Other people may have undergone treatment for cancer and had their eggs or sperm frozen, to preserve their fertility. They are aware that they’ll be likely to need to have IUI, IVF or ICSI, in order to have a biological child.

For many men and women, there have been no symptoms to indicate potential fertility issues, until they start trying to conceive and are unsuccessful, after repeated attempts. They are often then diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertility.’

How soon should I see a doctor if I’m struggling to conceive?

“More than 8 in 10 couples, where the woman is under 40, will conceive naturally within a year of having regular, unprotected sex.

Regular unprotected sex means having sex every 2 to 3 days without using contraception.” NHS website.

If you are a woman under 36 and struggling to conceive, it is advisable for you to contact your doctor after a year of regular unprotected sex. For women over 36, or people who think they may have an STI (sexually transmitted infection), then it’s suggested that you contact your GP sooner.

It’s a good idea to make an appointment for both of you together. Your doctor will want to know the medical history of you and your partner and any relevant family medical history too. They will also want to know how long you have been trying for.

After an initial appointment, they will be likely to refer you for tests.

What fertility tests are available for women?

The type and number of tests carried out, will differ for each individual, but may include:

·      Ovulation testing – this is a blood test that measures hormone levels, to check if you are ovulating

·      Ovarian reserve testing – carried out through a hormone test, this is to find out how many eggs you have available, as women are born with all of the eggs they will ever have

·      Hysterosalpingography – an x-ray is carried out, to check the condition of your uterus and fallopian tubes and to see if there are any blockages

·      Hysteroscopy – a thin device inserted through your cervix into your uterus, to look for any abnormalities

·      Laparoscopy – a small incision made beneath your navel, with a thin device inserted, to examine your fallopian tubes, ovaries and uterus

·      Other hormone tests

·      Pelvic ultrasound – to check for any signs of disease

What fertility tests are available for men?

The type and number of tests carried out will differ for each individual, but may include:

·      Semen analysis – your doctor may ask for a semen sample, which will be analysed in the lab

·      Genetic testing

·      Hormone testing – to check the level of testosterone and other hormones

·      Testicular biopsy – occasionally used to identify any abnormalities

·      Ultrasound

What if the tests show unexplained infertility?

Although the term ‘infertility’ suggests that you will not be able to conceive naturally, fortunately, this is not the case for everyone. It just means that there is no identifiable cause for your inability to conceive.

The good news is, that many people who receive a diagnosis of unexplained infertility, do go on to conceive, either naturally, or using assisted methods like IUI, IVF or IVF with ICSI.

Here at the IVF Network, we understand that couples struggling to conceive will have many questions. Through our dedicated channel of experts, our website and our blog posts, we aim to provide as much information as possible, to make your personal fertility journey easier.


NHS website. Diagnosis Infertility

NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/infertility/diagnosis/

Mayo Clinic. Infertility.