Couples with difficulty to conceive

March 05, 2011

Doctor, is it true that subfertility is more common nowadays?

This question is commonly posed to me during my consultation with couples seeking treatment for fertility. The figure quoted for prevalence of this problem is 1 in every 7 married couple. However, there is no local data available (at least that I can recall). Doctors are seeing more subfertility cases because
  1. Better access to fertility treatment,
  2. Increased patient awareness,
  3. Couple delaying childbirth and
  4. Higher prevalence of lifestyle disease.

When to seek treatment?
The probability of pregnancy for a healthy couple is 30% per month. This is known as fecundity rate. This low figure is just to show that men are poor reproducer. Despite this low pregnancy rate, most couple with regular unprotected sexual intercourse (2-3 times a week), should be able to conceive within a year. Fertility is influenced by age, duration of subfertility, presence of poor sperm count and past history of pregnancy. It is important for couple to seek treatment after 1 year of trying to conceive but sooner if they have the following problem.
  1. Women aged more than 35years.
  2. Irregular menstrual cycle.
  3. Previous history of Endometriosis, pelvic infection.
  4. Poor sperm count.
Difficulty to conceive- seek treatment early!!

Dr. Ng Soon Pheng
Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist
Columbia Asia Hospital- Puchong