Fertility and conception are private and often vulnerable topics, but those that are keen to start a family will have a lot of questions. How long should you try to conceive before consulting a fertility specialist? What options are available? How does your age or your partner’s age (if applicable) fit into the picture?
Knowing the facts can help to shed light on where you stand on your fertility journey and give a clearer path forward as you make decisions. Read on as Repromed founder and Medical Director, Dr. Guy Gudex answers the most common questions around fertility and conception.
How long should I try to conceive naturally before consulting a fertility specialist?
Every couple is different, but if you haven’t conceived after trying for 12 months, seeking an opinion from a fertility specialist is a great idea. For women over 35, I typically recommend coming in a bit earlier – after 6-9 months. This is because a specialist can give personalised advice about diet, lifestyle, preconception nutrition and ovarian reserve testing that can optimise your chances. Whatever you decide, getting an outside perspective can be a helpful exercise.
I’ve decided I want to explore my fertility options. Who should I consult first?
Generally, it’s a great idea to visit your GP first: they can recommend an initial round of testing that can give a good picture of where you stand. But you know your body, so feel free to contact a specialist if you are concerned. No referral is required, and an initial consultation might answer a lot of questions for you.
What is the difference between ‘natural’ and ‘assisted’ fertility treatments?
Natural conception happens through intercourse. A specialist can help improve your odds by providing accurate ovulate detection, or even ovulation induction to give you a target window to try. Assisted fertility treatments like IUI or IVF happen in the clinic.
What is an AMH test? Do I need to take one if I am pursuing fertility assistance?
AMH tests measure the hormone produced in the follicles of the ovaries, each of which contain one egg. Testing the levels of AMH in your blood can give us a picture of your overall fertility based on the number of eggs developing at one time and also predict (with 75% accuracy) how likely you are to respond well to IVF treatment. If you have had a low read on an AMH test, it’s worth re-testing on a different month – sometimes they can be skewed and having additional information can give a more accurate view.
How can I boost my chances of conceiving naturally?
It’s important to think big picture when trying to conceive – and a healthy, low-stress lifestyle is a great place to start. Focus on eating nutritious foods that will optimise your weight and BMI, plus plenty of anti-oxidants for both you and your partner. Our fertility specialist Dr. Karen Buckingham has pulled together a good list of tips here.
What can I do to maximise the success of my assisted fertility treatment?
The same rules apply as far as overall health, but if you are undergoing an assisted treatment, we will tailor recommendations directly to you. Often we recommend acupuncture as a way to optimise IVF, and depending on your circumstances, hormonal support like testosterone patches, EmbryoGen or PGS could be good options.
Regardless of where you find yourself on your fertility journey, we are here to offer support. Our team of specialists can help you identify the option that best suits you as you seek to grow your family.
Repromed offers a free 15 minute phone consultation with a fertility doctor – to book an appointment, please call 0800 483 105 or visit www.repromed.co.nz