Infertility is a subject that many couples do not discuss openly with family members, friends or colleagues. It can be really tough going through a journey when others don’t know what a couple are experiencing.
Consultant Specialist in Fertility Djavid Alleemudder works closely with couples and gives his views on infertility, during an interview with Woman’ Wellness and Fertility Support coach Nina Parnham, and the support they need during this difficult time.
Nina: Djavid, Can you tell the readers about your career pathway as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, and why your interests led you to specialise in fertility work?
Djavid: I have been interested in fertility from a very early stage in my 8 year career because I can help to change the lives of couples and it is immensely rewarding.
I worked for a particular Consultant and mentor in Salisbury where I gained valuable experience and knowledge.
I and 3 specialist fertility nurses run a fantastic fertility unit at Ipswich Hospital offering personable care to the community.
Nina: What type of qualities do you possess that you think are essential when dealing with couples and their fertility journey?
Djavid: Often just being a good listener and simply giving time to hear a couple’s difficult journey is all that is needed. Remaining optimistic and positive throughout is crucial with the couple’s journey.
Nina: What do you think are the reasons for why infertility rates have increased over the past decade?
Djavid: There has been a gradual decline in reproductive health over the past few decades. This is mostly due to factors such as a delay in starting a family, a rise in obesity, stressful lifestyles and poor nutritional diets.
Nina: What do you think are the most significant impacts that couples face when on a fertility journey?
Djavid: Infertility will affect couples physically, socially and psychologically. The expectation for many is that there is a guarantee for fertility treatments to work and there is immense disappointment when the treatment fails. It is important to persevere and to explore all avenues and to realise that emotional and psychological support complements any fertility journey.
Nina: There is much focus on physical causes of infertility and that can sometimes mean that its psychological impact may be overlooked by couples. What effect do you think infertility has on the mental health of those you see?
Djavid: Infertility will affect mental health and vice versa. Stress and mental health can significantly affect the fertility potential of couples. There are many ways to address stress and mental health issues ranging from regular cardiovascular exercise to emotional support to alternative medicine.
Nina: Medication side effects, money worries, and uncertain outcomes all contribute to infertility-related stress. Some couples know they are time bound to receive treatment maybe for example due to their age or egg quality. How would you advise a couple who are due for treatment, but may not be emotionally ready.
Djavid: There is naturally a decline in fertility potential with age for both men and women. This is more evident after the age of 36 for females. Spontaneous pregnancies are occurring on a regular basis for those in their late 30’s and 40’s. Regardless of the age of couples, there is always a way to start a family. It is so important for couples to address any pre-existing anxieties prior to embarking upon treatment as this may ultimately impact upon the success rate.
Nina: Many couples read about diet, weight and other lifestyle factors having an influence on their fertility. How relevant do you think these factors are for couples?
Djavid: Whilst the evidence for these may not be as strong scientifically, it is in my opinion that these factors are just as important as physical factors. Both aspects need to be addressed together.
Nina: There is some research that taking care of Mental Health and Emotional well-being during a couples fertility journey can improve their chances in both cases of primary and secondary infertility. Do you think couples get enough support, and what would you like to be more available?
Djavid: The majority of couples deal with their fertility journey in isolation, without involving their friends and family. There is also a negative stigma associated with seeking help emotionally and for mental health. I know from previous experiences with couples that seeking help early can improve their chances of conceiving.
If you feel you require more emotional and/or holistic support during your fertility journey then please get in touch. SWWC offers support using freedom fertility formula coaching and holistic therapies such as Aromatherapy, Fertility Reflexology and Indian Head masaage.