Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve been trying without success for a year. What can our doctor do to help?

Your doctor can carry out a initial tests to rule out obvious fertility problems before referring you for further investigations that are often carried out in hospital or at a fertility clinic. Routine fertility tests include a sperm analysis for the man and blood tests for the woman to make sure hormone levels are right and ovulation is occurring normally.More complex tests, include ultrasounds and investigations to check your fallopian tubes are not obstructed.

How do we know which fertility treatments are best for us?

Once the basic tests have been run and interpreted by your doctor, you’ll be in a better position to discuss where to go next. It might be a case of trying for a further few months and timing intercourse more carefully around ovulation, or you may feel the time is right to be referred on to a fertility clinic.If you do go on for further investigations, in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is not necessarily the next step as there are various low-level treatments which can be tried first, such as taking medication to help with ovulation.

How do we find a fertility expert and what should we be looking for in a fertility clinic?

Find a fertility clinic local to you or that specialises in a specific area.Your doctor may have an opinion as to which clinics or consultants he or she would recommend and what, if anything, is available locally on the NHS.Once you’ve located potential clinics, ring up and request a new patient pack which will detail their fees, success rates and available treatments. You’ll be able to have an informal look round to get a feel for the place, you may also want to ask a few basics questions about what is the initial waiting time for an appointment. Your doctor can write you a referral letter, detailing your medical history and the results of any initial investigations that could help the fertility team.

How long should my partner and I try for a baby before seeking help for infertility?

There’s no wrong or right amount of time to wait before going to see your doctor, but a lot will depend on age and personal circumstances. If you are a couple under 35 years of age and have no reason to suspect problems, (for example, previous surgery or irregular periods), it is reasonable to try for a year before seeking help. However, women over 35 would be well advised to seek help earlier.

How can I tell if I’m ovulating?

Tune into your body around ovulation time. Some women experience sharp twinges or period like pains in the abdomen called Mittelschmerz, as the egg is released from the ovary. Just before ovulation, your cervical mucus also changes in consistency to become thin, slippery, similar to raw egg white. Ovulation usually occurs around 14 days before the start of your next period.If you don’t have regular cycles and want to pinpoint when ovulation occurs, you could try monitoring your basal body temperature. Your body temperature rises by approximately 0.2 degrees celsius at ovulation and should remain high for the rest of the cycle.

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