Dear doctor, I'm having trouble conceiving. What are my options?

13 February 2018

Q: My husband and I have been trying for a baby for a few years but have not been successful. I have polycystic ovaries and would like to know what treatment options are available to us?

A: Polycystic ovaries (PCO) is a common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work. As many as one in five women in the UK are thought to be affected by the condition and many do not experience any symptoms.

Polycystic ovaries is frequently diagnosed among women who have been struggling to conceive. In fact it is the most common reason for infrequent or no ovulation, which could be the underlying reason for fertility problems.

The options of treatment available to you depend on a number of factors. The most important one is your age because your ovarian reserve (the number and quality of eggs) continuously decline as you become older.

Other factors are sperm quality and whether your fallopian tubes are opened or not. If these are normal and your only problem is lack of ovulation secondary to PCO, tablets called Clomid can help you ovulate. These tablets combined with timed sexual intercourse can increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

Young women who have PCO tend to respond well to Clomid tablets. At least half of them ovulate and become pregnant when given these tablets. If you are approaching or above 40 and/or your ovarian reserve is low, sperm quality is low or Fallopian tubes are not opened, IVF would be the best way forward.

If you would like to discuss the situation in more detail, a fertility consultant will be able to assess your symptoms, run some tests and discuss treatment options with you.

I hope you find the above useful. Good luck.

Mr Ehab Kelada is a Fertility Consultant practising at Spire Portsmouth Hospital.


The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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