For those of you not familiar with DxD Sessions, it's where renowned doctors in Singapore answer reader questions for free, often while sharing fascinating insights into a medical condition or treatment (we promise that it's nothing like those boring FAQs you find on clinic pages!)
Dr Paul Tseng recently hosted a Session where he answered reader questions on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and IVF. He's a well-loved Obgyn and fertility specialist in Singapore who's delivered over 10,000 babies in the course of his career.
Here are some of the gems he shared with readers:
Managing stress levels is a must if you're trying for a baby!
To a stressed reader who'd been trying to get pregnant for 2 years, he replied that it was important to keep stress levels in check to ensure normal ovulation.
Finding good fertility doctors? Don't decide solely based on what's written on the clinic website
He told a reader to do her own research on what other patients say when finding a good fertility doctor, as it's much less biased than relying on information provided by the clinic or doctor's own website.
Unlike many Western-trained doctors, he believes that TCM and acupuncture can help boost fertility
Depending on what herbs are used, he explained to a reader that TCM may help improve fertility by:
- Improving the ovulation process
- Improving the quality of the egg (oocyte)
- Encouraging the proper implantation of the embryo
Different fertility specialists in Singapore have their own preferred protocols with varying success rates
He also advised attending Counselling sessions held by the IVF Centres to understand how they conduct their fertility programs.
Want a healthy pregnancy? Get pregnant before 35
When offering tips to a 29 year old reader on how to have a healthy pregnancy, he explained that age has a direct correlation to the quality of the eggs in a woman.
The older the woman, particularly above 35 years, the higher the chance of the eggs losing their quality.
Get checked up if you have more than 1 miscarriage!
In answer to a 34 year old reader who had 2 heart-breaking miscarriages in 2 years, he suggested having a blood test to look for antibodies that could affect the successful development of the pregnancy.
IVF in Singapore costs about $10,000 - $15,000 per cycle
Many readers were concerned about the costs of IVF. He explained that costs differed between IVF centres, but estimated a ballpark figure to be $10 - 15k per IVF cycle in Singapore.
The variance was down to professional fee differences, laboratory fees, and amount of drugs used.
For those who wanted the most up-to-date price information, he suggested writing in directly to request a quote from IVF centres.
(You can also read this article to find out more about the costs of IVF in Singapore).
The most painful part of IVF is the egg retrievalAccording to Dr Paul, many Singaporeans mistakenly believe that IVF is very painful.
The success of IVF is directly dependent on the health of BOTH the Woman and husband
For a reader undergoing IVF who was keen to improve her success, Dr Paul gave the following tips:
- It's important for both woman and husband to be healthy.
- Eat well by choosing nutrient rich foods. This helps to ensure proper cell function at every level.
- Minimise toxic chemicals, quit smoking and stop consuming contaminated foods and drinks. This helps to reduce cell damage.
He advocates raising the maximum age for IVF in Singapore to 50, instead of 45
In Singapore, the current maximum allowable age to undergo IVF is 45 years.
As the general health of Singaporean women has improved this last decade, he's seen a higher number of women above the age of 45 years who still produce good quality eggs.
Hence, he expressed a sentiment that the maximum age for IVF should be increased to 50 years.
An IVF baby and naturally conceived baby are equally healthy
Finally, he hates quoting IVF success rates
To a reader whose friend told her that IVF had a high failure rate, and another who asked about the success rates in Singapore for IVF, Dr Paul replied that he was loathe to quote results - because success rates ultimately depended on the medical reasons for undergoing IVF.
He further elaborated that a combination of adverse factors often affected success rates. The more problems one had, the higher the failure rate.
- Poor quality eggs from age
- Damage from previous surgery
- Damage from unknown toxic and infective causes, combined with uterine abnormalities like Adenomyosis, Endometriosis or large uterine fibroids
Hence, he advised readers to identify and rectify these problems as much as possible before embarking on IVF.
Ever wanted to ask a health question to a specific renowned specialist in Singapore? DxD Sessions are when these expert doctors answer all your questions, for free!
- Procter SB et al. Nutrition and lifestyle for a healthy pregnancy outcome. J Acad Nutr Diet. (2014)
- Lyerly AD et al. Of Pain and Childbirth. Narrat Inq Bioeth. (2017)