Do you want to be pregnant? You need to be having unprotected sex regularly with a partner, who along with you, is reproductively capable. Infertility can be a female or a male issue, or both partners may have an issue. If conception is just not happening after six months or more of trying, then there may be a reason. We will explain all the processes and requirements for couples to conceive naturally, and check you out at our clinic to ensure that all your boxes have been ticked.
Prior to falling pregnant you should be immune to certain infections, be up to date with cervical screening and not be taking risks with an unhealthy lifestyle or drugs. We can advise you as to how to increase your chances of falling pregnant naturally and with a good outcome.
Men! You will need to produce a semen analysis to make sure you have good quantities of sperm which have good motility. Men can have a low sperm count and not realise it.
So don’t be tempted to see an IVF specialist straight away if you think you have infertility issues, as there is a good chance you can optimise your own chances of falling pregnant without the hassle and expense of IVF technology.
Once you are pregnant, we can arrange for antenatal care of your choice. That may be with us, using a shared antenatal care model, or for women with more complicated pregnancies, or if they opt for the more expensive option of private obstetric care, we will find the right place for you to go.
When planning your family, there are a few basic requirements that need to be present. This can be female (producing eggs, fallopian tubes patent) and male factors (able to get an erection and produce quality sperm). Couples need to be having regular unprotected vaginal intercourse. Lifestyle factors can be a hindrance to falling pregnant, so smoking, excessive alcohol intake and drug use (prescription or recreational) should be avoided. Conversely, it is good to be physically fit, managing stress appropriately, getting regular exercise and having a healthy diet. It is recommended that all women planning to fall pregnant should take folic acid and iodine supplementation to reduce the risk of birth defects. If all of these issues are addressed, then it may be that there is an underlying cause, which we can find out through some simple investigations.
Male infertility is responsible for about 1 in 5 infertile couples. About 1 in 20 men will have a low sperm count, and about 1 in 100 have no sperm in their semen. When the sperm count is low, it is a problem, either with the production of sperm, or the transport of sperm from the testis to the outside world.
For a couple wanting to be pregnant, the father needs to produce good-quality sperm in large enough numbers which move appropriately. Sometimes this doesn’t happen and can be due to genetic factors, past history of surgery or infection, sperm antibodies, hormonal imbalance or just bad luck. If a man has had a vasectomy, it doesn’t mean that he cannot contribute to a pregnancy, but he will need a vasectomy reversal or ICSI (which is an IVF technique).
All couples who are being worked up for infertility will require the man to produce a semen sample, or male fertility test . This is a time critical sample, so needs to be produced very close to the lab so it can be examined straight away! We can refer you for this test, which may be bulk billed depending on where you choose to go.
Some male infertility may be due to sexual dysfunction. Men need to be able to sustain an erection and ejaculate inside a woman’s vagina. It sounds basic, but erectile and ejaculation problems are common. If the physical act is not happening right, then even with good quality sperm, the semen is not going to get to the right place. So, if a man has erection or ejaculation problems, we can help by understanding the underlying causes and providing appropriate advice and treatment.
Women have different factors which cause infertility, though like men, they need to be producing genetic material (eggs) of good quality which can get to where they need to go. When women are being worked up for infertility assessment , the history is very important. If she is having a regular menstrual cycle, then there is a good chance that she is ovulating regularly.
If there are menstrual irregularities, then it may be that there is an underlying cause, such as PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
So, when a woman comes for fertility assessment, the first thing that needs to be checked is history and examination. After that there will be a fertility test for women, which may include a pelvic ultrasound or blood tests in the first instance.
If it looks as though there is a transport issue, (the egg is not getting from the ovary through the fallopian tube to the uterus), then another imaging examination called a hysterosalpingogram can be helpful, or a laparosocopy.
Causes of female infertility can include low egg reserve, blocked fallopian tubes or genetic problems.
We can help you rule out some basic causes of infertility and understand what lies on the road ahead, if it seems that fertility treatment will be needed.