Did you know?
Age is still the most important factor affecting fertility in both men and women. A woman's fertility starts to decline rapidly after age 35. By the mid-40’s, most women are unable to sustain a successful pregnancy.
Lifestyle can also play a role in fertility. It is important to be as healthy as possible when trying to conceive. This includes paying attention to your diet, exercise, sleep, smoking, alcohol, drugs, and caffeine consumption, as well as maintaining a healthy weight.
When trying to conceive, it is important to know when is the right time to have sex in order to increase the likelihood of conception. For women with a regular menstrual cycle, ovulation usually happens 12-14 days before the next menstrual period. So if the cycle is 28 days long, she will usually ovulate between day 14-16 (or 14-16 days after the start of the previous period). It is very common for cycle lengths to vary, so the day of ovulation will also likely vary from month to month. Pregnancy is most likely to occur when a couple has sex 2-5 days prior to ovulation up until 12-24 hours after ovulation. This is considered the “fertile window” which reflects the lifespan of the sperm (2-5 days) and that of the egg (12-24 hours).
If you have been having regular sex for one year without success, or six months if you are more than 35 years of age, you should consider seeing a doctor who specializes in the investigation and treatment of infertility. Ask your family doctor for a referral. The form is available on this site.
For more information regarding all aspects of infertility, go to: Yourfertility.org.au
Here Are The Steps Involved
Once you are referred to a Fertility Specialist, there will be a number of simple steps involved in the process:
1. Your initial appointment will involve you and your partner providing a detailed medical history, a physical exam for the woman and blood work for both partners. Depending on the day of the cycle, the woman may also have a pelvic ultrasound that same day.
2. The following tests are then arranged for you and your partner :
- Tests of ovarian reserve
- Confirmation of ovulation
- Rule out abnormalities in the uterus
- Confirmation that the tubes are open
- Confirmation of the presence or absence of any specific disease conditions that may be delaying conception, e.g. polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), other hormonal disturbances, endometriosis, fibroids, chronic PID, partner with a history of an undescended testicle, etc
- Confirmation of adequate sperm
- Rule out excessive sperm DNA fragmentation in the presence of specific risk factors
- Rule out infection for both partners
3. Once all the tests are completed, the doctor will meet with you and your partner again to review the results and discuss whether more testing is required, or whether it is appropriate to initiate specific treatment.
4. Treatment options will be outlined in detail, and together with the doctor, you and your partner will decide how to proceed, depending on what is best for you in your particular circumstances.
Once you have decided that you want to proceed with treatment, it will likely involve some form of assisted reproductive treatment (ART).
Depending on the cause of your infertility, the following types of treatment may be advised: