What to do if you’ve been diagnosed with infertility

Infertility is a surprisingly common (and growing) issue. Many people are waiting longer to start their families as a result of their careers, not having found the right partner, and even health concerns. Infertility can sometimes feel like a taboo topic, after all, it’s a condition that many people are nervous to talk about or divulge to others – individuals might not feel comfortable talking about it because they’ve lost hope. However, an infertility diagnosis should not discourage you on your journey to becoming a parent; more often than not, it is not the end of the road. There are many different approaches to treatment that can be taken in order to overcome an infertility diagnosis. Keep reading to learn more.

What is infertility?

Infertility is widely considered to be characterised by the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse (or six months for women over 35). Infertility can occur in both men and women, and happens for many reasons, including ovulation disorders, sperm abnormalities, fallopian tube blockages, uterine or cervical issues, and advancing maternal age. In addition, lifestyle factors can play a considerable role in an individual’s fertility – smoking, being overweight or underweight, consuming alcohol, and being under a lot of stress, are just a few examples.

How many people in the UK are infertile?

The NHS suggests that around one in seven couples in the UK are infertile and will encounter fertility challenges during their reproductive journey. This equates to millions of individuals. However, pinpointing statistics can be difficult as not everyone will seek help – the true figure is likely to be much higher. One thing is for certain: the UK’s birth rate is at an all-time low, according to ONS.

Why infertility isn’t the end of the journey for you

While being diagnosed with infertility may seem like a daunting hurdle, it’s crucial to understand that it doesn’t mark the end of the journey for the majority of individuals and couples. Although it can certainly have an impact on your mental health and can feel difficult to process such a diagnosis, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. According to Fertility Network UK, as many as 50% of couples with an infertility diagnosis will go on to conceive in the next two years without the need for medical intervention, however, the older you are, the less likely this may be. A good first step is to take stock of your lifestyle and make any changes you can to help improve your conception odds.

How is infertility diagnosed?

Diagnosing infertility involves a series of comprehensive fertility tests. If you are one half of a couple, both partners should have the tests as both male and female fertility can be impacted.

Medical evaluation: your fertility doctor will discuss with you your conception history so far, will analyse your medical history, and may carry out a physical evaluation of both you and your partner. You should openly talk about any medical conditions or concerns you have, including your family medical history.

Blood tests: you and your partner will likely need to have blood tests. In women, this can give your doctor an indication of your ovarian reserve, and can uncover any issues that may not be immediately apparent upon physical examination.

Ultrasound: with the help of ultrasound, your fertility doctor can detect any physiological abnormalities within the reproductive organs like the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Semen analysis: when it comes to men, fertility tests will look at sperm count, morphology and motility. 

This brings us to the question: What to do if you’ve been diagnosed with infertility?

Exploring treatment options for individuals and couples diagnosed with infertility

Wondering what to do if you’ve been diagnosed with infertility? Treatments will largely depend on the underlying condition that is causing the infertility.

A series of fertility tests will enable your fertility doctor to provide an accurate diagnosis, or will be able to guide further testing where required. Medical interventions for infertility may include:

  • Fertility medications
  • Supplements
  • IUI or IVF
  • Surgical interventions
  • Donor options

Lifestyle adjustments to help improve your chance of conceiving

As previously mentioned, you can try and make changes to better your lifestyle and your odds of conceiving. This includes:

A) Eat healthy – aim for a balanced diet and combine this with regular moderate exercise. If you combine proper nutrition with enough water intake and 7-9 hours of sleep, you will do wonders for your body!

B) Avoiding harmful substances – don’t smoke, or vape. Staying away from drugs of any sort while limiting your alcohol consumption will help your chance of getting pregnant.

C) Stress relief – incorporate yoga, meditation, or something similar to your daily routine. You can also try out counselling to help give you the tools needed to manage stress and enhance your wider wellbeing.

When a fertility clinic can step in and help

Fertility clinics play a pivotal role in assisting individuals and couples who are facing difficulties conceiving. They will carry out thorough evaluations to diagnose the root cause of the problem and you’ll be presented with the most appropriate options for your individual situation.

If you want to start a family and get the treatment and guidance you deserve, take a look at this fertility clinic in London. Founded in 2004, The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy are a leading fertility clinic in the heart of London. They offer the full range of treatments, including IVF, ICSI, egg freezing, and reproductive immunology treatments. 

Infertility next steps

Although infertility is a serious challenge and an obstacle for most couples, it can be navigated with the careful guidance of a fertility clinic and trusted fertility specialist. Once the underlying cause is understood, your fertility doctor will provide you with their diagnosis and a treatment plan. It’s up to you to follow their plan thoroughly, while also making lifestyle adjustments, and accessing available support networks. You can also talk to other individuals who have been down the same route. Always remember: you are not alone on your fertility journey, and there are resources and communities ready to provide the support you need.

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