Dr. Sascha Edelstein is the medical director of the Holistic Assisted Reproduction Treatment (HART) clinic in Cape Town. He is a private OB-GYN with sub-specialist training in Reproductive Medicine. Having been through assisted reproduction himself, he has a deep understanding of the physical, emotional & financial hurdles that need to be overcome when going through artificial insemination or IVF.
Why is it important for patients to receive a proper fertility work up with a Fertility specialist?
Too often I learn that couples have been trying to conceive for many years without success or they have had inappropriate interventions. This is particularly concerning for reproductively older women, for whom time is critical in terms of their deminishing ovarian reserve. A fertility specialist can assist in making an accurate diagnosis in order to provide a rational treatment plan that is directed towards overcoming the factor/s causing infertility.
If you could tell a newly diagnosed infertility patient one thing what would it be?
There are many treatment options available to assist those couples with an infertility diagnosis to conceive. We are continually seeing advances in diagnosis and treatment options, so that high pregnancy rates can be achieved. Become informed and work with your fertility clinic team, but remain realistic and take-care of your primary relationship. There are no quick-fix solutions and the journey to conceive can be a roller-coaster.
When couples realise they may fall into the category of one of these warning signs (see attached) how long should they wait before seeing a FS?
For couples that have a known risk factor that can cause infertility, they should not wait before seeing a fertility specialist. Women with irregular cycles may not be ovulating; women with BMI>30 may also not be ovulating & have an increased risk of miscarriage; painful menses or pain with intercourse can be due to endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can cause blocked fallopian tubes; past history of STI or PID can also cause blocked fallopian tubes, as can past pelvic surgery; cancer treatment can deplete ovarian reserve. For men, gym supplements & steroids can suppress sperm production; as can excessive alcohol intake & substance abuse; mumps, testicular swelling or trauma can all be indicators of damage to the testes; chronic tessticular pain or a growth in the scrotum needs to be evaluated; STIs can cause a blockage that prevents sperm being released; certain medications & medical conditions like diabetes can cause erectile dysfunction.