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Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt October 16, 2016
Part3 in a
This is the final of our THREE-PART
SERIES ON INFERTILITY. If you have
done the fertility tests and they show
that you have fertility problems, you are
probably wondering what your options
are. Dr. Catherine Minto-Bain, Medical Di-
rector and Consultant Gynaecologist of
the Trinidad & Tobago IVF and Fertility
Centre, sheds some light on this.
IF THE TESTS SHOW THAT I AM
INFERTILE, WHAT'S THE NEXT STEP?
It really depends on what we find. If it's a
male problem, we might do some blood tests
on him, and he might be a candidate for artifi-
cial insemination, and treatment might be
around TT$5000 - $6000, generally. If it's not
a male problem, it's clearly the female, and its
something outside her tubes, we might sug-
gest keyhole surgery, and you can get that
done in the public sector or privately.
Some people may just need fertility
tablets. Polycystic ovaries may just mean
getting your pre diabetes sorted out, get-
ting your weight down a bit, having a good
diet, and using the right fertility tablets. We
just have to make sure you are responding
to the tablets and your eggs are really com-
ing out. You just have to figure out which
drug works for you and then simply take it.
You just need the right advice to figure
out what your body needs and how to get
the egg and the sperm together at the
right time. So a lot of the work we do is
timing and simple drugs. Again, those are
not expensive, those are relatively easy to
correct and it's more about education, help-
ing her understand her body, helping her to
figure out when (in her cycle) her eggs are
coming out so she can get her baby.
HOW EFFECTIVE ARE
Those treatments are 80 per cent effec-
tive. Those people are going to conceive
fine with those. Insemination treatments:
60 -- 70 per cent of couples are going to
get their baby that way. It depends on
your age though, if you are 48 years old,
none of these things may work. But we
have egg donor programme, so older
women who are healthy and have no eggs,
for example the 48-year-old, if she is
healthy enough to carry a baby, she might
be eligible to go into the egg donor pro-
gramme if someone else gives her eggs.
So there are many options.
WHAT CAN ONE DO TO DECREASE
THE POSSIBILITY OF INFERTILITY?
Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise reg-
ularly, take a multivitamin with folic acid,
those are the basics. Get your pap smears
done regularly, take care of your health, if
you have irregular periods, see a gynaecol-
ogist, if you have diabetes in your family,
check for diabetes. There are lots of
things you can be doing, but they wont
stop blocked tubes or low egg levels.
ARE THERE VITAMIN
SUPPLEMENTS THAT ONE CAN
TAKE TO PROMOTE FERTILITY?
Not really. If you want to get pregnant,
you need to be taking folic acid tablets,
because that helps the baby's skull and
spine develop properly. Other than that,
taking a multivitamin isn't really needed if
you have a good diet. A lot of people don't
eat a great diet, so a multivitamin can't
harm you, but if you're eating lots of fruits
and vegetables, some chicken, some fish,
you actually don't need a multivitamin.
You can get everything you need, other
than folic acid, through a good diet.
WHAT ABOUT HERBAL
REMEDIES, STRESS REDUCTION?
It doesn't seem so. There are lots of com-
plementary options for fertility. The reality is
most of our medications and drugs came
from plants originally, so herbs are not gen-
erally detrimental. But the problem that we
have is that people tend to sell a lot of
things they call herbal remedies and we
have no idea what's in them. So you're often
buying something and spending a lot of
money and you have absolutely no idea
what's in it because there are no restrictions
on manufacturing things here. The reality is
those things aren't shown to increase preg-
nancy at all. I'm not at all averse to herbs but
they have to be produced properly and we
have to know what's in them. You don't
know what chemicals are being put in there.
Stress reduction is also unlikely to help.
People in war zones are having babies. Peo-
ple spend a lot of money on things because
they are desperate and they are being sold
something that they are being told will help
them. If you are thinking of a complemen-
tary option, acupuncture might be more
helpful, or exercise. Acupuncture has been
shown, if done properly, to possibly help
Join us next Sunday as we advise
you about finding support.
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