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Army July 7, 2011
TO MANY, conceiving a
baby seems like the most
natural thing in the world
but for thousands of couples
this seemingly simple process can
be the toughest challenge of their
I was a 23-year-old Army corpo-
ral when I had my first baby. Three
months later I fell pregnant with my
second so, for my husband and me,
conceiving, pregnancy and childbirth
was relatively stress-free.
For us it was easy but as I get older
I hear more and more stories about
friends and acquaintances struggling
to start families.
It takes about a year of trying to
conceive before couples are consid-
ered to be having trouble.
Most readers could be forgiven
for assuming infertility is a problem
women should deal with but, accord-
ing to the Victorian Department of
Health, around 40 per cent of fertility
problems originate in the male partner,
Bumpy road to pregnancy
40 per cent of problems are female and
the remaining 20 per cent are caused
by unknown factors.
The most common male fertility
problems include poor quality sperm
and blockages in the tubes of the
Tests for men
Investigating suspected infertility
requires a number of tests, including:
Semen analysis: to check for abnor-
malities and antibodies.
Blood tests: to assess hormone
Testicular biopsy: to check the net-
work of tubes for blockages.
Ultrasound test: to view the repro-
Treatment for men
No treatments are available to
improve a man's sperm quality.
However, techniques can increase
the odds of conception using existing
sperm. Treatment can include:
Hormone therapy: if low sperm
count is due to insufficient levels of
the hormone gonadotrophin.
Artificial insemination: the semen
is collected and concentrated, then
delivered with instruments directly
into the partner's uterus.
In vitro fertilisation: conception
occurs in the laboratory and the
fertilised egg is implanted in the pre-
Tests for women
Female fertility problems include
failure to ovulate and abnormalities of
the fallopian tubes or uterus. Tests for
Blood tests: to check for the pres-
ence of ovulation hormones.
Laparoscopy: a keyhole surgical
procedure in which an instrument is
inserted though a small incision in
the abdomen so reproductive organs
can be examined.
Ultrasound tests: to check for the
presence of fibroids.
Treatment for women
Treatment options for female infer-
tility depend on the cause, but may
Hormone therapy: to prompt ovu-
Surgery: to unblock fallopian
tubes, treat endometriosis or remove
In vitro fertilisation: conception
occurs in the laboratory and the fer-
tilised egg is later implanted in the
For more information visit the health centre
on your base or check out these websites:
www.kidspot.com.au, or www.bubhub.com.au
Bundle of joy: Having a baby can come easy for some, but not so for
What can you do to
increase the chances
of you or your partner
Welch takes a look at
Under Health Directive 203, Defence
will support members with Assisted
Reproductive Services (ARS) as
listed on the Medicare Schedule.
Defence will pay for standard
medical services required for the
investigation of infertility, including
laparoscopy, radiological investi-
gations and semen analysis.
There is no limit to the number of
IVF cycles required.
Defence will cover the cost of
freezing a member's semen only
if he is deployed and his partner is
undergoing ARS that requires his
For specific ARS, Defence will
cover costs such as anaesthetic
and gynaecologist fees. Defence
will not fund items not covered by
*Health Directive 203 can be accessed on the DRN
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