Wellness: Wanting a Child? Never Give Up

This is the advice given by Dr Noorashikin Binti Maan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Reproductive Medical and Infertility Specialist at KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital, to women who desperately want a child.

Her Women Specialist Clinic which promises to “fulfil women’s dreams” as per her name card, not only takes care of women’s obstetric and gynaecological issues, but in the case of infertility, she also runs an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) service that helps a woman to conceive and carry the baby to full term.

A graduate of UKM and hailing from Johor, Dr Noorashikin spent 10 years in Kuala Lumpur and first began fertility training in Hospital Senayan followed by a stint in GH Alor Setar. 2011 saw her doing a 9-month intensive fertility training in Queen Mary Hospital in HongKong after which she was posted to Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun in Ipoh where she completed her fertility training.

“In vitro fertilisation is a complex process,” Dr Noorashikin explains. “The single most determining factor is a woman’s age. Under 35 is ideal if the couple has been trying to conceive for two to three years with no success. Past age 35 means that fertility is reduced and more medication is required,” she elaborated.

“The man’s age is equally important too. The older a man gets, the lower his sperm quality. Sperm count is also lower. Today’s diet and environmental pollution also contribute to the lowering of sperm count.”

Women who wish to conceive or considering IVF must take good care of their health. Aside from the usual admonitions on eating healthy food, women should go for annual checkups, especially if they have irregular monthly periods which may be a sign of endometriosis which will make conception difficult.

Men are advised not to smoke, not eat too much meat which often contains synthetic feminizing hormones, not to wear tight trousers and not to take too many sauna baths as heat in the genital area reduces sperm quality.

Once the decision for IVF is made, unfertilized eggs are taken from the woman’s ovaries, fertilized with the husband’s sperm and between 8-10 embryos are created. One or two of these embryos are then transferred back into the woman’s womb and the rest of the embryos are cryogenically frozen, to await future implantations should the first ones fail or if the couple decides to have more children.

“Alas the success rate for IVF is around 30% and the same rate applies for further implantations of embryos. With the high cost averaging between RM16,000-20,000, it is little wonder that IVF services are not in high demand in Ipoh,” lamented Dr Noorashikin. “Thank God I can make my contribution to women by providing obstetric and gynaecological services to my patients,” she added.

On delivery procedures, Dr Noorashikin shared that caesarean sections occur about 30% of the time. These are both elective as in patients wishing to give birth on specific dates or simply a matter of choice or they happen in emergencies when there is no choice.

As for the subject of dulling the pain during deliveries, she says that this can happen either with sedation or an epidural where sensations are blocked from the waist down and the patient is totally cognisant of the whole process. Either method is totally safe and many a healthy baby is delivered via one of these two ways.

And when do you have to induce? Dr Noorshikin has this advice to give:

  1. When the mother’s water bag bursts, go straight to the hospital within 24 hours and if no contractions are happening, chances are we’ll set up the induction process.
  2. If the mother has high blood pressure.
  3. If the mother has gestational diabetes.

And a final word of advice from the good doctor to enjoy your pregnancy: eat well and sleep well. And never give up!

Dr Noorashikin
Women Specialist Clinic
Suite 2-06, 2nd floor KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital 26,
Jalan Raja Dihilir 30350 Ipoh, Perak
Tel: 05-2408 777 Ext 8524/8526
Direct: 017 57 36167
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