If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant for a year or more through regular unprotected sex, it’s time to see your Gynaecologist. If you are over 35, or if you think that either partner may have a fertility problem, see your Gynae after six months of trying.
A fertility problem could be because you’ve had surgery that may have affected your reproductive organs, or because you’ve had a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia, that may have damaged your fertility.
Many couples with fertility problems go on to conceive, with or without fertility treatment.
What to expect
If you make an appointment to see your Gynaecologist because you’re having trouble becoming pregnant, they will ask how long you have been trying. If it’s been less than a year or you haven’t been having unprotected sex regularly, and there is no reason to suspect you may have a fertility problem, your Gynae may recommend you keep trying for a while to see if you conceive naturally. Having regular sex means having sex every two or three days throughout the month. You can find out more about maximising your chances of getting pregnant.
If you’ve been having regular unprotected sex for more than a year, your Gynae may recommend a range of tests to determine what’s stopping you from conceiving.
In about one-third of cases, fertility problems are due to the male partner. Sometimes, a lack of sperm or sperm that are not moving properly can cause a failure to conceive.The male partner will be asked to produce a sperm sample and take it for analysis at our hospital.
Blood tests to check ovulation
Levels of hormones in a woman’s blood are closely linked to ovulation, when the ovaries release an egg into the fallopian tubes. Hormone imbalances can cause ovulation problems, and a blood test can help determine whether this is happening. Going through a phase of not having periods, or having irregular periods, are also signs of ovulation problems. The most common cause of ovulation problems is polycystic ovary syndrome.
Test for chlamydia
Chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and fertility problems. Your Doctor can refer you for a test for chlamydia. This can be a urine test or a swab from the urethra (the tube from which urine passes) or the neck of the cervix.
An ultrasound scan can be carried out to check the woman’s ovaries, womb and fallopian tubes. In a transvaginal ultrasound scan, which takes place in our hospital, a small ultrasound probe is placed in the vagina. This scan can help doctors check the health of your ovaries and womb. Certain conditions that can affect the womb, such as endometriosis and fibroids, can prevent pregnancy from occurring. The scan can also check for blockages in your fallopian tubes (the tubes that connect the ovaries and the womb), which may be stopping eggs from travelling along the tubes and into the womb.
X-ray of fallopian tubes
This is called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). Opaque dye is injected through the cervix while you have an X-ray. The dye will help us to see if there are any blockages in your fallopian tubes. Blockages can prevent eggs passing down the tubes to the womb, and so stop pregnancy occurring.