So you want to be pregnant, but it's just not happening?
Something as wonderful and natural as getting pregnant should be easy right? After all, you've likely spent a good portion of your young adult life taking precautions to ensure that it doesn't happen by accident!? So when you're ready, and it doesn't happen spontaneously, it might just be a signal that a little more 'preparation' is needed. Don't panic.
If you think you have infertility issues, don’t be tempted to see an IVF specialist straight away, as there is a good chance you can optimise your own chances of falling pregnant naturally without the hassle and expense of IVF technology.
As an obvious starting point, you need to be having unprotected vaginal sex regularly with a partner, who along with you, is reproductively capable.
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 both out at our clinic to ensure that all the important boxes have been ticked.
Prior to falling pregnant, you should be immune to certain infections and be up to date with cervical screening. 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.
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).
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.
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, her 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 her history and examination. After that, there will be a fertility test for women, which will likely 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 laparoscopy.
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 guide you towards fertility treatment if that will be needed.