Many factors can affect a woman’s fertility, some of which only become apparent when you begin trying for a baby because we spend years trying to avoid pregnancies throughout our earlier years. However, it is reassuring to know that there are fertility treatment options available, including IVF, which can overcome the majority of the causes of female infertility.
An IVF fertility assessment at The Fertility Centre will help identify if any of the following factors are affecting your chance of conceiving.
How does age affect a women's fertility?
There are many factors that can impact a couple’s likelihood of falling pregnant, but the most important one is the female partner’s age.
Women are born with a certain number of eggs, and both egg quantity and quality decline with age. Fertility starts to rapidly decline in a woman’s mid-30s. By the time a woman has reached her 40s her chances of natural conception, in any given month, have reached single digit percentages.
While a healthy lifestyle can boost a woman’s fertility and is good for the health of the baby, it cannot reduce the impact of the aging process on her reproductive system.
The decline of the quality of eggs with age can also cause other problems such as significantly higher miscarriage rates, and increased risks of genetic variations (especially Down syndrome). Age also contributes to an increase in uterine conditions such as endometriosis.
Fortunately, advances in reproductive technology can help to deliver healthy children at later ages. IVF treatment is possible through a woman’s 30s and early 40s and has helped to start families for many Australians. The key benefit in using IVF is the scientists can see and therefore select the best eggs, sperm and then embryos, for transfer. The Fertility Centre offers proven IVF expertise including more affordable forms of treatment and is backed by Australia’s leading fertility provider, Virtus Health.
What women's health conditions affect fertility?
One of the first steps in determining why a couple can’t conceive is to check whether the female partner is ovulating (producing an egg) every month. Conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome can cause ovulatory problems. Other female factors include blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, or conditions such as endometriosis
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): Symptoms of PCOS may include irregular periods (or no period at all), and abnormal bleeding. A simple hormone blood test and ultrasound scan can be used to determine if you have PCOS.
- Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus establishes itself in other parts of the body, which can obstruct fertilisation and implantation of the embryo. Symptoms may include painful menstrual periods, pelvic pain, or pain during intercourse. Endometriosis can be detected by an ultrasound or a laparoscopy (key-hole surgery), which provide detailed information about the condition of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and pelvic cavity.
- Blocked or damaged tubes: Egg fertilisation usually occurs in the fallopian tubes, so if you have tubal scarring or damage (from a previous pregnancy, infection or operation), or blockages in the tubes, it may stop you from falling pregnant. A simple test, placing dye in the uterus, can detect if this is the case.
An IVF fertility assessment at The Fertility Centre will help identify whether you have a condition that may be affecting your ability to conceive. Our fertility specialists will explain any conditions that may be affecting your ability to conceive, and can coordinate other treatment options for gynaecological conditions if needed.
How can I improve my natural fertility?
A healthy lifestyle can boost a woman’s fertility and is good for the health of the baby. Here are some lifestyle tips:
- Weight: Being either overweight or underweight can reduce your chance of natural conception, and the chance of success with fertility treatment. If you’re unsure, you can calculate your BMI here.
- Smoking: Smoking damages egg quality and should be stopped before starting any fertility treatment. It reduces your chance of conceiving, and may have an adverse effect on your pregnancy.
- Alcohol intake: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can decrease your chances of falling pregnant. While it’s fine to enjoy a glass or two of wine every now and then, it’s important not to ‘over do’ it.
- Recreational drugs: The use of recreational drugs, such as Marijuana, can also affect fertility.
When to seek advice?
One in six couples has difficulty becoming pregnant. If you know or suspect that factors on the female or male side may be affecting your chance of falling pregnant, it could be time to seek advice. Doctors advise that couples seek advice after 12 months of trying when the woman is under 35, or after 6 months of trying if the female partner is aged 36 or older.
If you know or believe you have a gynaecological condition that may be affecting your ability to conceive, we also recommend booking an appointment with a fertility specialist as soon as possible.
Just because conception is not happening as quickly as you would like, it does not necessarily mean that you are infertile, or that you will need to undergo IVF treatment. But for peace of mind, it is wise to have some tests done with our expert fertility team.
A woman’s age significantly impacts her chance of conception, both naturally and through fertility treatments, including IVF. Whilst most fertility issues can be solved with the correct treatment, the deterioration of a woman’s egg quality with age is not one of them.
How much does an IVF fertility assessment cost?
For couples that are already considering IVF treatment, or who have undergone IVF elsewhere and are looking for a second opinion, The Fertility Centre offers an affordable option for re-assessment and treatment, with proven IVF success rates.
For an affordable fertility assessment by fertility experts, book an appointment with The Fertility Centre today. We have seven convenient locations in Queensland, New South Wales & Victoria and bulk bill many of the tests involved to minimise your out-of-pocket cost without compromising on the level of care. A couple’s IVF fertility assessment ranges from just $159 - $250.