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IVF isn’t the first step in fertility treatment for everyone

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

What are fertility treatment options?

Did you know…. There are numerous treatments available to support couples who can’t conceive. The treatments offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

I have written this blog to share other fertility treatments that are available to you. We are here to help you make an informed decision and let you know that IVF isn’t the only route you can take in order to become pregnant.

IVF is one type of assisted reproductive technology (ART). ART is used when you are not able to conceive through sexual intercourse.

If you are having difficulty conceiving your doctor will perform investigations to try to find an underlying cause or medical condition that is related to why you aren’t conceiving. If that underlying cause of infertility or medical condition can be treated, it’s possible that you could then conceive from sexual intercourse.

IVF may be the first fertility treatment offered in some situations, for example, if you have

  • Premature ovulation failure (also called premature menopause) with donor eggs (Donor egg IVF)

  • If you are using your own frozen eggs or donor eggs for other medical reasons e.g., after certain cancer treatments

  • If the reason you can’t conceive is due to problems affecting the sperm.

But it’s worth considering that other treatments are available

and IVF treatment isn’t always needed.

Other Fertility Treatment Options

Ovulation Induction: If you are not ovulating

The most common length of a menstrual cycle is between 26-28 days long and therefore most women have a menstrual period every month. Some people have slightly longer or slightly shorter menstrual cycles than this. However, if you do not bleed for months, it could be because you aren’t ovulating.

When an egg isn’t released by the ovaries during your menstrual cycle, it’s called anovulation. This usually shows up as infrequent or absent menstrual periods.

When anovulation is temporary i.e., when you don’t ovulate for one, two or even three months, it is not worrying and can be normal as long as it happens on one-off, isolated or rare occasions. This can occur after taking certain drugs e.g., progestogens used to stop your period when you are travelling on holiday or after a miscarriage where it may take one or two cycles for your usual menstrual cycle to restore.

If you are ovulating infrequently e.g., every 2-6 months or more it could take longer for you to conceive through sexual intercourse than someone with a much shorter menstrual cycle. Fertilisation cannot occur in the female reproductive system without the presence of an egg.

If you have sex just before or very soon after ovulation, you could become pregnant. If you haven’t ovulated for months and have sex, the sperm will not meet an egg and it won’t be possible to become pregnant until the next time you ovulate.