National Fertility Awareness Week

National Fertility Awareness Week: Where Should You Go If You’re Concerned About Your Fertility?

 

The 31st October – 6th November marks National Fertility Awareness Week. For many people, issues related to fertility are not talked about enough, and in many cases are misrepresented, with many people feeling like they are alone in their struggles. If you’re at all concerned about fertility, there is plenty of information and help available to you, as well as the support of others who share your experiences.

 

About National Fertility Awareness Week

With 1 in 6 couples in the UK facing fertility issues, National Fertility Awareness Week provides the opportunity to open up the discussion around fertility issues, as well as dispel some of the myths. Many people think that fertility problems typically affect career women of a certain age who have ‘left it too late’ to have children, which is not always the case. The key aim of the week is to paint a true picture of fertility, showing the perspective from a man’s point of view as well as raise money to help support the work of Fertility Network UK and other charities.

 

The reality of fertility in the UK

Fertility issues relate to couples who may have difficulty conceiving. According to the NHS, 84% of couples will conceive naturally within a year through having regular unprotected sex. They say that for every 100 couple trying to conceive naturally:

  • 84 couples will conceive within the first year
  • 92 couples will conceive within the second year
  • 93 couples will conceive within the third year

After the three years, the chance of conceiving within the next year will go down to 25%. It’s at this point that many couples decide to seek help, although others will want to see their GP sooner.

 

When to seek help with fertility

Although it can take years of trying to conceive, especially after using contraception for a long period of time, you may wish to seek help from your GP if you have not conceived within a year of trying. If however, you are a woman aged 35 or over or you suspect that you may have fertility issues, you should go to your GP as soon as possible. Your GP will be able to carry out tests and find out if there are any specific causes for your inability to conceive, as well as advise on treatments and lifestyle changes you can make which could help. After a year of trying without conception, a couple will be diagnosed as infertile.

Some of the questions you should ask yourself if you’re concerned over your fertility include:

  • How long have you been trying to conceive?
  • Are you aged 35 or over?
  • Do you have regular periods?
  • Have you been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome?
  • Is there a chance you may have contracted a sexual transmitted disease such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea or other STD, or have been treated for one in the past?
  • Is there a history of fertility problems in your family?

By working out the answers to these questions, you may be able to pinpoint the reasons why you are finding it difficult to conceive, and can discuss these with your doctor.

In the majority of cases, an identifiable cause can be found, which can be found within either the man or the woman, whilst 25% of cases will be unexplained. Following a healthy diet and lifestyle can help to improve fertility, whilst staying up to date on medical checks and dates is important too.

 

Types of fertility treatment available

If you’ve been trying to conceive for over a year, there are treatments that are available to you which could help your fertility. These include medical treatment to treat a lack of regular ovulation, surgical procedures to treat certain conditions, as well as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) which works as a form of assisted conception. Some of these treatments will be covered by the NHS, but others you may wish to seek privately. It is recommended that you carry out thorough checks on your chosen private clinic, and ensure that they are licensed for fertility treatments by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). Fertility Network UK and other charities can provide you with help and advice about fertility issues, and guide you to areas where you can find further support.

Show your support for National Fertility Awareness Week, by visiting the campaign website for further details and getting involved in fundraising activities. You can also share support on social media using the hashtags #NFAWUK #HiddenFace and #fertilityin5.