Help needed for falling pregnant
When falling pregnant becomes a problem, you may decide to seek medical help. There are many facilities available in South Africa that can give you a boost in creating that precious baby.
Artificial Insemination (AI)
Artificial Insemination is an option when you have mild problems with ovulation, endometriosis or when your partner has a relatively mild problem with his sperm (i.e. a low sperm count or premature ejaculation)
The procedure takes place, when the medical team injects your partner’s sperm into the cavity of your uterus.
The ideal time for Artificial insemination to take place will be determined by doing an ultrasound examination, to establish when you’re expected to ovulate. Often, the medical team will have given you medication to allow the eggs to grow.
The follicles, containing the eggs, can be seen on an ultrasound scan. Blood tests may also be used to establish whether you are in fact ovulating. These tests will probably be done on days 10 – 12 of your cycle.
The insemination will then take place on the day that you ovulate and the day after you ovulate, to give you the best chance of falling pregnant.
Artificial Insemination is a relatively mild procedure, which is done in your doctor’s rooms. Some say it’s similar to having your annual PAP smear. You can go home straight after having the procedure and carry on with normal activities.
You should have a good idea as to whether or not the artificial insemination has been successful, two weeks after the procedure
Artificial Insemination costs between R3000 – R7000 depending on how much medication you need. Depending on your age, the success rate is between 10 and 25%.
Artificial Insemination Using a Donor Egg
If your partner has a severe problem with his sperm count, you can opt to use a sperm donor. This may also be an option for you, if you’re a single woman or gay woman, wanting to have a baby.
Experts say it’s crucial that you use a recognized sperm donor bank. It’s also important to undergo counseling as a couple, before you decide to go this route.
The donor bank will probably not reveal your donor’s identity, but you are allowed to choose the sperm based on its race, age, physical characteristics, career and medical history. The sperm is also tested for various disease including HIV.
Normal artificial insemination will then take place.
The artificial insemination costs are the same, but you’ll pay around R400 for every single donation of sperm.
Invitro Fertilization (IVF)
Invitro Fertilization, takes place when you have a variety of infertility problems, including endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes or when your partner has some severe problems with his semen. This is also often a better option for more mature women, who would like to have a baby.
IVF babies are often referred to as test tube babies, as the doctors will collect eggs from your body and then fertilize them in a laboratory.
The doctor will give you a course of injections to stimulate the ovaries to develop eggs. He’ll do an ultrasound scan to establish whether The eggs will then be removed in theatre, while you’re sedated. This should take no longer than 15 to 20 minutes.
The laboratory scientist will then put your eggs into a special dish, along with the sperm. It will then go into an incubator and be left alone, so that the sperm can naturally fertilize the egg.
Three to five days later the Laboratory team will see if the eggs have been fertilized. They’ll then identify which embryos they’ll put into your uterus. Your doctor will discuss your options with you. Often he’ll opt to put several viable embryos into your uterus, to maximize your chances of falling pregnant. This could lead to you having twins or triplets! It’s a quick and painless procedure, done in a special procedure room.
As you wait to see if you are in fact pregnant, which could take around 14 days, your doctor will prescribe medication to maintain a healthy uterus.
IVF is pretty expensive. Depending on your doctor and the amount of medication you’ll need, this procedure could cost you anywhere between R25000 and R38000 per cycle. This rate includes all the medication. The success rate is however higher than artificial insemination; approximately 35 – 50%, depending on your age.
Intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
Intra cytoplasmic sperm injection takes place when there’s a serious problem with the quality of the sperm. This is often seen as the absolute last resort for people who previously thought that they were completely sterile.
The procedure is exactly the same as IVF. The only difference is that the sperm is actually injected into an egg, in the laboratory.
The IVF costs are exactly the same (around R25000 – R38000 per cycle), but you’ll have to pay an extra R6000 to R14000 for the laboratory work.
The success rates are generally better than IVF.