Why am I not getting pregnant?
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Robert Winston
Fertility expert and one of the world's pioneers of IVF and Fertility Medicine. BAFTA award-winning television presenter and Member of The House of Lords in the UK.
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Tests of Infertility

When should I start having fertility tests?

If you are not getting pregnant as quickly as you had expected, you might want to start thinking about having fertility tests. It is absolutely vital NOT to make any decisions about treatment until you have got the results of those tests.
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In Short
It takes most couples about 5 months to conceive. 

If you have been trying for a child for about one year, with no success, you can start thinking about talking to your Doctor.

If you know you have particular medical issues that may impact on getting pregnant, or you are over 30, then you might want to start talking to your Doctor earlier than this. 

Do not seek IVF until you have had a full range of tests. There may be a treatment tailored perfectly to your situation – which will probably have a far higher chance of success than IVF.

When should I start having fertility tests?

The first point is please do not start having tests AFTER you have started having IVF treatment. Have them BEFOREHAND. The tests may show that IVF is not the right treatment for you.

Do not simply go for IVF without having a clear idea why you are having IVF treatment. Most people with infertility never need this complex treatment.

The normal human is pretty much the most naturally infertile mammal on the planet. The overall monthly chance of a normal woman getting pregnant is no more than about 18 to 25% per menstrual cycle. And, of course, humans are only really fertile for about one-third of their natural life and tend to be less fertile as they get older. We spend a long time growing to maturity and a somewhat longer time as menopausal adults.

On average, it takes most couples perhaps five months to conceive normally. So it really is not at all abnormal to take up to a year to conceive. Testing is generally indicated after one year of childlessness unless there are specific indications that there may be a problem, in which case earlier medical advice may be justified.


A typical indication of the need for earlier treatment might be very irregular periods or no periods at all, excessive hair growth, a history of abdominal surgery or a burst appendix, repeated miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, problems whilst wearing an intrauterine contraceptive coil and a family history of early menopause. Both men and women who have suffered genital tract infection may wish to seek earlier investigation, as should men with a swelling in the testis, a history of significant groin injury or testicular surgery as a child or adult. In particular, women much over 30 years old are likely to be less fertile and may take longer to get pregnant. Consequently, although there may be little wrong, they may wish to be investigated sooner.

The Genesis Research Trust

Despite countless breakthroughs in medical science, we still do not understand why some pregnancies will end in tragedy. For most of us, having a child of our own is the most fulfilling experience of our lives. All of us can imagine the desperation and sadness of parents who lose a baby, and the life-shattering impact that a disabled or seriously ill child has on a family.

Professor Robert Winston’s Genesis Research Trust raises money for the largest UK-based collection of scientists and clinicians who are researching the causes and cures for conditions that affect the health of women and babies.

Essential Parent is proud to support their wonderful work. You can learn more about them here.

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.