Q&A: Increasing fertility

Dr Bronwyn Moore (gynaecologist) answers:

This is perhaps one of the biggest concerns of couples of all ages, "What if wehn we want to fall pregnant we can't?" Infertility is defined as the inability to fall pregnant after one year of regular unprotected intercourse.

First, check that you are having intercourse over the days that you are most fertile. You can look up fertility or ovulation calculators on the internet to find out how to calculate your most fertile days. Both you and your partner need to follow a healthy eating plan, do regular moderate exercise, don't smoke and limit your alcohol intake.

A good mulitvitamin for both of you is advisable, and don't forget your folic acid if you're planning a pregnancy. If you're doing all of this, and you are still not pregnant after a year (or six months if you're over 35), then It's time to visit your doctor or fertility expert.

Aaprt from a thorough clinical exam and sonar there are numerous blood tests which may shed light on the cause of the problem, for example thyroid disease can affect fertility. Ovulation can also be confirmed with a timed blood test, and a semen test will determine sperm number, shaoe and motility. 

Please remember that with all the assistance available, most couples can conceive, often it's a simple problem to solve and IVF isn't necessarily the option, so seek advice from a professional.