Q: What is infertility?
A: Most experts define infertility as not being able to get pregnant after at least one year of trying. Women who are able to get pregnant but then have repeat miscarriages are also said to be infertile.
Q: Is infertility a common problem?
A: About 1 in 6 couples have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term.
Q: Is infertility just a woman's problem?
A: No, infertility is not always a woman's problem. About a third are problems in the female partner, about 25% is thought to be due to male factors ie sperm quality. The remaining cases are caused by a mixture of male and female factors or by unknown factors.
Q: What causes infertility in men?
A: Infertility in men is most often caused by:
Problems making sperm - producing too few sperm or none at all
Problems with the sperm's ability to reach the egg and fertilize it - abnormal sperm shape or structure prevent it from moving correctly
Q: What increases a man's risk of infertility?
A: The number and quality of a man's sperm can be affected by his overall health and lifestyle. Some things that may reduce sperm number and/or quality include:
Alcohol, Drugs, Environmental toxins, including pesticides and lead, Smoking, Chronic Health problems, Medicines, Radiation treatment and chemotherapy for cancer, Age
Q: Is there any medicines or dietary changes that can be used to improve sperm?
A: There are a few anecdotal reports that nutritional supplements containing vitamins and antioxidants can improve sperm but very few good quality trials to show that these are any better than a good diet.
Q: What causes infertility in women?
A: Problems with ovulation account for most cases of infertility in women. Without ovulation, there are no eggs to be fertilized. Some signs that a woman is not ovulating normally include irregular or absent menstrual periods. Less common causes of fertility problems in women include: Blocked fallopian tubes due to pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, or surgery for an ectopic pregnancy; Physical problems with the uterus; Uterine fibroids
Q: How do I get to see a fertility specialist?
A: Usually your GP will send (refer) you to the fertility service. If you live in our health Region (Nottinghamshire) you will probably be sent to the NUH service, if not your Dr will let you know where you can go. If you want to come to NUH you can ask your GP for a referral or contact us directly if you need to ‘self-fund’
Q: Will I have to pay for the service?
A: Usually the NHS will pay for any investigations required and a limited amount of treatment but only if you meet the current NHS funding criteria. Please ask the fertility service for more detail if you are uncertain
Q: What if I am not in this health region or do not wish to go through my GP?
A: If you wish to access our services but not as an NHS funded patient then you can get direct access to the Consultant here but would have to pay for this service, as well as investigations and any treatment required
Q: Is it true that IVF is more effective than IUI for some causes of infertility
A: Yes IVF is definitely more effective for certain problems and especially any hint of problems with the Fallopian tubes. IVF may also achieve a pregnancy more quickly than IUI in cases where there is no obvious cause for the infertility (unexplained infertility). However IVF is more expensive and more complex in these cases and the evidence in support of IVF over IUI is controversial and largely depends on how successful the particular IUI or IVF service is. The service here in here in Nottingham is very cost effective for the right patients (unexplained or mild male factor infertility) and approximately 35% of couples achieve a pregnancy. Therefore we like to give couples the chance of having a baby by the simplest route possible.