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What is infertility?

What is infertility?

Infertility is a common problem affecting one in six couples at some stage of their reproductive life. It is usually defined as the inability of a couple to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse. However, some couples know or suspect they have a fertility problem within a year. Approximately 80% of couples will be pregnant after 12 months of trying, while another 5-15% will conceive in their second year of trying.

Female age is a very important factor to take into consideration when trying to conceive. A woman has a 20-25% chance of conceiving each month in her twenties, 10% each month in her mid-thirties and 5% per month at forty. This is because both the number and quality of women’s eggs decline with age. Success rates for all forms of fertility treatment also decline with female age, so it is important that you seek help early if you are trying to conceive at an older age. Male age also has an influence but to a lesser extent than that seen in women.

Relatively few couples are truly ‘infertile’ and have no chance of conceiving naturally. For many couples, one or a number of factors will be working together to reduce their monthly chance of conception. For some couples, infrequent intercourse or other general health issues can also reduce the chances of conception.

Possible infertility causes for women include:

Possible infertility causes for men include:

  • A low sperm count or poor sperm motility
  • No sperm.

When should we see you at Fertility PLUS

  • If you have not conceived within a year, ask your GP for a referral to the NRFS.
  • If you are over 35, or have any risk factors for infertility, ask your GP for a referral to Fertility Plus or make a private appointment yourself.

How we can help

Our job at Fertility PLUS is to identify possible fertility problems and advise you about treatments that will give you the best possible chance of conception.
National Women's Health
Phone: 09 307 4949
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