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Female infertility is a growing health concern in today’s society and often, the journey from diagnosis to treatment (or failure thereof) is fraught with uncertainty and emotional distress for a woman and her partner.

There are many causes of female infertility, which are usually investigated for and diagnosed by a gynaecologist or fertility expert. Problems with egg development, ovulation or even anatomical problems with a woman’s reproductive system may be the culprits. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Endometriosis are well-known examples of female medical conditions that can lead to reduced fertilit

  The value of Integration: Benefits of a holistic approach to fertility using complimentary therapies alongside conventional medicine

 A clinical diagnosis of sub- or infertility often sets off a whole chain of events and previously unforeseen tests and treatments for couples who may have already been starting to stress at their failure to fall pregnant as the months pass by.

Uterine and endometrial factors affecting implantation

Introduction

Implantation is a process whereby the embryo attaches itself to the luminal surface of the endometrium (inner lining of the uterine cavity). This is followed by migration and invasion of the embryo into the deeper stromal layers (Figure 1). Traditionally, implantation has been considered as a process involving only the embryo and the endometrium, but recent studies show that even cumulus cell competency (cells around the egg) may also contribute to the process. While implantation is a process with a well-defined starting point, it is a gradual process which lasts for several weeks with no universal agreement on when the process is completed.

Endometriosis is a condition where the uterine lining (endometrium) grows on pelvic structures outside the uterine cavity. In early-stage endometriosis there is usually little, if any, visible evidence of anatomical distortion sufficient to compromise the release of an egg (ovulation) or its transportation from the ovary to the fallopian tube. In contrast, advanced endometriosis is characterised by the presence of pelvic adhesions sufficient to distort normal pelvic anatomy and interfere with fertilisation as well as egg/embryo transportation mechanisms. Women who have this condition are much more likely to experience infertility. There are several reasons for this:

With Infertility increasing globally, the need for fertility treatments are increasing year on year. And as medical schemes continue to offer little to no cover for treatment, (many of them having a blanket exclusion on infertility, right before listing participation in terrorist activity and wilful violation of the law!) rather than fair treatment for a recognised disease, the options to create one’s own family may be out of reach for many. When somebody becomes a member of a medical aid they do it for peace of mind that when diagnosed with a recognised disease entity the medical aid will support them with fair payment of treatment. This is however not always the case. At recent IFAASA seminars, Saskia Williams, Meggan Zunckel and Tarryn Jacobs touted for support from the many attendees.

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