When and if you begin ART is a very personal decision that can ultimately only be decided by you and your partner. However over the years that we have treated couples for fertility we have devised a few common sense guidelines.
Knowledge is power. The more you know and understand about your body, the easier it is to adjust your lifestyle to improve your physical health. The best way to get a thorough understanding of your overall fertile health is through a few simply investigations.
We encourage women to undertake these investigations early in the trying to conceive (TTC) process:
Hormonal Blood Tests:
Cycle Day 3
- Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and estradiol (E2)
Cycle Day 21 if you have a 28 day cycle, or 7 days prior to your start of your period, or at least day 28 if you have a particularly long cycle:
- Progesterone and estradiol (E2)
This ultrasound provides a thorough examination of your ovaries, cervix, vagina, uterus, bladder and fallopian tubes. It can be performed at any time of your cycle. However, we recommend after cycle day 21 as this will give you a good idea of the thickness of your endometrial lining. A transvaginal ultrasound cannot detect endometriosis or blocked fallopian tubes.
For the blood tests and transvaginal ultrasound you will need a referral from your GP or some registered natural therapists can also provide this.
We encourage all men to have a semen analysis undertaken early on in ttc process. Ideally this semen analysis would contain the following:
- Motility: Movement of the sperm/their ability to swim
- Morphology: Percentage of sperm that have a normal shape
- Sperm DNA fragmentation
- Immumobead test: sperm antibodies
For the semen analysis you will need a referral from your GP or some registered natural therapists can also provide this.
If you have been TTC for more than 18 months if you are under 35, or more 6 months if you are over 35, we recommend you consult a fertility specialist to have the following investigations undertaken:
This test determines whether the fallopian tubes are open or blocked and if there is a blockage, where it is. This test alone can sometimes unblock the fallopian tubes. It can also help determine whether there are any congenital uterine anomalies, polyps, fibroids or uterine scar tissue.
Ovarian Reserve (AMH) blood test:
This blood test can be a guide to your ovarian reserve or how many eggs you have left. While this is not 100% accurate it is a good guide to understanding the length of your potential fertility and your chance of success using ART.
This key hole surgery which examines the interior of the abdominal or pelvic cavities for the diagnosis and/or treatment of a number of diseases and conditions. This is an invasive procedure that is useful for removing endometriosis, fibroids and adhesions that could pose potential problems when TTC. Currently, a laproscopy is the only accurate way to diagnose endometriosis.
At Happy Healthy Clinic we recommend you undertake all three of the above investigations before undertaking IVF.
Time is of the essence:
How long should you try to conceive naturally before deciding to try ART? This is a very complex question and is very individual in its answer. Before trying ART we strongly recommend getting your body (and your partner’s body) in peak condition. Many aspects of this website will help guide you to your peak condition but some broad basic concepts include:At least 7hrs quality sleep a night.
Undertaking moderately intense exercise most days of the week.
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet containing mostly fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, other seafood and minimal red meat.
A diet that includes almost no packaged or processed food.
Drinking at least 2 Litres of clean, filtered water a day.
Reducing your alcohol intake to 3 standard drinks a week or less.
Reducing your stress levels and focusing on living gently for your mind and body.
Taking appropriate fertility supplements for your body and its requirements.
Seek out a registered Acupuncturist who is an expert in fertility and women’s health and begin weekly or fortnightly treatments.
You may find after taking these steps that your fertile health improves so much that conception occurs naturally. For many people the idea of waiting any longer for a baby is almost unbearable. But it is important to accept that the healthier the ingredients (the egg and the sperm) the more likely conception will occur (naturally or otherwise) and the healthier the mum and baby will be. For your overall health and fertile health to improve the above concepts need at least 3 months to make a noticeable effect for most people.
If you do not conceive naturally, you will know that the ingredients in the ART process are the best they can be which will improve your chances of successful ART and a healthy child.
Age is a factor:
Age is a growing factor associated with fertility issues as many women leave having children to later in life than a decade ago. Often age will determine how long you should TTC before undertaking ART. Some broad guidelines where age is concerned:
- At 30, the chance of conceiving each month is about 20%.
- At 40 it’s around 5%.
Fertility facts you should know:
In six months, only 60% of fertile people conceive.
- Within 12 months, 80% of fertile people will have conceived.
- Within two years, 95% of fertile people (female aged under 38) will have conceived.
- Once a woman is over 35, her chances of becoming pregnant reduce significantly.