The treatments we’ll offer you depend on the results of your investigations. There are a number of specific causes of infertility, but many couples find the most common issues are either male factor, tubal infertility, or problems with ovulation.
There is often an overlap, and in many cases no obvious cause is found. This is called ‘unexplained infertility’. This can be frustrating, but there are multiple treatment options.
Occasionally, the problem can be more psychological than physical. In these cases we can refer you to experts in psychosexual medicine who are specifically trained to deal with these situations.
Planning for pregnancy
If you are planning to become pregnant, there are steps you can take to ensure you give yourself the best chance of a healthy outcome. Click here for more information.
Changing your lifestyle
The effects of lifestyle on fertility can seem somewhat confusing and controversial.
There is strong evidence to show that having a stable weight for your height – body mass index (BMI) – gives you an improved chance of conception and reduces risk during pregnancy.
There is some anecdotal evidence that men can improve their sperm by avoiding long hot baths and tight fitting clothing.
Following a healthy diet, no smoking, regular exercise and reduced alcohol intake are always advisable – however, there is currently little or no evidence that any particular food or nutritional supplement can increase your chance of conceiving. If you require dietary advice or help addressing weight issues, we can refer you to expert dieticians who can help.
Drug treatments can be used alone, but more often than are used in combination with assisted conception (see below).
In the female partner, drugs such as Clomiphene or Letrozole are used in tablet form for stimulating the ovary and ensuring that ovulation takes place. This is often carried out in combination with a series of ultrasound scans, especially in the first cycle of treatment.
Gonadotrophins are more powerful drugs used for ovarian stimulation. These are generally used if mild stimulants failed. They are given via injection, and can be used alone. However, most of the time they are used in combination with IUI and IVF (see below).
Drug treatment can also be used in the male patient to stimulate sperm production. However, it is only effective in patients where a specific hormonal deficiency is present. This includes men with hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism.
At NUH Life, the assisted conception journey begins with offering the least complex form of treatment first. We start with the most simple option, if it’s considered right for you. We only move onto more complex or invasive treatment if absolutely necessary.
This is used with Gonadotrophins for couples with unexplained or ‘mild male-factor’ subfertility, or following failed treatments with drugs only (ovulation induction).
This is a relatively simple and non-invasive form of treatment. At NUH Life, this results in pregnancy in approximately 18% of treatments, with live births occurring in approximately 15%.
You can find out more about our success rates with IUI here, as well as calculating your own chance of success and the ‘cost-effectiveness’ compared to IVF treatment.
This treatment is very similar to IUI, but with the one major difference: the sperm is from a donor. This is generally used in the following circumstances:
- The male partner has reduced sperm number or function
- The male partner has no sperm
- The male partner carries an inheritable condition
- There is no male partner (eg, same sex couples and single women)
This is used in the following situations:
- Fallopian tube obstruction or absence
- After several unsuccessful IUI treatments
- Moderate male factor infertility
- Increasing female age
This is used in the following situations:
- After unsuccessful IVF
- Severe male factor infertility
- After surgical retrieval of sperm
*IVF/ICSI treatments are not provided by NUH Life. If you require either of these treatments, we can provide you with the details for high quality local providers in the private sector. They can provide some treatments on the NHS but unfortunately, it is normally limited to one attempt.
Paying for your own treatment
If you are paying for a treatment you should have a ‘costed treatment plan’ or treatment contract before you start. This is so that you know straight away how much you will have to pay and exactly what to expect.