Today I was excited to interview Dr Michael Flynn (Obstetrician and Gynaecologist) on fertility and common issues couples and individuals face while trying to conceive. Michael was also my obstetrician for my first child 13 years ago and was wonderful in working with me and honouring my wishes the entire journey.
This blog is not word for word – more a summary of what we discussed. The podcast can be found here.
Fertility is a subject dear to both of our hearts and I love interviewing people who are doing their passion. Fertility work is very rewarding as everyone is trying to get the ultimate and perfect out come of a happy healthy pregnancy followed by a happy healthy baby. For both Michael and myself this is what drives both of us to succeed in this area – it is a team effort usually with wonderful rewards.
Q: What has lead you to specialize in fertility?
I am a specialist in gynae and obstetrics and fertility is a wonderful journey for many , assisting them with conception and ultimately a healthy baby to go home with is the best gift I can be given.
Q: What is “infertility”?
Infertility is failing to fall pregnant after 12 months of unprotected intercourse.
Majority (85%) of healthy younger woman conceive within the first 12 months. The remaining 15% have issues and these can be due to female or male issues. Approximately a third of issues arise with the male, one third with the female and a third combined or unexplained infertility.
Q: What do you think are the main causes of infertility?
The main reason is couples are leaving it too late. The best eggs and the best opportunity for becoming pregnant are in the late teens to late 20s. After 35 years old, eggs, chromosomal abnormalities etc are a lot greater. The human body was designed to have babies earlier in life not later.
Q: What are the common issues affecting women?
These can be categorised into 3 areas:
- Ovary issues range from underdeveloped follicles, too many (cysts) PCO , no ovary response, no eggs (ie all used up and menopausal).
- Tube issues. The most common is damaged tubes which can eventuate from pelvic inflammatory disease which is usually caused by chlamydia. Unfortunately one bout of chlamydia infection will lead to a 15-20% less chance of conceiving.
- Implantation issues can arise from endometriosis, unstable endometrium or fibroids in the womb (or uterus).
Q: What are common issues affecting men?
- Poor sperm counts and poor quality sperm.
- Some structural issues (ie no vas deferens) so sperm can’t be ejaculated and cystic fibrosis is the most common cause here
- Steroid (anabolic steroids) use can decrease sperm production significantly but can return to normal after 6-12 months)
Q: What is IVF?
IVF is when a specialist (gynae and obstetrician) assist a couple or individual to conceive and carry their pregnancy.
There are many different types and all are designed to increase fertility chances. It depends on the individual, what they are trying to achieve and what percentages they are after. For example insemination increases fertility by 15% in a 35 yo, while IVF increases it to 35%. It just depends what is warranted and what individuals would like.
Dr Michael Flynn today on radio.