According to the World Health Organization, Infertility is “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.” Infertility is a disease, just like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, etc. And there is a cure. With proper consultation with the experts -- there is something to be done.
According to a 2013 survey, infertility in the Philippines is at 10%. The older a woman gets, the higher the chances of infertility. In the Philippines set up, infertility is almost always blamed on the women, and of course that is not true. Different factors may contribute to infertility, for both husband and wife.
Merck Philippines, the local arm of the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company, joined forces with St. Luke’s Medical Center – Global City for a public information project that promotes awareness on infertility, as well as the different medical solutions that can give life to the dreams of Filipino couples. This project coincides with the fifth year of St. Luke’s flagship Center for Advanced Reproductive Medicine and Infertility (CARMI).
“As of a Synovate survey we conducted in 2011, one out of ten Filipinos are suffering from infertility,” said CARMI head Dr. Virgilio M. Novero, Jr. “This condition is related to our socio-cultural practices, including the marrying age, educational status, and professional goals.”
Aside from socio-cultural factors mentioned by Dr. Novero, a couple’s fertility can also be affected by issues in the female and male reproductive systems, as well as various medical conditions that can affect the quality of the egg and sperm cells.
“Instead of just giving up their dreams of having a child, there are modern and effective ways to address infertility,” explained Dr. Novero. “A couple can come in for a series of basic and ancillary tests to determine the root cause of their fertility issues, and we can help develop a treatment plan that will deliver their desired result: pregnancy.”
The science of ART
One of the medical solutions that childless Filipino couples can explore is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), which is an umbrella term that refers to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and its variants. This special fertility treatment procedure stimulates multiple ovarian follicles and facilitates egg cell retrieval. During the course of treatment, embryos will be formed outside of the female patient’s body—and once the “cultures” have formed successfully, they will be transferred to the patient’s uterus.
ART is recommended for patients suffering from blocked fallopian tubes, severe sperm deficits, unexplained infertility, mild endometriosis, and ovulation disorders, among others.
Though not unheard of for Filipinos, IVF is often seen as risky, needlessly expensive, exclusive to those who can get the procedure done abroad, and worse, ineffective. Dr. Novero explained that ART has made significant improvement in efficiency over the years.
“In the past, doctors can only recommend IVF to a select few,” said D, r. Novero. “But in the recent years, technological advances, including new knowledge in hormonal treatment, improvement in video technology and other medical equipment, has boosted IVF’s efficiency.”
Dr. Novero mentioned that the success rate of the procedure has also recently seen a significant rise—today, over six million children are born all over the world after their parents have undergone an IVF procedure.
“Our success rates are now at 35 to 50 percent for pregnancy, and 20 to 25 percent for live births,” Dr. Novero said proudly. “The success rates depend on the patient’s profile, the competence of the medical staff, the quality and standards of the IVF lab, and of course the use of cutting-edge technology. At CARMI, our patients can be assured that we have a team of highly trained and experienced medical staff, a state-of-the-art IVF lab, and modern technology that can increase the success rate of pregnancy and live birth.”
“With the help of Filipino doctors and specialty groups, Merck has been able to propagate more information on infertility,” said Dess Cartaño, Senior Product Manager for Fertility, Merck Philippines. “At this point, we want to provide fertility-challenged couples with actual, effective, and efficient solutions that will give life to their dreams of a family once more.”
To know more about infertility and IVF in the Philippines, Merck Philippines will be holding a seminar on the science and possibilities of IVF on September 24 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ortigas.
Merck’s research and vision have led to the path of innovation in the field of fertility, changing the lives of many couples and contributing to the birth of over 2 million babies, in more than 100 countries worldwide. The 2 Million Babies Project was created to share the most precious moments of this amazing story.
These extraordinary stories are made up of many small, but great successes by giving life to dreams. These stories are made up of babies and the couple’s happiness, which is the most significant milestone in their lives.