INFERTILITY SERVICE

Dr. Freeman checks a cervital mucus sample for compatibility.

When a couple wants to achieve pregnancy, four things must be working properly:

  1. The woman must be ovulating (producing eggs)
  2. The man's sperm count must be adequate
  3. The woman's fallopian tubes must be open
  4. The couple must be compatible; no allergic reaction against sperm

OVULATION each month, on about the 14th day of a menstrual cycle, the woman's ovaries should release an egg. The egg is drawn up into her fallopian tubes where it can be fertilized. A simple blood test, performed late in the cycle, can determine if this is taking place.

Ovulation. A fertilized egg moves down the fallopian tube and implants into the uterine lining.

SPERM COUNT The man's sperm level can be counted by a simple laboratory test. Medications (clomid, tamoxifen) are available to increase the sperm count and motility. We have a concentrating machine at the clinic that can increase the count one hundredfold.

FALLOPIAN TUBES must be open. A simple x-ray (hysterosalpingogram) can be done to make sure the tubes have not been blocked up by prior infection or scar tissue. Dye is injected through the cervix and an x-ray is then done to see if it passes freely through the fallopian tubes.

Xray - if dye does not pass, tube is blocked.

Clinic supervisor Jeanne Garcia unpacks a vial of donor sperm. These are sent out from the U.S. Mainland in a liquid nitrogen canister.

 

COMPATIBILITY a woman can be allergic to one man's sperm, just as she can be allergic to penicillin, pollens or any form of allergy. A simple (post-coital) test can be done to check for the problem. The couple shall have intercourse at mid-cycle and a sample of sperm from inside the cervix is collected two hours later. If her body has reacted against the sperm (and killed them off) then artificial insemination is indicated. The sperm are specially prepared and then injected directly up into the fallopian tubes, where there is rarely any allergy.