Fertility problems and treatments

Approximately 1 in 6 couples have difficulty conceiving. This means that they have been trying for a baby for over 12 months. Once you have been trying unsuccessfully for over a year, then you should see your doctor together. This is so they can compile medical information from you both and look at your lifestyle

Factors that can cause a problem include:

  • Difficulty producing eggs.
  • Damaged fallopian tubes.
  • Low sperm count or poor quality sperm.
  • Weight problems.
  • Lifestyle.
  • Unexplained infertility accounts for about 25% of fertility problems.

What you can do to increase fertility:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Cut down alcohol intake.
  • You may be advised to lose weight.
  • Eat a balanced diet and take folic acid.
  • Alternative therapies can help; acupuncture, aromatherapy, reflexology, homeopathy, hypnotherapy and yoga. To find a registered therapist see website for Federation of Holistic Therapists at www.fht.org.uk .
  • Taking honey every day is said to aid conception.

Types of Fertility Treatments

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

Fertility drugs are given, so that the women’s body produces several eggs. These are then removed when mature and mixed with the man’s sperm. Up to 3 embryos can be placed in the uterus, after 2 to 3 days.  Any remaining embryos can be frozen and used in the future.

Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)

Similar to IVF but fertilisation occurs in the woman’s body.

Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT)

As with GIFT but the newly fertilised egg is returned to the fallopian tube.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Is used for men who produce few healthy sperm. The sperm is injected into the egg.


To treat endometriosis, fibroids, blocked fallopian tubes and ovarian cysts.

Fertility drugs

Wwhich stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Sperm and eggs are placed together in the womb. This can be using the man’s sperm or donor sperm.

Sperm or egg donors


Surrogate Mother


Choosing a clinic

There are certain factors you need to look for when choosing a clinic.

It needs to be accessible to you. You will make frequent visits during treatment, so you don’t want it to be too far away. You will not want the added stress of travelling.

Is it a friendly environment? It will make the experience easier if the staff are warm and supportive.

Statistics can be misleading; clinics with higher success rates may only treat younger women, boosting their live birth rate.

The cost will probably be a factor to you, with the average cost of IVF being around £3,500 - £4,000 per cycle of treatment. Some clinics offer reduced price treatment, if you are able to donate your eggs. From April 2005, couples will be able to get one free IVF treatment on the NHS; if they are eligible (each health authority has their own criteria). Although there is usually a long waiting list.

Also does the clinic have the treatments your doctor or consultant recommended for you?

For more information on natural treatments go to www.nourish-fertility.com , Nourish have a range of tinctures, flower essences, blended aromatherapy oils and hypnosis CDs for men and women. These provide the body with the ability to absorb vitals nutrients needed to boost fertility and aid conceptio

Always consult your doctor or consultant before undertaking a new treatment, even natural treatments.

For support, advice and information see www.infertilitynetwork.com .