“Many treatment options available for infertile couples, but there is a high level of risk and challenge involved,” says Dr Steven Teo, Consultant at the KKIVF Centre, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth​ group.

Fertility treatment options

  • In vitro fertilisation (IVF): Eggs are retrieved from the woman and then fertilised in the lab with her​ partner’s sperm. A partially grown embryo is then placed into the womb for pregnancy to occur. A successful pregnancy can be confirmed two weeks later.
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): A single sperm is injected into each mature egg that is retrieved from the woman. This technique is commonly used nowadays and it benefits couples with poor sperm quality. A resulting embryo is then placed in the womb, as described above in IVF.​
  • Superovulation & intrauterine insemination (SOIUI)​​: The ovaries are stimulated with drugs with the aim of maturing two to three eggs. Prepared sperm is then placed directly into the womb when the eggs are ready and ovulation occurs.

Risks and challenges in fertility treatment

  • Treatment may be cancelled if the woman responds poorly. Those on IVF or ICSI may have few or no usable eggs for retrieval.
  • Ovaries, artificially stimulated, can over-respond. Untreated, this may be potentially life-threatening.
  • There is a higher chance of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus).
  • Egg extraction can be complicated by bowel, bladder and vascular injuries, or pelvic infection.
  • There is a higher chance of multiple pregnancies and premature delivery.

See next page for a couple's journey with assisted reproductive technology (ART) and Dr Hong's advic​e on when couples should consider seeking medical help for fertility treatments.

​Ref: R14​