Fertility Wives Tales
Dr Gary Swift
With such a plethora of information available through the Net, our family and friends and well-meaning support groups, is it any wonder the wives’ tales abound when it comes to fertility and falling pregnant. Here, Dr Gary Swift enlightens us on the facts over fiction.
Q. How much can be attributed to the male partner in issues of fertility?
A. Despite an old fashioned view that if pregnancy is not happening the female partner “better get herself checked out “, it is in fact wholly or partly male factors which are responsible in up to 40% of cases. Men can be tested relatively easily with a semen analysis after three days abstinence. If this is normal no more testing may be required. If abnormal we search for elements in the history such as undescended testes, childhood mumps, trauma and toxic exposure. Blood tests can help us identify biochemical, endocrine and genetic causes. In many however no cause is found and timed intra-uterine insemination or IVF with or without ICSI may be required. A good diet, moderate exercise, avoiding cigarettes, alcohol and drugs with a focused multivitamin is the ideal for optimum sperm production. Unfortunately, the reality is you can’t just look at men and presume because he looks OK, his sperm is OK.
Q. When should couples seek help if they are trying to start a family or fall pregnant?
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