We know that having a family doesn’t always go to plan and there may be a lot of heartache to be endured before deciding to embark on seeking any sort of professional support. Dealing with countless advice from friends and family with good intentions can be stressful and there are many couples that are going through similar emotional struggles.

There’s a huge amount of information and best practice out there that is either not known or that can be misunderstood and the thought of getting more information from scientific based talks can sometimes appear cold or intrusive. Many women have admitted to being anxious to take the first steps towards professional support which is why British Mums have teamed up with Bourn Hall, a highly respected and trusted Fertility Clinic that specialises in providing compassionate advice to couples and to offer ways to best handle the the stress of the situation.

1. When should I seek treatment?

Most doctors would advise a couple to seek advice if they have been actively trying to conceive for more than a year. If there are any specific problems, such as irregular periods, or if you are a woman that’s more than 35 years old, you should look to seek advice earlier.

2. What specific tests would you recommend to diagnose infertility?

Firstly, each couple should be aware of your menstrual cycle – and whether it is regular and what the fertile time of the month is and you can test for this using ovulation kits that are available in pharmacies here. Once you see a fertility specialist, there are some basic tests that can be done first:

A sperm count (semen analysis) for your partner.

Blood tests for you, to check your hormone levels

An ultrasound scan of your uterus and ovaries, and a check of the fallopian tubes, to see if there is any anatomical problem.

Other tests that may be needed in particular circumstances.

3.  What are my ‘ovarian reserves’, how does this determine my fertility, and what tests can I do to measure this?

Women are born with a finite supply of eggs and, as we get older, the supply gradually reduces. Usually, the supply doesn’t finish until we are well into our forties but sometimes this can happen earlier than expected. Your doctor can check your egg supply, or ovarian reserve, by measuring a hormone known as AMH (anti-Müllerian hormone) and by performing an ultrasound scan of the ovaries during a period, to check the number of small egg-containing follicles that are present (antral follicle count).

4. Does smoking, drinking or any other lifestyle-related factors affect my fertility?

Undoubtedly. Women who smoke regularly have a reduced ovarian reserve and their eggs tend to be of poorer quality than those from women who have never smoked. This is also true for regular heavy consumption of alcohol. If you get pregnant, whilst undertaking smoking or drinking as above, this can result in a more complicated pregnancy and there may be implications for a baby with a lower birth weight that is not as healthy.

 5. Should I consider genetic testing?

Genetic testing of embryos during IVF treatment is certainly of benefit if there’s a specific disease that runs in the family and if it is known that a couple have an increased risk. Many diseases can be detected this way, but not all. There are a number of conditions where genetic diagnosis is not possible, so it is always important to discuss these issue directly with your doctor.

Some couples may also like to be reassured that their baby will be healthy and genetic testing of an embryo may help with this. It may also be useful for you if you have previously experienced a number of miscarriages to increase your chance of having a successful pregnancy.

If you would like to learn more come along to our upcoming discreet gathering with Bourn Hall’s esteemed Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr Carol Coughlan – Consultant in Reproductive Medicine, you will have the opportunity to hear professional advice as well as have the opportunity for a one on one discussion with Dr Coughlan herself.

This event for British Mums will take place in the intimate setting at Jumeirah’s Rib Room at Jumeirah Emirates Towers in the heart of DIFC on 20th June 2017 from 9.30 am until 11.30am. You are welcome to bring female guests with you who are also interested in learning more. Please kindly confirm your attendance to events@britishmums.com