Why can’t I get pregnant?
Getting pregnant isn't always easy. The following statistics from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) show that it is not unusual for a couple to take up to two years to conceive:
- 30% of couples conceive within a month of starting to try for a baby
- 75% conceive within six months
- 90% conceive within a year
- 95% conceive within two years.
You should see your doctor if you are a woman aged 35 or over and haven't conceived a year after stopping contraception.
Common causes of fertility problems
If you know there is a concern about your fertility, or initial tests suggest there maybe one, the next step is to see a doctor who can help you find out why you are struggling to get pregnant.
- Fertility reduces with age.
- Diagnosis of pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Irregular periods or diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- A previous ectopic pregnancy that resulted in the removal of one of your fallopian tubes.
- Internal scarring caused by severe appendicitis or abdominal surgery.
- A positive test for Chlamydia or gonorrhea, both of which can block the fallopian tubes.
- A diagnosis of endometriosis.
- Hormonal deficiencies after a brain injury.
Techniques that enhance the chances of pregnancy
- Ovulation induction ~ using fertility drugs to trigger the ovaries to release eggs.
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination ~ involves inserting sperm into the womb at the time of ovulation using a catheter (a very fine needle or probe.)
- In vitro fertilisation (IVF) ~ where eggs and sperm are collected and fertilised in the laboratory before the resulting embryo is transferred to the womb.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) ~ involves a single sperm being injected into the cytoplasm or centre of a single egg. This is then transferred to the womb using the same process as IVF.
- Embryo freezing ~ because IVF often creates more embryos than can be transferred in a single cycle, most clinics will freeze any remaining healthy embryos for use in future IVF treatments, with the patients' consent. The HFEA stipulates that (with certain strict exceptions) only two embryos may be transferred to the womb at a time in fertility treatment.
At Richmond Practice we offer the services of female consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists who can assist with fertility problems. We also do health screens for women who are trying to get pregnant. You can ask us for an appointment without the need for a referral letter from another doctor.