Dr. Virgilio Novero, Head of Center for Advanced Reproductive Medicine & Infertility (CARMI), St. Luke’s Medical Center – Global City discusses modern and effective ways to address infertility at Merck’s Fertility Awareness 2016 media forum, “Give Life to Dreams”
For some Filipino couples, a dream of having and raising a baby together are dashed by fertility issues. Which, unknown to many, is actually a disease recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The organization describes infertility as “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.”
Merck Philippines – the local arm of the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company, collaborated 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. The project coincides with the fifth year of St. Luke’s flagship Center for Advanced Reproductive Medicine and Infertility (CARMI).
According to Dr. Novero, one out of ten Filipinos are suffering from infertility based on the Synovate survey they have conducted last 2011.
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 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. Once the “cultures” have formed successfully, they will be transferred to the patient’s uterus. This procedure is recommended for patients suffering from blocked fallopian tubes, severe sperm deficits, unexplained infertility, mild endometriosis, and ovulation disorders, among others.
IVF is often seen as risky, quite expensive (around 280k and above), and worse, ineffective. Dr. Novero explained that ART has made a significant improvement in efficiency over the years.
“In the past, doctors can only recommend IVF to a select few,” said Dr. Novero. “But in recent years, technological advances, including new knowledge in hormonal treatment. Improvement in video technology and other medical equipment, has boosted IVF’s efficiency.”
“Our success rates are now at 35 to 50 percent for pregnancy, and 20 to 25 percent of live births.
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,” Dr. Novero said proudly.
“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.”
CARMI is the most advanced and competently staffed fertility center. That can potentially help all infertile couples in the local setting without the need to travel abroad.