The Harley Street Fertility Clinic A – Z aims to untangle that jargon and terminology that comes as part and parcel of fertility treatment, and today is the turn of letter D.
Both the NHS and private fertility clinics are seeing a year on year increase in the demand for appointments, both for assessment and fertility treatment. As women choose to have children later and same sex couples are looking to become parents, we believe that this demand will continue to rise.
One thing we know from many decades of working in the healthcare and fertility world, is that people who want to be parents, have real determination to make their dream a reality.
When you are trying for a baby it is really important to ensure that you are eating a healthy diet. You need to ensure you are eating balanced meals and snacks that include protein, carbohydrate, fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fats so that your body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs. You should ideally cut down on caffeine, eat less fast and processed foods, give up alcohol and smoking and drink plenty of water. By doing this, it will not only give you the best chance of conceiving, but when you get pregnant it will give your baby the very best start in life.
Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
A D&C is a medical procedure where a surgeon dilates a woman’s cervix under an anaesthetic in order to remove tissue from the uterus. This could be retained products of conception or part of the uterine lining that contains abnormal cells. The procedure can also be used to investigate, and treat, problems such as heavy or abnormal bleeding, abnormal growths (polyps), and in some cases, cancer. This is a day case operation that takes up to half an hour, and while patients can go home the same day, they may experience mild cramping and light spotting in the days afterwards.
Diminished Ovarian Reserves
Diminished ovarian reserves refers to the decrease in the number of eggs a woman produces and their quality. Put simply, the lower a woman’s ovarian reserve, the less fertile she is and the harder it might be for her to conceive. While age is the most common cause of diminished ovarian reserves, it can affect younger women, and it is worth noting that cancer, chemotherapy and radiotherapy can all affect ovarian reserves.
If you have a disability, the NHS and private healthcare providers are legally bound to remove barriers you may face when trying to access fertility treatment if it’s reasonable to do so – for example, providing information in Braille or large print and this is called the ‘duty to make reasonable adjustments’. If you’re refused fertility treatment because you’re disabled, this could be direct disability discrimination and should be reported.
Fertility treatments like IVF and IUI are available and healthcare providers should not discriminate against patients because of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or sexual orientation. If this does happen to you, you are in your rights to make a formal complaint.
A donor is a man or woman who consents to their embryos, eggs or sperm to be used for the fertility treatment of others. If you are interested in being a donor (egg, embryo or sperm), please get in touch with us and we would be very happy to talk it over with you.
Donor eggs are a women’s eggs that are used to help another woman get pregnant. The eggs can be collected and immediately fertilised and transferred into the woman’s womb. Eggs can also be collected and frozen for later use. Eggs are collected after controlled ovarian stimulation and they are inseminated with sperm so that embryos are formed and then transferred into the womb of the patient looking to conceive.
Donor insemination is the medical term that is used for getting donor sperm into the vagina, cervix, or uterus of a patient and typically involves an IUI (intra-uterine insemination) procedure. This option is used by women who are in a same-sex relationship, want to have a child by themselves, or whose partner cannot produce sperm and allows them to try for a baby when it might not otherwise be possible.
Donor sperm comes from a man who offers his sperm to help a woman get pregnant.
Don’t Give up Hope
If you are dealing with fertility issues it is really important not to give up hope of getting pregnant or having a child of your own one day. Medical advances are huge, treatments varied and today there are many ways you can become a parent. Our team is here to help give you the best chance of having the baby you so dearly want, and it is important to call on us, family, friends and even employees so that you are fully supported at this time.
Dysmenorrhea is the pain associated with menstrual bleeding. Painful periods can impact your quality of life, and can be physically and mentally hard to manage if the symptoms are severe. Secondary dysmenorrhoea is pain which is caused by a condition such as endometriosis or fibroids, both of which can impact fertility. If you have concerns about your periods and any pain, or overly heavy bleeding, speak to your gynaecologist or GPso the situation can be addressed.
Dysfunctional uterine bleeding
Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is irregular vaginal bleeding and this can be caused by hormone imbalances, fibroids or polyps and if you have concerns about this, please speak to a gynaecologist.
The ductus deferens is a tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the penis and allows for ejaculation. If these tubes are scarred or damaged as a result of infection, surgery, trauma it can leave a man infertile.
You might not know this, but while Vitamin D is vital for fertility and pregnancy, many of us in the UK are deficient in this because our bodies can only create it naturally from sunlight. Vitamin D affects your sex hormones and if you don’t have enough of it, your sex drive can take a dive and deficiencies have been linked to ovulation issues and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), things that can impact your fertility. Vitamin D deficiency has also been shown to decrease egg and sperm quality, so it is important to ensure your body contains a good level. While you can get Vitamin D from foods like eggs, fortified cereals, oily fish and red meat, the best way to ensure you get enough is by taking a supplement, something your doctor can help you with.
If you have any questions about these points or other fertility issues, get in touch and we are very happy to help.
The Harley Street Fertility Team