If you are among the many struggling to conceive, then you must understand how the whole experience can be frustrating to both you and your partner.
Going for a check can help you identify the contributing factors to your infertility. In Singapore, many tests are available for couples with infertility problems.
Read on to find out which fertility tests are available in Singapore and learn all the essential details about them.
1. Preimplantation Genetic Screening
If you opt for IVF, the whole process can be expensive and exhausting. It could also result in a baby with genetic abnormalities, and this is where PGS comes in.
So what is a PGS test?
This is a test done on women undergoing IVF to detect chromosomal abnormalities in the embryos before they are implanted in the uterus.
It helps to prevent genetic defects associated with chromosome numbers, such as down’s syndrome.
Are there any requirements for the PGS test?
Yes, the ministry of health of Singapore has set a criterion to be satisfied before you can qualify for the process:
- You need to be at least 35yrs and above
- You need to have had at least two failed pregnancies or implants
PGS is highly recommended if you have a family history of sex-linked genetic disorders. Before 2016, PGS testing was not provided in Singapore.
You could only access pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which was accessible in government hospitals like SGH, NUH, and KKH.
Where is PGS Done and How Much Does it Cost?
Currently, PGS testing is done at the National University Hospital lab as it is still a pilot program set to be completed this year, 2020. PGS falls under the subsidy scheme by the government; hence it’s subsidised as part of the assisted conception procedures together with intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).
For a Singapore citizen couple undergoing the new procedure, up to $7,700 is subsidised by the government, which is 75% of the total cost.
2. What are The Other Fertility Tests Available?
Fertility tests are usually done on both you and your partner as infertility cuts across both sexes.
To better understand your cause of infertility, the gynaecologist will order the following tests:
For the woman
A comprehensive history and physical examination
The gynaecologist will ask questions about your medical history to see if you have any medical conditions that could contribute to infertility.
The doctor will also want to know the frequency of sexual intercourse during the period you’ve been trying to conceive. Your body will also be examined for any obvious clues to the cause of infertility.
Blood tests & vaginal cultures
This includes a hormonal profile of the body. The amount of estrogen, progesterone, LH, FSH as well as thyroid hormone levels will be determined to see if they are optimal.
The vaginal swabs may also be cultured to check for infections like chlamydia or trichomonas.
An ultrasound may be done to check the womb for abnormalities such as the presence of fibroids, endometriosis, and ovarian cysts.
It can also be used to check your ovarian reserve as part of monitoring ovulation.
Used to see if there are any structural abnormalities and obstruction in the uterus. It helps to check the contour of the womb and the patency of the tubes.
It entails instilling a radiopaque dye into the uterus and checking through using real-time x-rays.
Hysteroscopy & Laparoscopy
Hysteroscopy entails the introduction of a camera into the uterus to directly examine the uterus for any abnormalities. In the process, polyps and fibroids can also be removed
Laparoscopy, on the other hand, entails the introduction of a camera into the pelvic cavity to view and diagnose any causes of infertility.
It can also be used to remove endometriosis or scar tissues that cause infertility.
Other tests, such as measuring the basal body temperature, may also be offered to you, although this is not frequently done in Singapore.
Cervical mucus cytology can also be done to check your cervical mucus for any antibodies against your partner’s sperm cells.
For the man
Your partner be instructed on how to collect the sperms in a sterile container, which will be sent to the lab for analysis. He can do this at home or in the hospital after 3-5 days of abstinence.
Seminal analysis can provide insight on sperm count, sperm motility, and structure. The results will then be compared with the WHO global reference values to see if they are within the optimal range.
If the sperm count is abnormal, your partner will be offered a repeat test in the same lab at least three months after the initial analysis. He will also undergo a thorough history and physical examination.
A hormonal profile will be used to identify any hormonal imbalances or endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. It will also help to check if the other hormones that affect fertility like estrogen, testosterone, LH, and FSH levels have any disorders.
So how much do the other fertility tests cost?
The cost of fertility testing in Singapore varies between government and private hospitals.
However, the cost for those done in the government hospitals is subsidised.
Additionally, a couple may withdraw $6000, $5000, and $4000 for first, second, and third treatment cycles, respectively, from their Medisave savings for assisted conception procedures.
3. What Fertility Tests are Available in the SG Polyclinics?
Government polyclinics in Singapore, together with private clinics, provide primary healthcare. The polyclinics offer a higher rate of subsidised outpatient medical cover, screening, and pharmacy services.
At the polyclinics, you will first receive a comprehensive physical examination and a thorough history of your general health, including your lifestyle, and medications will be taken.
Tests like an ultrasound for you and seminal analysis for your partner to identify possible fertility treatment options will also be done.
The polyclinics also offer treatment interventions such as advice on lifestyle changes, medications, and minor surgeries.
For more complex cases, you will be referred to an endocrinologist or a fertility doctor where you’ll receive more specialised treatment.
Things to Know About Fertility Tests in Singapore
If you live in Singapore and are struggling with infertility, you no longer have to suffer in silence. Infertility can be treated or detected early enough to allow for intervention.
There is a long list of tests available to you and your partner in both government and private hospitals.
And the best part, you won’t have to worry about the budget if you opt to go to a government hospital. The journey to a successful conception starts with fertility check up.
Don’t hesitate to visit a medical facility for a fertility test that will help you and your doctor choose the best treatment that will start you out on a path to having the family of your dreams.