About 1 in 6 Tasmanian couples experience difficulties getting pregnant. Doctors suggest you seek some medical help if you’ve been actively trying to get pregnant for longer than a year without success. For women over the age of 35, it’s recommended that you seek help after six months of trying.
The causes of infertility are many and varied and involve female, male or a combination of factors. The important thing to remember is that medical help is available if you are experiencing difficulties and there is a broad range of treatment options to help almost any couple’s needs.
How can we boost our natural fertility?
If you’re trying for a baby, the timing of when you and your partner have sex is important. For women that have regular menstrual cycles, you can calculate your ‘fertile window’. That is the time of the month when you are most likely to ovulate and therefore conceive if you are having regular sex. If you’re not sure when this is find out with our fertile window calculator »
Both partners should also be thinking about how improvements to your general health can improve your fertility including:
- Make sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet. Women should also take a folic acid supplement.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being significantly under or overweight can affect your chances of conception.
- Exercise regularly and moderately.
- Stop smoking and recreational drug use.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Moderate your caffeine intake.
It’s also recommended that you organise a consultation with your GP if you’re trying to become pregnant. Your GP can check you for common infectious diseases that may affect a baby’s development, as well as discuss any medication you or your partner are taking, as some can affect sperm production, or should be avoided if you’re pregnant.
Why are we not becoming pregnant?
Many people assume that infertility relates to the female in the relationship when in fact 40% of infertility relates to the woman, 40% relates to the man, and the remainder is a combination of factors or unexplained.
Common causes of female infertility include the woman’s age (the number one cause in fact), ovulation disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, fibroids, problems with the fallopian tubes, and pelvic inflammatory disease causes by a sexually transmitted infection.
Common causes of male infertility include low sperm number or poor sperm production, high numbers of abnormally shaped sperm, failure of sperm production, a blocked of absent vas deferens (tube for the delivery of semen), anti-sperm antibodies, sperm DNA fragmentation and genetic diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis.
For conception to occur to you need a healthy egg and healthy sperm, meeting in the right environment, at just the right time in your menstrual cycle. So if you are having difficulties getting pregnant, you will need to be assessed as a couple to determine the cause and reset you on your path to pregnancy.
What’s involved in a fertility assessment?
If you are experiencing difficulties falling pregnant, your next step is to consult your GP or a fertility specialist.
A TasIVF fertility specialist will assess you as a couple, evaluating both the woman’s and the man’s reproductive health and order simple tests to identify potential barriers to starting a family.
Both of you will be required to undergo common blood tests to assess your overall health. For the woman, these blood tests will be extended to an ovulation test and an AMH test to assess fertility. It’s also likely that you’ll require an ultrasound scan to assess the pelvic environment and possibly even a test to check the fallopian tubes are open and clear. For the man, the main test of fertility is a semen analysis, and TasIVF’s andrologists are experts in this field in Tasmania.
After these initial investigations, your TasIVF fertility specialist will work with you to determine the best course of action to help you become pregnant.
What are the most common fertility treatments?
Many couples are worried that coming to a fertility clinic will mean they will need to undergo IVF. The reality is that your fertility specialist will determine the best path to pregnancy for you, based on the results of your fertility assessment. This may involve lifestyle changes, better timing of intercourse, surgery to rectify any underlying conditions or fertility treatments such as
- Ovulation cycle tracking – helps confirm ovulation and optimises timing of intercourse for conception.
- Ovulation induction – uses medication to encourage your ovaries to produce eggs.
- Assisted Insemination - prepared semen is inserted through the next of the womb close to the time of ovulation.
- IVF - placing eggs removed from the ovary, with many sperm to facilitate fertilisation and embryo development in the laboratory, before transferring the embryo back into the womb.
Free 15 minute consultation
TasIVF now offers a free 15 minute consultation with an experienced fertility nurse for women or couples that are considering taking the next step but are not yet ready to book in with a fertility specialist. Your consulting nurse will discuss the basics of your personal situation and possibly order some simple fertility tests. The purpose of this free assessment is to give you a better understanding of your current situation to help you decide whether to keep trying or whether you’d like to see a fertility specialist. It’s preferable that both the female and male partner attend this appointment.
To find out more or to book with our fertility nurse phone 6224 1808 for our Hobart clinic, or 6332 2000 for our Launceston clinic or email us »
Book a fertility assessment
If you have been trying to conceive for longer than a year (or 6 months if you’re over the age of 35), it’s recommended that seek medical advice on what might be causing the delay.
New patient appointments are generally available at TasIVF within a few weeks and usually costs approximately $155 for a couple after the Medicare rebate. Some tests will be bulk-billed but others may cost extra. Your fertility specialist will guide you through your options at the time of your appointment. Book an Appointment now »