Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive a pregnancy after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse.
It affects about 15% of Australian couples of reproductive age, and can be caused by a range of genetic, medical, and surgical or trauma related issues.
Causes of infertility in men and women
Causes of infertility are many and varied and involve male, female or a combination of factors. This includes problems with the production of sperm or eggs, the structure or function of male or female reproductive systems; and/or hormonal and immune conditions.
However age is the most significant factor affecting a couple's chance of conceiving.
In 40% of infertile couples, the cause of infertility is attributed to sperm factor.
In another 40% of infertile couples, the cause of infertility is found within the female reproductive system, such as tubal disease or endometriosis.
One third of all infertile couples will have a combination of female and male factor infertility.
When should you seek help?
A woman’s age is the single most important factor affecting a couple’s chances of conceiving. That’s why it is strongly recommended you seek assistance after 6 months of trying if you are over the age of 35, and after 12 months of trying if you are under 35.
At IVFAustralia, we encourage all couples over the age of 30 to be proactive and see an infertility treatment specialist quickly if they are experiencing difficulties falling pregnant.
Seeing a fertility specialists is not neccessarily a fast track to IVF. A fertility specialist can conduct simple tests to find out what’s happening, explore all your options and help you fall pregnant sooner.
How do you treat infertility?
With the advances in reproductive technology, IVF treatment and other forms of assisted conception now provide a much higher chance of success than that of natural conception.
At your initial consultation with your fertility specialist, they will give you an indication of your likelihood of conceiving. This will vary between 5 to 55% per treatment cycle depending on your individual circumstances and the treatment recommended. Your chance of success is affected by:
- both partners’ ages
- how long you have been trying to conceive
- whether either partner has been a parent previously
- any prior treatment for infertility
- how well the eggs and sperm are likely to fertilise and develop into good quality embryos
What's the next step?
Appointments are available in the next couple of weeks and will cost approximately $150 for a couple after the Medicare rebate.