Male Fertility Preservation

Male Fertility Preservation

Cryopreservation of Ejaculated Sperm

The most common method for fertility preservation for men and boys who have gone through puberty is to produce a sperm sample by masturbation. Although we recommend a period of 2-5 days between produced samples, they can be produced everyday if time does not allow. You should produce the samples before any treatment starts. Our clinic will allow you to produce the sample at home and transport it rapidly to the clinic for freezing. We make sure you have containers and instructions on how to do this.

How much ejaculated sperm should be stored?

Your fertility needs in the future can vary, so we need to be prepared for inseminations as a first line treatment option, but also consider how many children you would like. Inseminations involve either naturally or medically assisting you partner to produce an egg, programming ovulation and inserting the sperm into the uterus via a small catheter at the time of ovulation. Inseminations are not a guarantee of pregnancy, so we recommend having enough sperm stored for multiple attempts.

We usually request 2-3 samples for storage, but you will get feedback after each sample to let you know about the quality of the sperm sample and how many straws were frozen. Straws are the devices that are used to store the sperm, and typically 2 straws will allow for one insemination attempt. We always comment on the quality of the sample as you may already have symptoms related to … Read the rest

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What You Need To Know About Blocked Fallopian Tubes

What You Need To Know About Blocked Fallopian Tubes

What are fallopian tubes?

A crucial part of the female reproductive system, fallopian tubes – also known as uterine tubes or oviducts, are tiny, incredibly delicate tubes that stretch from the uterus to the ovaries.

The primary role of the fallopian tubes is to transport eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.

Every month when an ovary releases an egg (ovulation), the egg is picked up by the adjacent fallopian tube, and gently moved down the tube where it meets the sperm. The egg, if fertilised by
the sperm, is then called an embryo, and is gently moved along the fallopian tube all the way down into the uterus.

In essence then, the fallopian tube is the pathway that allows the egg and the sperm to meet and for fertilisation to take place.

Why are the fallopian tubes so important?

Once you understand that the fallopian tubes allow the egg and the sperm to meet so fertilisation can take place, it is easy to realise just how important these tiny, delicate structures are. Fertilization normally happens in the fallopian tubes.

Essentially, without functional fallopian tubes, an egg and the sperm won’t be able to meet – and natural conception is not possible.

As such, procedures to block the fallopian tubes can be used as a form of permanent contraception, or sterilization.

In order for conception to take place, a fallopian tube needs to be open all along its length, it needs … Read the rest

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Medical Schemes That Cover Fertility Treatment

Medical Schemes That Cover Fertility Treatment

Cape Fertility is proud to be a SASREG-accredited fertility clinic and we are also very proud that one of our fertility specialists, Dr Sulaiman Heylen is the President of SASREG.

This society serves to protect the interests of patients undergoing fertility treatment and represents specialists – ranging from gynaecologists, embryologists and scientists to fertility and theatre nursing sisters, allied practitioners, psychologists and social workers in the field of Gynaecological Endoscopy and reproductive medicine.

For many years, fertility treatments were not covered by medical aids in South Africa, this despite the fact that infertility is a listed prescribed minimum benefit disease.

The fact that infertility is a prescribed minimum benefit disease should mean that you are covered for infertility treatment, irrespective of the medical aid plan that you are on.

However, as Saskia Williams, founding member and CEO the Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa (IFAASA) explains, the reality is that the treatment of infertility is excluded – the only prescribed minimum benefit disease on the exclusion list of most medical aids. Although open medical aids will pay for diagnosis, once you have been diagnosed with infertility, the treatment of the disease will not be covered.

In a recent interview along with Williams on eNCA, Dr Heylen elaborated on the injustice of the fact that cover for fertility treatments is excluded from medical cover in South Africa.

Firstly, infertility is caused by medical conditions that affects both women and men, with only a very … Read the rest

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IUI vs IVF – Which One is Right for You?

IUI vs IVF – Which One is Right for You?

IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)

In vitro fertilization – or IVF as it is often called – is a type of ART that is used to treat fertility or genetic problems to help couples to conceive a child. Practiced for more than four decades across the world, IVF is a safe and trusted medical treatment, and its success rate is impressive.

