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Female Fertility

“IVF and other Advanced Reproductive Treatments can do many wonderful things, but they cannot overcome age. So it’s critical to get any issue fixed as early as possible.”

If you have been trying to fall pregnant for six months or more, it’s important to seek advice sooner rather than later. There are many factors that affect female fertility, and Associate Professor Hughes takes a sensitive and proactive approach to identifying any underlying issues that can be quickly resolved.

What affects female fertility?

Your age is the most significant factor affecting your chance of conceiving. Once you turn 36, your chance of conceiving naturally is halved compared to your chance at 20. At 41, this chance falls to just 4%. Women are born with a limited number of eggs, and with every period, even if you are using oral contraception, you lose at least 600. By the time you reach menopause they are all gone. That’s why only a very small handful of women are able to fall pregnant, even using IVF, over the age of 45, and most who do are using a donor egg. We strongly encourage patients who are over 30 and having any difficulty falling pregnant to see a fertility or ovulation specialist sooner rather than later. For about 40% of infertile couples, the cause may be found in the female reproductive system, such as blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

How do you diagnose the cause of female infertility?

Following your initial consultation with Associate Professor Hughes, you may undergo a series of diagnostic tests to identify what the possible causes could be. You will need to have blood tests, ultrasounds and possibly x-rays and mucus examination. We might also need to carry out genetic testing, as some ovulation and sperm problems are genetic. We may identify any number of causes, from blocked fallopian tubes to a lack of ovulation. We may find the presence of mucus in the cervix that is hostile to the sperm. In some cases, it may be unexplained infertility. We can overcome all of these concerns, and we can resolve most other issues as well. Associate Professor Hughes uses the results of your diagnostics to determine the best treatment for your personal situation. This means you may not necessarily need to undergo IVF treatment – in many cases, couples will have conceived after one or two cycles of Ovulation Induction.

What is infertility?

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse. It can be caused male or female factors, or a combination of both, and as many as one in six Australian couples are affected by infertility.

How do you treat problems with female fertility?

If you are aged 36 years or younger, there is usually no need to start with IVF straight away. Depending on the diagnosis, less invasive and less expensive treatment options such as Ovulation Induction or Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) may be highly effective.