Becoming pregnant can take time. Around eight in 10 couples will conceive naturally within a year of trying. If you’re not pregnant after a year of regularly having unprotected sex, one or both of you may have infertility.
One in seven couples in the UK is affected by infertility. It can be the result of several emotional or physical conditions, which may affect the man or woman, or both. For some couples, there are no known causes of infertility.
With both male infertility and infertility in women, treatments are available which will improve your chances of having a baby.
If you’re not pregnant after a year of having regular (every two or three days) unprotected sex, see your GP, ideally with your partner. If you or your partner is a woman over 35, ask your GP about the possibility of infertility sooner.
Your GP will discuss your health, lifestyle and your sex life with both of you. They’ll also ask about previous pregnancies or fertility problems and your sexual history.
Your GP may carry out physical examinations, including checking for conditions that can cause infertility. They may test your blood to measure hormone levels and may also test your blood or urine for chlamydia.
Your GP may refer you or your partner for further tests, including:
Following diagnosis, your GP can refer you to a consultant for fertility treatment or treatment for underlying conditions.
You’re more likely to have fertility problems if you:
The risk of infertility in women increases if you:
The risk of infertility in men increases if you:
There are three main types of fertility treatment.
Your GP may prescribe drug treatment to stimulate or regulate ovulation.
For women, this can involve removing scar tissue inside the fallopian tubes or cysts or growths from your womb. For male infertility, surgery can reverse a vasectomy, remove blockages preventing sperm release or correct anatomical issues.
There are three main types of assisted conception:
Your doctor will discuss which treatment is best for you and your partner. This will depend on the causes of your infertility and your general health.