It is not unusual for a couple to take up to a year to conceive naturally.
However after this time some baseline investigations to make sure that there is no underlying problem may be advised. There may be some fairly strong indicators as to the source of the difficulty. For example very irregular periods are often associated with a failure to ovulate every cycle, while a previous history of pelvic infection may predispose to tubal pathology.
For many the reassurance that there is nothing significantly wrong is all that is required.
An ultrasound scan is an extremely helpful initial step in the investigation of subfertility. Performed at the appropriate time of the cycle it can check for abnormalities of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes as well as comment on the function of the ovaries and endometrium (womb lining). Swabs can be taken to check for previous infection at the time of a scan and any blood tests organised to check for ovulation. In this way many of the causes of subfertility can be diagnosed or excluded in one visit.
Your IVF or Fertility Specialist may want you to have the patency of your tubes checked. Hysterosalpingo-Constrast-Sonography or HyCoSy is the first line non-invasive ultrasound-based technique which can determine tubal patency. At OMNI in St Leonards and Penrith we perform outpatient HyCoSy (Hysterosalpingo-Contrast-Sonography), assess the position of the ovaries for egg retrieval as well as evaluating ovarian morphology; all important information in the work up of the sub fertile couple.
Conceiving with a fertility treatment
All women who conceive following fertility treatment should have an early pregnancy scan to locate the pregnancy because of the increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. Different fertility treatments include ovulation induction or ovarian stimulation, IVF, ICSI and GIFT. Heterotopic pregnancy occurs when there is a simultaneous intra- and extra-uterine pregnancy. The rate in natural pregnancies is very rare indeed (1 in 30,000 pregnancies); but with IVF the rate can be as high as 1 in 35 to in 1 in 100 pregnancies. Again ultrasound can help in the diagnosis.