18 months trying... what.to.do?

Feels a bit weird being a guy on this but I want to be proactive.

We've been trying for a child for 18 months and we went to the doctors to "chat". My girlfriend is 36 this year and one blood test indicated she wasn't ovulating. The second indicated that she was. It looks like an inconsistency thing. My semen analysis was ok but the volume was a bit low.

Doctors said we have to be trying for 24 months. Worryingly I read an NHS website this morning that said 36 months. That'd kill my other half.

While the NHS isn't perfect and it is frustrating (especially if you ain't got the monies) I want to remain proactive and doing stuff rather than letting it drain and depress us.

Other than 'having sex' and making sure we're eating and living healthily... is there anything anyone recommends to stack the odds in our favour?

I'm not going to sit around waiting.

7 Replies

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  • I totally understand where you are coming from. We tried for 7 years before finally being referred for IVF. Like you, we had all the required tests - each came back with different results. His sperm count was low, then normal but not good morphology/motility then low but good quality!!?? My blood tests indicated normal ovulation (despite having periods 3 months apart!?) Then I was told I probably had a "touch of PCOS" Did these Drs get their licenses from Xmas crackers? Then it was discovered I had uterine polyps - that was the reason I used to be irregular and then bleed for 6 months!! I have had them removed but unfortunately my hubby does have a varicocele which cannot be treated so his sperm count will always be low. Anyway, back to you. You may have already tried everything but I would recommend reflexology, acupuncture, extra conception supplements, charting her menstrual cycle (specifically cervical fluid) and lying with bum raised after sex! It hasn't worked for us but it might for other people. Good luck

  • Thank you Katie. We've been taking supplements which is probably a healthy thing to do anyway. I'm keen to try acupuncture because it's helped with with sports injuries so I know it does 'something'. Thanks for a plan of action. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and say a little prayer for you. On one hand I'm grateful we have an NHS (compared with 3rd world countries) but on the other hand the inefficiencies are shocking for the money that goes into them. I blame the government whole hearted but that's another story.

  • Hi iamallen

    So sorry to hear of you and your girlfriend’s dilemma. I think we have to remember that a woman’s fertility does start to decline at around the age of 36yrs., so because of this and added to the fact that she appears to have irregular ovulation, it might be worth applying to your Primary Care Trust (PCT), to see if you can have treatment earlier? If your girlfriend’s other hormone results are within normal ranges, then it could be that she just needs drug treatment to regulate her ovulation. Of course, I do not know this for certain, as she would need other tests done e.g. checking Fallopian tubes to see if there is a blockage etc. As the previous reply suggests – yes, you need to keep on a healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids and perhaps do some exercise daily. Keeping within a normal weight range might be beneficial too. Regarding sperm volume and quality, some men find that taking added supplements of selenium and zinc can sometimes improve things, as these are need for cell repair and growth. Regular intercourse too will help to maintain sperm production.

    If you have a look at our website infertilitynetworkuk.com you will be able to see ways of how we can support you at this time, and also find the template for a letter to send to your PCT in order to request funding, followed by an appeal one if you are turned down. Have a look at the I N UK website on the Home Page. Over to the left, there is a line that says “For anyone trying to conceive”. Click on this and the next page to come up has an icon over on the right hand side “FFF”. Click on this and then over to the left you click on “FFF in England”. This will reveal a lot of “pink” writing. Scroll down towards the bottom and you will see a section called “Resources”. There you will find a template letter requesting funding and one underneath, which is an appeal letter. Fill whichever one in and send it to the PCT covering your GP’s practice. To find the address, scroll down a little further to the “Useful Links” section – Find my PCT. Click on that and all you need to do is to put the postcode in and the address will come up.

    Of course, I wish you both well at this time.

    Diane

  • Hi iamallen,

    I guess DianeArnold explained how you can apply etc. I sometimes think that GPs are a bit reluctant to refer people too early. However, the it's likely you will be spending a few months with tests etc anyway before you could start with treatment etc. So maybe urge your GP again, especially with your partner being 36.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought all the 2/3 years wait only apply to treatments such as IUI and IVF, not other ovulation stimulating drugs such as clomid - so fight for it.

    BTW well done for taking control. This whole thing can be so hard for women especially. Having a proactive & understanding partner can be very helpful.

    Good luck.

  • what a relief to see a man posting ...

    i understand completely what you feel, we were ttc for over 2 years and nothing... then we started to see our GP , and the tests started... turned out that my wife had a low. almost zero, egg reserve.. but at our ages 46 & 42 the NHS was a non starter...

    i dont know where you got the time-scales from, because if shes over 35 ,, and not got pregnant after 6 months they advice is seek help,, but it depends on your local PCT whether you will get IUI or IVF on the NHS...

    dont give up, because time is the enemy in all this, dont get fobbed off, be persistent be a total pain in the arse...but get things moving... your partners fertility is declining quite fast now, and in all these treatments the age and the quality of the eggs is crucial

    because of our condition, we ended up going private, using donor eggs, and are now on the 2ww...

    glad to see another man who takes this IF thing seriously, if you fancy it i set up a facebook group for men , aimed at addressing the IVF thing from our perspective facebook.com/groups/mentalk...

  • "36yrs., so because of this and added to the fact that she appears to have irregular ovulation, it might be worth applying to your Primary Care Trust (PCT), to see if you can have treatment earlier?"

    "Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought all the 2/3 years wait only apply to treatments such as IUI and IVF, not other ovulation stimulating drugs such as clomid - so fight for it. "

    "f shes over 35 ,, and not got pregnant after 6 months they advice is seek help,, but it depends on your local PCT whether you will get IUI or IVF on the NHS"

    Thanks very much everyone for taking the time to comment. I'm so glad I did because it's proved invaluable.

    We were told we had to wait 24 months by our GP but I'm probably going to be a pleasant but persistant pain the arse now. I can see how it's very easy to get angry... I want to stay solution focused.

    @Dave: do you have a reference I can print because it'd be nice to bring something. Plus I'm going to see what the story is about funding from our PCT.

    Thanks again everyone!

  • It's cool... just been reading the NICE guide lines. I believe it's a misinterpretation. Either accidental or deliberate, who knows.

    One point says that infertility is defined when you fail to conceive after 24 months but a second point goes on to say that women diagnosed with certain problems or over the age of 35 should be investigated sooner.

    This is good stuff.

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