Infertility is usually defined as ‘not being able to conceive after 12 months of regular sexual intercourse without contraception’. Approximately 1 in 7 couples (15%) will experience infertility.
Many complex processes in the body have to be in perfect alignment to achieve a pregnancy. It is often presumed that infertility is a ‘female’ problem. However, infertility is equally due to both male and female problems.
If you are a woman over 35 years old, it is recommended you seek medical advice if you are not pregnant after 6 months of trying. This is because a woman’s fertility rate starts to decline rapidly from this age.
Initially, I will take a full medical and sexual history, which may identify an obvious problem, such as ‘timing’ of sexual intercourse or ‘irregular’ ovulation in the woman.
You will also be asked about lifestyle factors, such as smoking, stress, alcohol consumption, diet, exercise and weight, which can also affect your fertility. To understand how lifestyle factors can affect both male and female fertility see the Your fertility website.
Some or all of the following investigations may be ordered:
At your next appointment, your results will be reviewed to decide if any further investigations are needed or what treatment is required. If investigations have already been done, it is a good idea to bring along any blood test, ultrasound or semen analysis results to your appointment.