Published For Regency Specialist Hospital
From delivering babies, Dr Thokha began to take a keen interest in In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Dr Thokha, Regency Specialist Hospital’s In-house Obstetrician & Gynaecologist is quite a well-known name among childless couples intending to start a family. He has a Master’s Degree in Obstetric Gynaecology and began his career in Terengganu with special interest in Natural Birth. After several years, he decided to leave his practice in the government hospital and venture into private practice driven by passion to focus on couples who wants to have babies.
From delivering babies, Dr Thokha began to take a keen interest in In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). According to him, assisting safe delivery of babies is very satisfying. However, helping childless couples achieve pregnancy is even more satisfying. He quit his government position and joined his friend’s private practice where for 12 years he introduced IVF and other infertility treatments.
“I started doing IVF and infertility treatment to make couples happy because when you counsel an unhappy childless couple who has been trying to conceive after 10-15 years to the point of almost giving up, IVF is like a hope which takes lesser than a month of treatment and by God’s grace, the majority of them will get pregnant. That special moment when you break the news that they are pregnant and the sheer joy you see on their faces makes you want to do it again and again. It is a life-changing event,” said Dr Thokha.
According to him, the world’s infertility statistic says that about 15% of couples cannot get pregnant and in Johor alone there are at least 150,000 couples at any one time who are infertile. He suggest couples to not delay and seek treatment at soon as possible as time and age are the key determining factors that needs to be considered.
There are multiple ways to assist couples into pregnancy. Broken down into 3 distinct categories; natural (normal sex), semi-natural (intrauterine insemination) or fully artificial (IVF). The first two categories can be treated in many ways from using tablets, to giving hormone injection to induce egg growth followed by timely natural intercourse or intrauterine insemination (IUI) of sperm. These first 2 methods however, give a lower chance of success (5% for natural sex, 10% for IUI) as compared to IVF (50% to 60%).
Whereas, IVF bypasses the natural passage and the ovum is retrieved, and fertilisation is made to happen in the lab and the resultant embryos are later transferred into the womb to develop naturally. In natural sex or IUI, fertilisation still needs to occur in the fallopian tube and we have no way to control it and most often they never get into the tube. That is why the pregnancy success rate is low. In IVF, the remaining good quality embryos will be frozen for future use at a much cheaper cost for subsequent attempts to get pregnant. The embryos can be frozen indefinitely and can still be used to achieve pregnancy even when the woman is at menopausal stage.
Many are unaware that in the long run, IVF is the cheapest way to build a family. Even though the first attempt may appear expensive, the subsequent attempts become cheaper and affordable. Looking at the average Malaysian family size with 2-3 children, couples need to spend longer time and invest more repeatedly if they are trying IUI or natural sex because the pregnancy success rate is lower. Furthermore, these repeated unsuccessful attempts with IUI or natural sex create so much of emotional stress. Therefore, IVF is a much preferred method to conceive a baby.
Dr Thokha hopes that one day IVF can be made more affordable to everyone so that this novel human technology which has been there for more than 30 years, can reach the target group of our population. He has helped many couples with their first baby and recently helped a Johor couple who was trying for 13 years to get pregnant. By God’s grace, she got pregnant within 24 days of IVF treatment.
“It’s life changing. You’ll look at life differently and get a sense of purpose of doing things and you feel good,” he adds.