5 things to know about subfertility
This article has been contributed by Dr Parijat Bhattacharjee for IVF London – a fertility clinic based in Elstree, London.
Whilst the words are commonly used, infertility or sterility (where a couple cannot conceive) is actually fairly rare. What we are often referring to is in fact called subfertility – this is when there is a delay in conceiving.
Subfertility can be an emotionally overwhelming condition but there are a range of fertility treatment options available. At IVF London we really want to help our patients understand the facts and science behind it.
Understanding subfertility is important when considering any type of infertility treatment, so in this blog post we’re covering 5 key things you should to know about it:
1. Evolutionary history suggests that humans are not naturally a very fertile species
The chance of conceiving in a cycle is roughly 15-20%. When it comes to subfertility, it can be caused by either structural issues (for example, with the ovaries or fallopian tubes) or functional problems (such as eggs not being released or sperm not being delivered).
2. Many factors can affect fertility adversely.
One of the most notable is perhaps the age of the female partner(s). Women are born with a finite number of eggs and a number of them are recruited and depleted regularly during each menstrual cycle from the time a woman begins menstruating. Since the eggs are as old as the woman, aging affects the eggs as well. As a result, fertility decreases from early 30s and deteriorates more quickly after 35.
3. 90% of couples will conceive within one year of trying.
If after one year of trying, you are struggling to conceive, we would recommend seeking expertise. If you are aware of any risk factors, then we would suggest seeking input sooner.
4. Many couples delay seeking medical advice but the sooner you do it, the better.
Couples delay speaking to an expert for a range of reasons – it can be a sensitive and worrying topic to talk about. However, since age is an important factor, the chances of success with treatments available are higher the earlier you seek expertise and at IVF London, we treat each case with care and compassion.
5. IVF may not be needed in many cases.
In fact, we find that many need nothing but reassurance, lifestyle advice or simple medications to stimulate egg maturation and release. Others on the other hand may benefit from minor surgery to treat completely operable causes of subfertility. Apart from assisted reproduction techniques (eg. IVF and ICSI), many other fertility treatment options are now available, including egg freezing and even ovarian tissue preservation.
Fertility treatments can allow today’s couples to plan a pregnancy when they are ready and in the right frame of mind – it can also empower women to carry a child on their own terms or provide much needed options for couples struggling with subfertility. To understand all these treatments in more detail and make sure you have the information you need, it is important to seek advice from the right experts.
At IVF London, we work very hard to provide cutting edge treatment and care with empathy, patience and consideration. We understand the fear and anxiety that fertility issues cause couples, and we are here to help you determine the right course of action. We are always happy to talk, you can call our team on 020 8207 4115.