Dr. Le Roux is a Director at the Cape Fertility Clinic and a Part time Lecturer in the Faculty of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Cape Town. In 2011, Dr Le Roux was elected President of the South African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG). His special interests are IVF, reproductive endocrinology, gamete donation (egg and sperm donation) and advanced endoscopic surgery.
He shares some of his insights and advice below.
Why is it important for couples struggling to conceive to get a fertility work up and diagnosis from a Fertility Specialist?
The investigations for infertility are detailed and complex, and should be interpreted by a Reproductive Medicine Specialist. Having a normal gynaecological “check up” and knowing that you are ovulating is not sufficient information to exclude the presence of an underlying fertility problem. The fertility specialist will order investigations depending on the history of each couple, to specifically look for the cause of the infertility. Some patients may only need simple tests to be done, and others may need invasive procedures such as laparoscopic surgery to find the cause of the fertility problem. Both partners need to be investigated at the same time, since a male factor can be the cause in at least 30% of all cases.
Why would you encourage couples to only go to SASREG accredited clinics for infertility treatment?
SASREG clinics have voluntarily applied for an inspection to certify that their staff is adequately qualified and their premises are suitable to treat couples with infertility. Patients should ONLY go to these centres for treatment
Why is it important to grow awareness around the warning signs of infertility?
Many couples wait too long until they access fertility treatment. The success rate of fertility treatment is linked to the woman’s age, and in some cases delaying treatment by 6 -12 months can make a significant difference in the outcome of therapy. An early evaluation of a couple with fertility problems will provide important information to guide the couple as to how urgently treatment is warranted, and which types of treatment will be relevant to them.
If you could tell the newly diagnosed couple one thing about infertility what would it be?
Choosing the correct Reproductive Medicine Specialist is very important to avoid wasting time and money, and having a positive experience during treatment. Do not be falsely reassured by friends or inexperienced doctors telling you to “just wait, relax and it will happen by itself”. There are usually physical or biological factors which cause infertility and medical treatment will be beneficial to you.