If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for less than a year, find out how to maximise your chances of getting pregnant. Eating a healthy diet, cutting down on alcohol, keeping to a healthy weight and getting exercise can all help.
If you’ve been trying to conceive for a year or more and you're not pregnant, it’s time to see your GP. If you're a woman over 35, or if you think either of you may have a fertility problem, see your GP after six months of trying to conceive. Your GP may refer you to a fertility clinic. This will usually be in a hospital and will provide fertility treatments.
The fertility treatment that's right for you depends on a range of factors. Staff at your fertility clinic can help you choose the treatment that will give you the best chance of conceiving.
Types of fertility treatment
No single fertility treatment is best for everyone. The right treatment for you will depend on your circumstances, including the cause of your fertility problems, the age of the female partner and your medical history. Broadly speaking, fertility treatments fall into three categories.
These are usually prescribed to women. Most of the common fertility medicines, such as clomifene, are intended to help with ovulation problems. You can find out more about the medicines used to treat infertility. To learn more about ovulation and how it's linked to pregnancy, you can find out more about fertility facts.
These include fallopian tube surgery, which can be helpful if the fallopian tubes, which lead from the ovaries to the uterus (womb), become blocked or scarred, preventing pregnancy.
This can include intrauterine insemination (IUI), in which sperm is placed into the womb using a fine plastic tube. This can be helpful in cases of mild sperm problems. Assisted conception also includes IVF (in vitro fertilisation), in which sperm and eggs are mixed outside the body and put back into the womb. This can be helpful for a range of fertility problems, including more severe sperm problems and cases of unexplained infertility.
You can find out more about these fertility treatments.
Access to fertility treatment
If you think you may be experiencing fertility problems, see your GP first. Your GP may carry out a range of tests to help identify any fertility problems. You can learn more about what to expect in Fertility tests. Access to some fertility treatment, including IVF, varies throughout the country, and waiting lists are long in some areas.
You can learn more about access to IVF in Can I get IVF treatment on the NHS?
Your GP can advise you on access to NHS treatment in your area.
Healthtalkonline has a range of video interviews with women talking about their experiences of infertility and assisted conception.