While some women find it easy to get pregnant, for others it can be a long process and sometimes fertility treatment is required. The best fertility treatment option for a couple depends on the cause of their infertility.
Simple treatment procedures include follicle or egg tracking. This involves the use of ultrasound scans to monitor the growth of the egg, and urine tests to detect when ovulation occurs. This can help a couple time their sexual intercourse better. If ovulation is a problem, ovulation induction with the help of fertility drugs or injections is usually very effective. To further increase a couple's chances of conceiving, ovulation induction may be combined with intra-uterine insemination, where sperm is placed directly into the womb with the help of a fine tube called a cannula. However, for some couples in-vitro-fertilisation (IVF) may be recommended if it is felt that it would give them the best chances of conceiving. Conditions where IVF may be recommended include severe male-factor infertility due to abnormal sperm count or quality, as well as gynaecological conditions such as disease of the fallopian tubes and endometriosis. Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the womb is deposited outside the womb, leading to painful periods and ovarian cysts. If the woman is near the age of 40 years, IVF may also be recommended earlier as pregnancy success rates fall markedly after 40.
In Singapore, IVF can only be carried out on married couples, and the wife must be under 45 years old.