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About Dr Julianah Abu

One-stop diagnosis and treatment centre of excellence for your urological, fertility or gynaecological problems

Dr Julianah Abu

Director & Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
MBBS (S’pore), MMED (O&G), MRACOG (Aust),
MRCOG (London), MCE (IVF) (S’pore), FAM (S’pore)

Julianah is a prominent Malay Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, and IVF doctor in Singapore. She is well known for her efforts to educate the public regarding women’s health, in particular their reproductive health, via her numerous public forums, television appearances and radio programmes. She has also been featured frequently in the daily newspapers and magazines.

Dr Julianah Abu is a Singapore IVF doctor who is not only known for her personable and warm personality. She is the recipient of many scholastic awards through the years. She has scholarships from the Ministry of Education and the Public Service Commission; and awards such as the Prime Minister Book Prize and Mendaki Student Award. She completed her medical studies at the National University of Singapore in July 1990 and went on to train for a post-graduate specialist degree in Obstetrics & Gynaecology from Australia (MRACOG) and Singapore (M.Med O&G) in 1996. As proof to herself that she is of international standing, she obtained her 4th degree from London (MRCOG) in 1997.

Julianah was a research associate at the Cryobiology Research Institute at the Methodist Hospital of Indiana, USA in (1994 - 1995) where her subspecialty training in clinical embryology and assisted reproduction was nurtured. She was also conferred another scholarship from the Singapore General Hospital to pursue her 5th degree, the Masters in Clinical Embryology from the National University of Singapore in 2000. She is one of a rare few specialists who has this degree which focuses on the study of embryology and the laboratory in IVF.

She is one of a small number of specialist gynaecologist in Singapore who is accredited by the Ministry of Health (Singapore) to perform assisted reproductive procedures such as IVF for infertile couples. She was a consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at the Centre of Assisted Reproduction (CARE) in Singapore General Hospital before she left for private practice in 2004. While in SGH, she developed her interest in Male Fertility as well and went on to set up a joint Gynaecology-Urology Male Fertility Service which enabled the male partner to benefit from an earlier assessment and a more comprehensive joint gynae-urology treatment of their male fertility problem at the same time that their female partner is being assessed. Julianah was also in charge of the Sperm Bank at the Singapore General Hospital and was instrumental in encouraging generous donors to revive the declining supplies.

She encouraged autologous sperm banking by promoting this service to her oncologist colleagues to refer their male patients to store their sperm prior to chemotherapy.

In 2007, Dr Julianah was invited to be the leading IVF consultant at the premier Jerudong Medical Centre in Brunei where she had the privilege of working with the Brunei Hospital consultants and doctors to revive the IVF services. The IVF services have since grown due to the successful collaboration.

Julianah has additional interest in the management of the menopause and their long-term sequelae such as urinary stress incontinence,vaginal laxity and uterine prolapse.

Fertility Special

Singapore is facing a declining birthrate partly because time is a highly prized commodity, which is spent on work but not sex. Although paucity of sex due to lack of time and stress is a personal issue, it becomes medicalised when it results in subfertility. It is not uncommon for couples to tell me they have sex only once a month or only on weekends. Another common reason is the older female partner whose natural fecundity is reduced. Lastly, the male factor is still largely undiagnosed and remains an area where research and development of treatment is lagging behind the female. Hence, in my practice, the male partner is as important and he is seen at the beginning as well by our in-house urologist, Dr Michael Wong. This allows for a complete fertility profile of the couple to be made early on in their assessment.

It is a misconception that women have a larger role than men in infertility. In general, the causes of subfertility is 30 percent attributed to the female, 30 percent to the male and 30 percent where both male and female factors are present. In 10 percent, there is no obvious cause as in Idiopathic Subfertility. Hence the male contributes to 60 percent of the problems of subfertility, similar to the female. Having said that, the burden of receiving treatment is largely placed on the shoulders of the female partner because she is the one going through procedures such as IVF and bearing the child. Hence, even if the cause of subfertility is entirely a male factor such as in azoopermia, the female partner undertakes a larger share of the burden of treatment. Whatever the cause may be, I believe both male and female partners play an equal role to make the journey towards conception. Fertility treatment is highly emotional, so a supportive and loving male partner makes a huge difference.

Plan to have a child before 35 if you desire more than one, avoid unsafe sex, maintain a normal weight to height ratio, don’t smoke, no drugs, regular moderate exercise, eat a balanced diet with good amounts of greens and fruits, take folate supplements and have regular sex with your loved ones.

I truly enjoy and benefit from the many chats I have with my patients to understand their needs and anxieties. One of the reasons I gave up my Obstetric practice is to be able to afford these long ‘chat’ sessions and devote my focus to my subspeciality expertise. My first advice to couples is to have a frank discussion so as to lay down their personal limits to treatment and consider other alternatives. They will need to decide how much time, how much money or how many treatment cycles they will invest in this journey before they consider the alternatives of remaining childless or adoption. Subfertility treatment is known to break up marriages even if successful. Encouraging the ‘stressed-out’ couple and remaining optimistic is crucial.

The past 10 years have seen better drugs, such as the long acting FSH which makes IVF simpler, more personalised protocols like the Invitro maturation cycles for the severely PCOS lady, sophisticated laboratory research and technology underway to select the most viable embryo, embryo biopsy to diagnose the abnormal embryo with a inherited genetic disease such as haemophilia or cystic fibrosis, ovarian tissue freezing to preserve fertility for the female faced with impending loss of ovarian function as a result of chemotherapy for cancer, oocyte(egg) freezing which will revolutionise social egg freezing and egg donation cycles for the older females. I can definitely better appreciate these technological advances in the laboratory as I am also trained with a Masters in Clinical Embryology. So I forsee the technology will enable any adult female to bear a child, when there is sperm, egg and surrogate uterus available for donation or for sale. My hope is that individuals will exercise prudence and the law will play a role in ensuring ethical practices and preventing abuse.

I will never advise a couple to stop trying. Couples can go on trying on their own with regular unprotected sex as long as they are desirous of a child, if they have no obvious infertility issue. The advice to stop is really based on the extent to which the couple is willing to go to based on their particular problem.

Our Services

Offers a wide range of services for the diagnosis & treatment of disorders & diseases of the genito-urinary & gynaecological systems...

Kidney Stones are actually minerals built up in the bladder that have coalesced into small "stones"...

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Kidney Stones

The sub-fertile couple is assessed together to ensure that any potential cause identified early...

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The prostate is a small gland found in men, and is about the size and shape of a walnut...

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Urinary Incontinence is the loss of control over one’s bladder...

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There are several types of urological cancers, some found only in men, and others, in both men and women...

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Urological Cancer

While women’s conditions have been given significant attention in both the medical field (as seen from the huge Gynaecology branch) and in mainstream conversations...

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Men’s Health