Going for a fertility health check and what it means for me.
So I sorta mentioned that I was in quite a few mainstream publications recently and also did an interview with CNA and Capital Radio 958... and as some of you would have caught on, it was actually for I Love Children’s Fertility Awareness Campaign organised in conjunction with World Fertility Awareness Month in June.
With Dr Steven Teo of TFC
To clear the air (cause the hubs has been getting so many texts asking about our baby-making activities and if "that's why he's been so tired lately" haha), well, yes, we did go for a Fertility Health Check at Thomson Fertility Centre but no, it isn't because we are facing some issues with baby-making.
That's actually one of the common misconceptions about a fertility health check - that you should only go for one if you think you're infertile - but on the contrary, the fertility health check may be considered for all couples, even newly-weds and those intending to conceive.
WHY go for a fertility health check?
I don't know why I look so stern here
The hubs and I have been married for 3 years now and it's about time we start thinking about children.
Like I explained in this CNA interview, most of us have a very ideal 5-year or even 10-year plan for ourselves... and for our marriage and life at large. That we will get married, enjoy a few years of personal space before eventually having kids. However, life doesn't always turn out as planned (especially since we are settling down much later these days and it's a fact that there IS a correlation between age and fertility...) and going for a fertility health check at the beginning of the marriage could help you with your own life plans. For example, if - touch wood - you realise that you cannot conceive that easily, you might want to adjust your plans to start trying for a kid earlier in your marriage. Or if there're any problems - again, God forbid - then at least you can eliminate any conditions that could contribute to infertility. For example, mild symptoms like menstrual cramps, which are often dismissed as “normal”, could be signalling something more serious like endometriosis. It is always good to identify any contributing factors early on and seek timely treatment, than to prolong the futile conception attempts.
For those who think that this is sexist etc, erm 1) the fertility health check involves BOTH the male and the female and 2) this is NOT about forcing people to have children. It is about providing the right info to the people who WANT to have children... someday or right now.
In fact, according to a straw poll by I Love Children amongst 100 respondents aged between 18 - 39, it was discovered that only 2 percent of respondents are aware of where to go for a fertility health check, and what it entails!
To be honest, I also didn't know the specifics (and I'm the KPO queen of trivia ok!) and I'm truly quite glad that such information is made available to the masses.
So, WHAT is a fertility health check? WHAT does it involve?
Basically, there are 4 components to the fertility health check:
- A medical history interview with the couple
- An ultrasound scan (for the women)
- A hormone blood test (for the women)
- A semen analysis (for the men)
The basic fertility health check encompasses a detailed interview with the couple, including their medical, emotional and social history, physical examination, pelvic scan, blood test and semen analysis.
In some couples, specialised scans or endoscopy may be required.
Does it hurt?
I have often mentioned in this space that I am extremely terrified of pain.... and my threshold for pain is ridiculously low. I extracted my wisdom teeth under GA (i.e. put to sleep type) simply cause I was too afraid to deal with the pain from extractions. And having said that, I can assure you that the fertility health check for me personally did not hurt. The doctors and nurses at Thomson Fertility Centre were extremely professional... even the drawing of blood for my hormone test was swift and pain-free!
Good, at least we look happy together now
Ok, I believe you. WHERE should I go for this check then?
You'll need to visit a gynaecologist in a clinic or hospital. (Your regular GP won't do for this.)
How much does it cost?
Honestly, I expected it to be in the range of a thousand-ish but it turns out to be $450! It's not the cheapest I know but given how thorough it is, I think it is a very reasonable price. You might also want to know that I Love Children is giving out 100 free fertility health checks! Sign up by June 2016 - more details available here.
How can I find out more?
In the month of June, I Love Children will be rolling out a series of creative visuals, followed by roadshows and sponsored fertility health checks.
There will be a roadshow and fertility-related talks happening 15–17 June at HarbourFront, North Atrium and some of the topics include Fertility Health Check: What, Why, Who, Where and Getting Ready for Baby - What You Didn't Know - you can see the event schedule here.
Quick one - would you encourage people to go for this fertility health check?
With Dr Teo and Mrs Joni Ong, president of ILC
Yup. Like I said above, going for this check does NOT mean you need to have a kid right here, right now BUT it really does help you a lot in understanding your body and make better decisions about your life and marriage. After all, it IS a health check and given how we often go for medical checkups to find out what's up with our bodies (hello, I diligently see my dentist twice a year and go for my annual medical checkup) so our reproductive health should be something we are concerned about also.
And of course, IF you are planning to have children, then maybe you would want to take the Parenthood Pledge with I Love Children and be the first 100 eligible couples to get a $300 gift from Abbott :)
Till next time!