Very simply stated, during in vitro fertilization the female partner’s eggs are collected and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The embryo is then implanted into the uterus to hopefully become a pregnancy.

The IUI procedure

A widely used form of ART, IUI is a fairly quick and simple procedure, compared to other fertility treatments such as IVF. It is also painless and safe, as the IUI procedure entails little medical risk for the women undergoing the treatment.

The IUI procedure is usually done in a fertility specialist’s examination room, in the late morning, and during the middle of your menstrual cycle. A woman’s natural cycle is often followed with ultrasound and blood tests to check when ovulation occurs or stimulation can be given to grow eggs. IUI treatment can also be provided with special medications to stimulate ovulation.

During the IUI procedure, semen is introduced into the uterus by means of a syringe or a tiny flexible plastic tube that is inserted into the uterine cavity. Many women say that the procedure feels like a PAP smear.

The IVF

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Fertility Tests at Cape Fertility

Fertility Tests at Cape Fertility

We will also ask about your social life: where you work and what you do, what kind of stresses you have in your life and whether either partner is drinking, smoking or using recreational drugs – all of which can affect fertility. We might also check your sugar levels, your insulin levels, and your cholesterol levels.

The next step is an examination that will be a lot like a normal gynaecological examination, except we do look for several extra issues. We might also do a pap smear to check on your cervical health.

An internal examination is done to check the uterus, to look at each ovary and to see if there is any scarring inside of the pelvis. An internal ultrasound exam provides a good look at the uterus and the ovaries to reveal any signs of pathology.

We check the lining, which is the inner most part of the uterus, to make sure it is thick enough and whether there is scar tissue, polyps or fibroids that need to be removed.

Each ovary is checked for signs of endometriosis and to eliminate the possibility of polycystic ovaries. The number of potential eggs is measured to provide an indication of how many eggs you have and how active your ovaries are.

Because it cannot be seen on the scan, any possible damage to the fallopian tubes is determined with a different kind of test called an HSG that allows us to check that everything … Read the rest

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What is IntraUterine Insemination (IUI)?

What is IntraUterine Insemination (IUI)?

What is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)?

Intrauterine insemination or IUI is a process during which a medical practitioner places sperm directly into the uterus during ovulation by a means other than sexual intercourse.

During natural conception, sperm must travel from the vagina through the cervix, into the uterus, and up to the fallopian tubes. IUI delivers the sperm directly into the uterus and thus makes the trip shorter for the sperm and also allows the sperm to get around any obstructions.

IUI is the oldest assisted reproductive technique, and remains the most common method of artificial insemination. It has also proven safe and effective over time. Your fertility specialist may suggest this method first as a treatment for infertility.

What does the IUI procedure entail?

A widely used form of assisted reproductive technology (ART), IUI is a fairly quick and simple procedure, compared to other fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF). It is also safe and painless, as the IUI procedure entails little medical risk for the women undergoing the treatment.

The procedure is usually done in a fertility specialist’s examination room, in the late morning, and during the middle of the woman’s menstrual cycle. A woman’s natural cycle is often followed, with ultrasound and blood tests to check when ovulation occurs or stimulation can be given to grow eggs. IUI treatment can also be provided with special medications to stimulate ovulation.

During the IUI procedure, semen is introduced into the uterus by means … Read the rest

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IVF Innovations – The EmbryoScope™ at Cape Fertility

IVF Innovations – The EmbryoScope™ at Cape Fertility

At Cape Fertility, we are always striving for higher success rates for our fertility patients and finding ways of making quality fertility treatment affordable. As a result, we continuously invest in new high-quality technology. An example of this is our state-of-the-art EmbryoScope™ systems that allow us to offer our IVF patients excellent service and superior results.

In this article, we take a look at what the EmbryoScope™ is, how it improves IVF success rates and therefore also IVF affordability, and where you can access this technology to improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy.

What Is EmbryoScope™?

The EmbryoScope™ is an IVF incubator system that is equipped with a microscope that also has an integrated camera, operated using advanced software.

