Dr James Moir Sunshine Coast Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, answers your fertility questions.
What advice do you have for couples who might be considering fertility treatment?
The journey should really start well before they see me. Couples can do many things to promote their own fertility: a healthy diet, stopping smoking, stopping alcohol, exercising, and talking to their GP.
If these things have been done and they’ve been trying naturally to conceive with no success after six months, they can always pick up the phone and call one of the IVF nurses at our clinics at QFG Sunshine Coast (54937133) and The Fertility Centre Sunshine Coast (53143500) to get some information. Fact-finding is free of charge, and it’s available any time. It’s worth exploring the various treatment options, as some aren’t nearly as expensive as they might think.
Do you feel subfertility is increasing?
I think it’s the same number of couples today experiencing fertility problems as before – usually around 1 in 6. But what’s happening now is couples are leaving it later to have children, and more couples are coming forward to get treatment. Rather than just accepting their lot, they look for options. And because places like IVF clinics exist, particularly with low-cost options, it’s become much more affordable.
What advice do you have for those struggling with recurrent miscarriage?
Sadly, miscarriage is a natural part of the process of conception, which is more common in older women. Some women can have 4–5 miscarriages in a row and then go on to have a normal pregnancy. If a woman has had two or more miscarriages, I’d suggest coming to see a fertility specialist to find out if there are any causes, such as deformity in the uterus or genetic predisposition to miscarriage. And then see if we can support them through to a successful pregnancy.
Does obstetric care differ for IVF babies?
No, not unless there is a specific concern or disease in the family. For the average woman having an IVF baby, obstetric care is the same for those who conceived naturally, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t go on to have a natural birth with minimal intervention.
You are just about to head over to Tanzania to help with a very worthwhile cause!
Yes, I’m lucky enough to have travelled to Tanzania every year for the past three years through an organisation (Midwife Vision Global) founded by Jan and Chase Becker from the Sunshine Coast. Jan is heavily involved in a training programme for local midwives, Helping Babies Breathe, which is all about looking after babies in the first minute or two of life. Their organisation also provides funding for maintenance and renovations to Amana Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and I go along and help out in the maternity department for two weeks every year. They deliver between 30–100 babies per day at Amana and have seen every possible obstetrics complication that you are ever likely to come across. So, I’m not there to show them how to do anything; I’m just there to help out! It’s an amazing experience.
You offer low-cost IVF; tell us about that…
Yes, we have a clinic that provides low-cost IVF; we’ve been doing that for a couple of years now. This clinic takes those couples where the solution is clearly straightforward IVF, for which the care can be overseen by a specialist and managed by the nurses in the clinic.
As well as the low-cost IVF treatment, we provide comprehensive fertility assessments, consultations and treatments all in one location. This means everything from very basic fertility support right up to the more complex issues and IVF. We also offer advanced testing services such as embryo biopsy, screening for specific diseases and chromosome problems – only a few centres in the country offer this level of testing. But it’s not all about IVF, but rather fertility as a whole. So, we also assist with the basics such as ovulation management, ovulation treatment to create regular cycles and artificial insemination.