Your Fertility

The choice to have a baby is an important milestone for any couple. However, conceiving is more difficult for some couples than it is for others. We separate the fertility facts from fiction to help you understand the steps needed to start your family.

For many couples, the journey to pregnancy is a smooth one, and according to the NHS 84 percent of couples in which the female is under age 35 fall pregnant within one year of trying. However, for other couples the journey to having a baby can be longer and throw up a few more challenges. It is therefore useful to understand the fertility facts.

Understanding Fertility
A healthy sex life is the key to conception, say says Dr Hilary. During a woman’s monthly cycle, her body produces hormones that cause her ovaries to release an egg. It is at this point (ovulation) that the woman is most fertile. While understanding the female fertility cycle can be helpful, becoming too focused on dates and times can lead to stress, which never results in a healthy sex life.
As the majority of couples fall pregnant within the first year of trying, there is little need to see the doctor until you actually fall pregnant. However, if you have been trying for a year or more with no success, it is best to schedule an appointment with the GP. Likewise, if the female partner is more than 35-years-old or has a medical history that includes an ectopic pregnancy or surgery that may have affected fertility, it is wise to see the doctor.

Infertility becomes a concern when a woman is unable to become pregnant despite having regular unprotected sex—and of course the problem can be with the woman or the man, which is why tests are a first step. In the UK, one in seven couples encounters difficulties when trying to conceive. The likelihood of getting pregnant drops below 25 percent for couples who have been trying to conceive for more than three years without success.
There are many causes of infertility in men and women, and it is not always possible to identify the reasons. For women, lack of regular ovulation, blockage of fallopian tubes and endometriosis (a condition where tissue functioning like the lining of the womb is found on the outside of the womb) are among the most common causes. For men, poor semen quality can be responsible.

Can You Treat Infertility?
Depending on the cause of your infertility, a range of treatments is available. The NHS offer fertility treatment across the UK, however, many people choose to undergo private treatment.
There are three main types of fertility treatment:

  • Medicines to assist fertility
    If you are not ovulating regularly, you can take a course of medicine to assist fertility. For women who do not ovulate regularly, Clomifene or Tamoxifen may be taken to encourage ovulation. Women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome may be offered a course of Metformin.
  • Surgical procedures 
    If the female’s fallopian tubes have become blocked or scarred, surgery can be used to break up the scar tissue which makes it easier for eggs to pass through.
  • Assisted conception
    Treatment includes intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). In IUI, sperm is placed into the womb through a fine plastic tube. In IVF, the woman takes fertility medication to encourage the production of more eggs. Eggs are then removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. A fertilised egg is then placed back inside the woman’s body.

Dr. Hilary’s Tips On Increasing Fertility

  • Don’t Smoke
    A woman’s fertility rate can be greatly reduced by smoking, and a man’s sperm count is also drastically smaller for smokers.
  • Eat Healthily
    Avoid processed foods and cut down on salt and sugar.
  • Don’t Sweat
    The Small Stuff Although there isn’t scientific evidence that stress is directly linked to infertility, stress can reduce sexual libido, which will give you less motivation to create a baby with your partner.
  • Supplement Your Diet
    B vitamins, folic acid and omega-3 fats are all helpful in gaining fertility.
  • Monitor Your Cycle
    Understanding your monthly cycle is imperative to finding the perfect time to conceive. There is one day a month where fertility is the highest, and tracking your cycle will help you pick the optimum moment to conceive.


Dr Hilary says…
When it comes to conceiving, the most important thing to remember is to relax and let nature perform its magic. Concentrating on an ovulation schedule or worrying about why you haven’t conceived will only cause stress. If you have any genuine concerns regarding your fertility, the best advice—as always—is to pay a visit to your GP.


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