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Common Signs Of Infertility

Around 15 – 20 percent of couples trying to conceive will have trouble with fertility, so if you are experiencing difficulty with getting pregnant, you are not alone. If you are in the early stages of trying for a baby, it may just be that you need longer to identify your ovulation pattern, so you can predict more accurately when to try to conceive. (See our earlier blog post: When are my most fertile days)

When should I contact a doctor?

If you are under 35 and have been trying for a year, or over 35 and trying for 6 months, then it’s time to contact your doctor. At this stage, there are still many things that can be done to increase your chances and your doctor can advise you about your options. They will talk to you and your partner (if you have one) and may do some investigations to try to identify the root cause.

Common signs of infertility in women

Female factor infertility accounts for around 40% of fertility issues

Common signs of infertility in men

Male factor infertility accounts for around 30% to 40% of fertility issues

What can fertility investigations reveal?

In women, doctors can confirm or rule out PID, PCOS, endometriosis or menopause.

In men, doctors can test for low sperm count, low sperm motility or abnormally formed sperm.

In both women and men, doctors can test for coeliac disease – some research suggests that having coeliacs disease can affect fertility and/or cause miscarriage or premature birth.

Unexplained infertility in couples

After discussion and fertility tests on both partners, around 20% of couples will be diagnosed with unexplained infertility issues. This can feel very frustrating and may or may not mean that you can get pregnant eventually, but depending on your age and how long you have been trying for, you may want to consider other options.

What are my options if I have diagnosed or undiagnosed infertility?

Depending on the diagnosis, some of the options may include:

• Continue to try for longer, if age is not an issue

• IUI (intrauterine insemination) – a type of artificial insemination where sperm that have been washed and concentrated are placed directly into the uterus around the time of ovulation

• Fertility drugs

• IVF (in vitro fertilisation)

• IVF with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection, used with IVF for men with infertility)

• Donor eggs

• Donor sperm

Frequent advances in the field of medicine, mean that doctors have been continuing to discover more of the causes and more potential treatments for infertility.  

If you find that you are still unable to conceive, the doctor can recommend the best course of action for you to take, based on your age, diagnosis and personal circumstances.

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