As part of a new series seeking to provide future parents with professional advice, “Your Health, Our Concern” interviews Dr. Porrawan Tangtham, an obstetrician and gynecologist specialized in reproductive medicine at Genesis Fertility Clinic (GFC) and Chaophya Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, who shares how prenatal screening tests could help with infertility issues.
Dr. Porrawan specializes in helping couples with infertility issues and has been practicing for over 10 years in this field.
Common infertility issues
Age usually is the primary cause of many couples’ infertility, but irregular menstruation might point out cyst-related disorders such as ovarian cyst. Such diseases need to be detected at an early stage via preliminary examinations to avoid further complications.
Screening tests are the cornerstone to uncovering and addressing infertility problems. Blood and semen testing for men, and ultrasound examination for women’s womb and ovaries are vital.
Upon detecting the exact cause of infertility, couple will be provided with recommended treatment, usually comprising three steps:
-Helping patient calculate ovulation day to facilitate natural pregnancy;
-If natural pregnancy is not successful, intra-uterine insemination (IUI) will be applied whereby women will receive a semen injection in the uterus;
-If IUI does not work as well, alternatives such as IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) or ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) may be considered.
One alternative method is IVF, where after collection, eggs and sperm will be mixed in vitro. Next, the best embryo will be selected and placed into the uterus. This enhances the chances of pregnancy since the best and strongest embryo will be chosen.
Another technique is ICSI where a needle will be used to suck the sperm and inject it into the eggs directly. Among these two methods, ICSI is the preferred as it leads to higher chances of pregnancy.
Role of screening
Preliminary screening for infectious diseases like hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis is essential. Detection of a thalassemia carrier constitutes a big problem and a consultation with infertility specialists is a priority.
When an embryo is three months old, re-checking chromosomes or undergoing Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is highly recommended as such tests provide high accuracy and relieves the couple from potential worrying.
“Each pregnancy is different,” Dr. Porrawan points out that although the first baby is normal, this cannot guarantee that the second one will be too. Screening tests must then be taken separately and individually interpreted. She also emphasizes there’s insufficient data to understand whether fertility is affected for both men and women after COVID-19 infection.
Among the many patients she successfully helped, Dr. Porrawan mentions a 42-year-old mother. She got naturally pregnant a long time ago. The chromosome test did not give good results, only three eggs were available, with chromosomes passing into one egg only. After three cycles, the embryo tested normal. The child was born healthy – much to the joy of the mother!
The message Dr. Porrawan wants to leave to readers interested in infertility treatments is the following: “Don’t worry about examination process, pain and what doctors will do for you. Just feel relaxed, do not worry too much.”
About NIFTY®: Non-invasive prenatal testing
To learn more about the NIFTY® Test – the world’s leading non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), please see our website. The NIFTY Test is suitable for pregnant women from 10 weeks of pregnancy, with an estimated turnaround time of under seven days. There are over 10,000,000 NIFTY samples processed as of 2021.
About BGI Genomics
BGI Genomics, headquartered in Shenzhen China, is the world’s leading integrated solutions provider of precision medicine. Our services cover more than 100 countries and regions, involving more than 2,300 medical institutions. In July of 2017, as a subsidiary of BGI Group, BGI Genomics (300676.SZ) was officially listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.