Infertility, which affects 1 in 7 heterosexual couples in the UK, is defined as the failure to conceive after one year of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. Approximately 80 per cent of couples conceive in the first year of trying but many couples take longer than this and another 50 per cent will fall pregnant in the following year.
We recommend getting checked after the first year to make sure everything is OK. But we are happy to see couples earlier, especially where the woman is aged 36 years or older, or if there is a known cause of infertility or a history of predisposing factors for infertility such as previous infection, tubal surgery including ectopic pregnancy, or if your periods are irregular. Your GP will advise you on this.
Common causes of female infertility include problems with ovulation, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, tubal blockage and endometriosis. Together with your GP, we can test for these problems and recommend treatment where necessary.
Many women require a laparoscopy (keyhole surgery involving a camera through the belly button to examine the pelvic organs) to check the tubes are patent (a "dye" test) and to exclude or treat endometriosis.
We also perform ultrasound scans to identify problems such as fibroids, polyps and ovarian cysts than can impair fertility as well diagnose polycystic ovaries.
Male partners require a seminal fluid analysis. This can be arranged through a GP but is not currently performed at Circle. Nonetheless, our consultants can interpret these reports and advise you on the best treatment for you as well as ways to try and improve sperm numbers and motility.