a guy is ‘less of a man’ if he seeks help for their sperm health. We know that this isn’t true but if men are still too embarrassed to go into the clinic with their wives to test this, then he should still be more proactive by then testing his sperm health at home.
There are male fertility products such as the Applicator and Sperm Guide by twoplus Fertility, which are backed by medical experts. The Applicator works by helping to get every bit of sperm in there, minimising leakage so that all the sperm have a fighting chance of meeting the egg.
BUZUD will also be launching their Male Fertility Sperm Test as well as Female Fertility Tests (FSH and LH) in the later half of January this year so that men can self-test and then decide go to a doctor with that information to seek medical treatment; women can better time when to have sex (besides relying on body temperature and counting of days) to increase the chances of conceiving.
4. Get TCM-infused massages
There are a couple of spas that have massage therapies specifically for helping women increase their odds of pregnancy. One is Babies Bliss, which was started by Angelia Ng who had experienced the risk of not being able to conceive herself at the young age of 21. But since starting the spa in 2017, she has helped over 700 women through the TCM and Western medicine infused fertility massages.
Another place that offers a similar service is Highlander Wellness Centre, which we had previously published an article on, where founder Wendy Liu experienced fertility issues and then started researching into massage therapy. She customises 4-in-1 treatment plans for each client so as to encourage blood circulation to the womb and thus, improving the chances of the conceiving.
Even if you’re sceptical about such massages, I would encourage one to try it out because even if you don’t think it works, we could all use a massage session to look forward to in order to destress.
5. Have open conversations with your partner
While trying to conceive, this would be a good time to reflect on why you want to have children and what if it is not possible to get pregnant together with your partner. This would be a good way to deepen your relationship while managing your expectations towards having a biological child. It might be the time to also discuss whether you or your partner would be open to adoption or fostering.
The most important thing to remember is that you can take charge of your fertility and be proactive about it!
Images: Babies Bliss, Envato and Pixabay