How technology is changing pregnancy for women over 40

The New Straits Times Letter to the Editor, 28 July 2020, features Dr Navdeep’s thoughts on advancements in fertility treatment, defining infertility as a disease, and his commitment towards helping couples build a family.

LETTERS: Advancements in fertility treatments and technology are helping more and more women who are facing age-related infertility achieve their dreams of having a baby.

Developments in procedures and technologies in fertility science complemented by laboratories that adhere to the highest standards ensure the best chances of creating and growing embryos to facilitate pregnancies.

Procedures such as Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) ensure that the best embryo can be selected for transfer, and Endometrial Receptivity Analysis helps doctors determine the best time to transfer the embryo.

Improvements in medication has reduced injections needed to be administered to women in preparation for In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) from six weeks to 10 days. These have contributed to increased success in pregnancy and decrease in miscarriages.

In fact, the success rate of pregnancy through IVF is almost 60 per cent now compared with 20 per cent previously.

Still, how is it possible that women in their 40s and above can conceive? Most age-related infertility problems in women are due to germ cell deterioration.

By the time women turn 40, their ovarian reserve or eggs are reduced markedly. However, the uterus remains functional.

Therefore, for women above 50 to conceive, an egg from a donor is artificially inseminated by the husband’s sperm to create an embryo.

The embryo is implanted in the woman’s womb, which carries the baby to term. While it is a possibility, advanced age pregnancy may not be for everyone. Ethically, fertility specialists first need to determine if the woman is healthy enough to carry a child.

For this reason, early pregnancy (preferably between 20s and 30s) is the ideal convention. If a woman is not ready to have children in her 20s or even 30s, she can ensure her chances of having a healthy embryo years later by preserving her eggs while she is young with oocyte cryopreservation or egg freezing.

However, when it comes to fertility, the fundamental message is: don’t wait until it becomes a challenge. To be exact, couples should see a fertility specialist after six to 12 months of trying but failing to conceive. Fertility is a potentially treatable problem.

The problem lies in the fact that infertility is generally not considered a medical problem. Instead, it is seen more as a social issue. Infertility may not be a life or death case but it is a long-term (chronic) condition.

People can be childless for life and this can contribute to mental and emotional health problems, marriage breakdowns and career failures.

For a long time, infertility wasn’t even considered a disease. It was only in 2009 that the World Health Organisation and the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technology defined infertility as “a disease of the reproductive system”.

The right to procreation must be seen from a broader perspective. Besides its importance to the survival of mankind, children are imperative for a nation.

Dr Navdeep Singh Pannu
Fertility Specialist
Puchong, Selangor

Source :
New Straits Times
https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/07/612116/how-technology-changing-pregnancy-women-over-40

Making Babies a Reality

Dr Navdeep Singh Pannu is a fertility care specialist with extensive experience in reproductive medicine including assisted reproductive treatments and technologies.

Ingrained with the belief that infertility is treatable, he has helped hundreds of couples conceive including many women in the advanced age group as well as men with severe infertility issues who had given up almost all hope of having a child of their own.

“There are so many options today that addresses the various causes of infertility and it is only getting better with time. No matter what the issues are and whether it is male or female infertility, there is a way to have your own baby,” he emphasised.

If there are no immediate indications of severe infertility issues, Dr Navdeep prefers to take a conservative approach by helping couples try to conceive naturally before attempting assisted reproductive procedures like in vitro fertilisation.

“If we can help a couple conceive naturally, then why not? Sometimes what they need is a little help like Ovulation Induction, which encourages eggs to mature and ovulate or they could just need fertility-sparing surgery to fix a problem that is impeding pregnancy.”

Having a progressive outlook, Dr Navdeep embraces his patient’s own fertility care preferences such as natural treatments that help with conception to birthing, from acupuncture to Chinese herbal medicines.

“Battling with infertility issues can be stressful. You are not only dealing with personal stress, but also from the external environment like family and friends. I believe that if it helps patients to relax, and take care of their body and mind, then it can only promote their chances of conceiving. Of course, I do keep a close eye on all treatments.”

An unwavering focus on the safety and comfort of his patient is a common theme throughout Dr Navdeep’s practice. “I don’t believe in putting patients in the way of unnecessary danger, especially from treatments. I don’t encourage taking risks such as implanting more than two embryos at a time. It is more important to me that the mother has a safe and comfortable pregnancy and her baby is healthy. Any other outcome is heartbreaking.”

As someone who has had his own experience with infertility, Dr Navdeep knows how challenging the journey to become parents can be. Always there to support his patients and to provide the best care possible, he always makes himself available to his patients at any time, including weekends. “I’m more than happy to be there for these couples. For me, there is nothing more rewarding than to see a couple who were unable to conceive, finally have the child they have always dreamed about.”

You are sure to have many questions. In addressing infertility, the sooner you have them answered, the better.

Do list them down and call 03-8076 7111 (TMC Fertility & Women’s Specialist Centre, Puchong) or 03 62871209 (Thomson Hospital, Kota Damansara) or email ask@drnavdeepfertility.com to make an appointment to consult with Dr Navdeep.