What exactly is sub-fertility - or infertility? As a definition, it is any form of reduced fertility that provokes a prolonged period of unwanted non-conception. This can be from months to years even. The number of people this affects is remarkable.
There are a number of assisted reproduction techniques that can help people with fertility problems. These include Artificial Insemination which involves inserting a sample of sperm into the woman’s uterus and In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) which is conducted in a laboratory where an egg and sperm form a fertilised embryo which is then transferred to the woman’s uterus. The success rate can be quite high (40-50%, depending on age) but medication side effects, money worries, and uncertain outcomes can cause infertility-related stress, which along with worries that come with the early stages of pregnancy can put a lot of pressure on both men and women.
Egg Donation is another treatment where a woman with fertility problems receives donated eggs. There are also a large number of tests that can be performed to help make assisted reproduction successful. These tests include MACS, a technique for selecting the best sperm to use and NACE and NACE Plus whereby chromosomal changes to the foetus can be monitored.
To help ease the emotional burden of subfertility and IVF treatment, GENNET City Fertility are hosting a monthly support group organised by Fertility Network UK. By sharing experience, patients reduce stress and feel like part of a community, which can tremendously help with the whole process.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that professional counselling should be offered before, during and after IVF treatment (regardless of the outcome). Unfortunately only 44% of people affected do receive counselling. GENNET City Fertility offer counselling services to all their patients (the first appointment is free of charge).
Other ways to combat stress beyond counselling and psychotherapy include acupuncture, hypnotherapy, writing, mindfulness, and a range of therapeutic massage techniques. In the case of acupuncture, a number of studies have found an increase in the successful outcomes of IVF when women had acupuncture alongside the IVF procedure.
At GENNET City-Fertility acupuncture can be given before and after procedures in private on-suite recovery rooms.
When choosing the right facility for you make sure there is a supportive environment with a dedicated team or professionals who provide good pastoral care (and continuity of care) This can make a huge difference to the quality of your fertility journey.