June marks World Infertility Awareness Month, a pivotal time to shed light on the myriad challenges faced by individuals and couples struggling with infertility. In a recent interview on Chai FM, Dr. Lawrence Gobetz, Medical Director at Vitalab Fertility Clinic in Sandton, delved into the complexities of infertility, offering valuable insights and practical advice.

Understanding Infertility Dr. Gobetz emphasizes the growing importance of infertility awareness, particularly in the context of modern lifestyle choices. As societal norms shift, with many individuals prioritizing career and financial stability before starting a family, the natural fertility window often narrows. He highlights the crucial difference between male and female reproductive biology, noting that men continuously produce sperm throughout their lives, while women are born with a finite number of eggs that diminish in quantity and quality over time.

Egg Freezing: A Viable Option One of the primary strategies discussed by Dr. Gobetz is egg freezing, a process that allows women to preserve their fertility by storing their eggs at a younger age. He advises women to consider this option ideally between the ages of 23 and 32. Freezing eggs at a younger age ensures better quality and quantity, offering a higher likelihood of successful conception in the future.

The process involves stimulating the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, which are then retrieved and rapidly frozen through a technique called vitrification. This method boasts a high survival rate, ensuring that the eggs retain their potential when thawed years later. Dr. Gobetz reassures that the procedure is safe, minimally invasive, and free from the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome at Vitalab.

Infertility and Cancer: For individuals facing chronic illnesses such as cancer, fertility preservation becomes even more critical. Dr. Gobetz discusses the Fertility Preservation and Oncology Fertility Consortium, an international program aimed at providing fertility preservation options for cancer patients. Vitalab offers comprehensive services, including egg and sperm freezing, ovarian tissue preservation, and even pediatric testicular tissue preservation, ensuring that patients have the opportunity to preserve their fertility before undergoing treatments that might compromise it.

Global Infertility Challenges Addressing the broader challenges of infertility, Dr. Gobetz points out the declining family sizes in first-world countries and the need for increased awareness about the limited fertility window for women. He advocates for early intervention and consultation with fertility specialists, rather than waiting until natural conception becomes difficult. This proactive approach can significantly enhance the chances of successful pregnancy through various fertility treatments.

The Role of Awareness and Education World Infertility Awareness Month serves as a reminder of the importance of educating the public about infertility and available options. Dr. Gobetz encourages women to understand their fertility potential through regular check-ups and to seek timely advice from fertility specialists. He also underscores the need for societal support and destigmatization of infertility, enabling individuals and couples to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.

Conclusion Dr. Lawrence Gobetz’s insights on Chai FM highlight the critical need for increased infertility awareness and proactive fertility preservation strategies. By understanding the biological constraints and available medical interventions, individuals can take control of their reproductive futures. World Infertility Awareness Month is a timely opportunity to spread knowledge, support those facing infertility, and ensure that everyone has the chance to build the family they desire.