• Five Things You Should Know Before Receiving Fertility Treatments

    Increased awareness and the removal of strict censorship of television advertisements since the 2011 revolution have sparked a surge in the number of couples in Egypt seeking fertility treatment. Due to the high number of people who smoke, fertility problems among Egyptian men and women are quite common, although until recently, fertility treatments have remained relatively uncommon. Now, as young couples come under increasing pressure to start a family early into their marriage, many are turning to fertility clinics for help in conceiving. Aside from the expense, there are many other important aspects of fertility treatment to consider that require a great deal of thought and understanding. To help, we discuss five important points every couple should be aware of before they decide to seek fertility treatment.


    1. Change of lifestyle

    Prior to trying medical treatment, a couple should make the necessary changes to their lifestyle to increase their chances of successful conception. This includes having regular intercourse, eating healthily, getting enough sleep, and cutting out bad habits such as smoking. Given the high numbers of Egyptians who smoke, and the harm that tobacco does to the body and in particular the reproductive organs, many medical experts blame smoking for the high percentage of Egyptians who have fertility problems. Making small but important lifestyle changes can improve the chances of conceiving both naturally or through the various fertility treatments.


    2. Ovulation

    Before meeting with an obstetrician or gynaecologist, it is important for a woman to know if she is ovulating correctly. This means regular menstrual cycles which have normal and sufficient blood flow. If a woman is having problems ovulating, or if she notices any sudden changes in her menstrual cycle, she should inform her doctor immediately.


    3. Consult with reliable doctors

    If a couple under the age of 30 have been trying to conceive for a period of 12 months or more but without success, they are advised to meet with their doctor. Since the revolution, an increasing number of doctors are advertising fertility tests and treatments, however, it is hard to establish whether they have the qualifications and experience they claim to have. As the fertility treatment sector is currently unregulated, many medical professionals predict that the number of so-called cowboy or backstreet doctors will only increase. Thorough research should be undertaken before agreeing to use a certain medical facility or doctor for consultations and treatment.


    4. Appropriate testing

    Determining the main cause or causes of infertility is important as it will help the couple choose the fertility treatment most suitable to them. In couples that are infertile, the man is responsible in two thirds of cases, the woman in roughly 25 per cent of cases and the remainder are unexplained. In roughly 10 to 15 per cent of all cases the man and woman are both infertile.

    For men, tests should be carried out that will analyse the sperm, its quality and its quantity. It is probably the easiest and quickest of all fertility tests and is usually the first test recommended by doctors. On the woman’s side, she can consult her obstetrician or gynaecologist to determine if she has fertility problems. It is crucial that these doctors are credible and that they agree to carry out a full range of tests and examinations. In some cases, doctors may find a minor problem preventing conception which can be easily addressed without the need to undergo treatment.


    5. Treatments and costs

    If test results clearly show that the couple are infertile, the next step is deciding on the most appropriate treatment. In Egypt, there is a wide choice of in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments, plus more modern advancements in this area which are known as assisted reproductive technologies (ART). All options are available to couples, provided they have the means to pay for the treatment.


    Despite the economic uncertainty that is currently affecting the country, Egyptian couples are routinely paying between 6,000 and 12,000 Egyptian pounds (US$870 – US$1,740) for a course of fertility treatment. This is several times higher than the average monthly wage and is therefore a big financial commitment for any couple to undertake. These costs, plus the type of treatment and its duration, also need to be factored in before treatment is agreed to.


    Fertility treatments are not standard medical treatments or services that receive health insurance coverage. Couples with health insurance who wish to undertake a course of fertility treatment are advised to check with their provider to see if it is covered by their plan.

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