The built-in camera enables automated imaging of the eggs (oocytes) in a closed incubation environment – from fertilisation until the time of the embryo transfer. Because the EmbryoScope™ is a time-lapse system that provides superior image quality, embryologists can visually follow the development of the embryos.

The technology behind EmbryoScope™ was developed in the 1990s by a team of university scientists from the Department of Biology at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, who had more than 20 years of experience in developing, constructing, and applying microsensors. With funding primarily from the 4th European Frame Program of the European Commission, the scientists created a series of innovative sensors and measuring principles were developed, three of which were subsequently patented internationally. This included … Read the rest

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Male Infertility Treatment

Male Infertility Treatment

What could cause of male infertility?

Understanding the relevant parts of male anatomy is helpful to understand the many possible causes of male infertility.

The actual sperm is made in the testicles. This sperm is then stored in the epididymis, which is like a holding area. From there, the sperm needs to travel up through a long pipe, which is called the vas deferens. This is what is obstructed during a vasectomy. Once the sperm travels through the vas deferens and gets closer to the bladder, it will meet with a bunch of glands that will create some fluid, with which the sperm is transported. This fluid is very important for protecting the sperm inside of the vaginal environment and for providing the sperm with nutrition.

Given this process, there are many factors that can contribute to male infertility. There might be some very obvious reason for male factor infertility, such as a vasectomy. However, even if you had a male sterilization previously, we do have treatment options to address this. Another example of an obvious reason is men who have spinal cord injuries. We have many patients with spinal cord injuries and we can also assist with this.

To identify less obviously possible causes, we start by examining your medical history to find out about any medical conditions or any medication that could be affecting the ability to have an erection or to ejaculate, or that could affect sperm quality. That could include previous surgery, especially … Read the rest

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Male Infertility Tests

Male Infertility Tests

Male fertility levels can also decline due to several causes such as age, stress, a compromised immune system, environmental factors like working with chemicals and heat.

Problems with sperm production or the quality of the sperm are, however, a top cause of infertility in men. In fact, male fertility is defined by the “sperm quality”, which refers to semen volume, sperm count, sperm motility (movement) and sperm morphology (shape).

For this reason, after a thorough medical review, the first male infertility test that is done is a sperm test. This requires a sperm sample to be collected for testing.

The sample required for a male infertility test

A sperm sample can be collected in different ways. Men can produce the sample in the clinic at Cape Fertility, where we have facilities available. For those who are not comfortable with masturbation, a partner is welcome to assist to produce a sample via intercourse.

The sample can also be produced at home and brought to the clinic. The time duration between production of sample and arriving at the clinic should be ideally less than one hour.

Whichever method you are comfortable with, the sperm sample must be produced after 2 to 5 days of abstinence.

When the sperm sample is produced, it is very important that there are no disinfectants, soaps, or any lubricants used as this can kill the sperm and give an inaccurate reading. A normal condom can also not be used, because these contain spermicide. We … Read the rest

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Causes of Infertility

Causes of Infertility

What is infertility?

The term “infertility” is used in the medical field to describe a couple’s inability to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse where the female partner is younger than 35, or after six months where the female partner is older than 35, or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term.

It is important to know that you are not alone in facing infertility. The incidence of infertility worldwide is high. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 8-10% of couples experience some form of infertility problem. However, the incidence of infertility may vary from region to region.

It is also important to realise that “infertility” does not mean that you are unable to have a child, but rather that you will require medical assistance to achieve a pregnancy. Infertility is a medical disorder.

Unlike many other parts of your lives, infertility may be beyond your control. Don’t blame yourself if you are not getting pregnant. It is a medical problem, which often needs appropriate medical treatment.

The good news is that 80% of couples that seek care from a qualified specialist will carry a pregnancy to term (Human Reproduction Updates, vol. 6, 2000).

Various causes of infertility

The cause of a couple’s infertility may be related to the female partner or the male partner or both partners.

In around 40% of cases, the cause of a couple’s infertility problems is a male factor. In a further 40% of cases, a … Read the rest

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