Fertility Network UK
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I'm 39 years old, is it worth paying for treatment if you husband hasn't stopped smoking?

I've been trying to get pregnant for 13 years. I have endometriosis. Had laparoscopy the removed lesions but have been advises by doctors that it was mild and that it should not effect my fertility. Still it is painful when having penetrative sex. Doctors suggested KY gel but have read this stop sprem so started using conceive plus.

My husband has just been told he hasn't got good sprem mobility last month, after years thinking it was my endo that was the problem.

I also have IBD microscopic colitis which can be painful.

I have stopped all pain medication except paracetamol or co-codamol and have refused the pill obviously. The doctors said they can't give me anything if I'm trying to get pregnant.

Any suggestions for pain free sex? I have just about given up trying for a baby as they said I'm to old to get treatment on NHS.

If we pay we could get treatment but my husband hasn't stopped smoking. I think its a waste of time and money if he's not willing to change his lifestyle. I have and it takes two healthy people to make a baby.

9 Replies

Hi Psychosue,

Sorry to hear you are having these troubles. I also have endo. In terms of painful sex and not wanting to use ky jelly, have you heard of pre-seed ? It is very similar to ky but sperm friendly, it might be worth a try. Google it and see what you think..some couples seem to have done well on it and actually fall pregnant, we haven't but I didn't really appraoch it that way I just wanted more comfort...things are difficult enough without pain in that area aswell! Its not cheap but worth it I figure. X



Poor you, you've been through a very rough time in this over a really long time. You mention a number of different issues that you are having to deal with, and I admire your battle.

I'm not an expert in endo, but I'm frustrated that they didn't pick up on the sperm issues earlier. That does suggest a need to change the lifestyle and quit smoking, or, to look at other options such as fertility treatment. If there is poor sperm, there is a special type of IVF, called ICSI where the sperm is looked at under the microscope and then an individual healthy sperm introduced to the egg (this is often the pictures used on the news for an IVF story). This would possible be the first thing to consider, and your clinic should be talking to you about this, esp if you have been trying for 13 years. If they don't think that will work because of the sperm quality,

you could include using donor sperm, which is a really big decision to make. I'm not sure how the endo affects these types of treatment, so you would need to discuss with them.

There are other further options if you didn't want to live child free, but the smoking may be an issue here.

Good luck

FG x


My advice would be not to give up. I am 39 and was trying to get pregnant for 12 years. We were told we couldn't have IVF on NHS because it probably wouldn't work and we pretty much had no chance naturally. 2 years later we decided to pay and give IVF 1 try so we wouldn't look back in years to come and think what if. I am now 20 weeks pregnant, still in shock! We were one of the lucky ones and it's not always a happy ending but you don't get if you don't try, I'm so glad we did!! Goog Luck!

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I too have endo and we have been struggling to conceive for 8 years. We have had ICSI because of my husbands sperm. My husband smoked through his first sperm test and his motility (speed of sperm moving) was 13%. He stopped smoking and by the time we had the IVF it had gone up to 17%. When we had our second attempt it had increased to 52%. So it definately has a huge affect.

My friend who also smoked for many years was told his initial sperm motility was virtually zero. He stopped smoking and they conceived via ICSI, but I don't know what percentage it improved to, but I presume it must have improved significantly.

Best of luck



Thanks for all the answers, it's great hear some success stories. We've been offered ICSI, just success rates have putting me off. Wished I'd pushed for referral the ACS sooner . I've checked out all the local clinics in my area. My husband is trying to stop smoking.


Hiya, we are on our 2nd round of Ivf treatment. Having treatment on the nhs both partners must have given up smoking for at least 6 months or they will refuse treatment, I am not sure if this applies if you pay private. I have never smoked but my husband smoked all his life at least 20 per day, he gave up smoking boxing day 2007 and hasn't touched a cigarette since.


Hi psychosue. Unfortunately, endometriosis is painful if it gets “bodged” during intercourse! If it is just a lubrication problem you have, then remember that both water and oil-based lubricants have been found to interfere with sperm movement, and some kill or alter the DNA of sperm. There are lubricants that have been made to be fertility friendly. The most popular sperm friendly lubricant is “PreSeed”. Others include ConceivEase, Yes Baby, Conceive Plus, and Zestica. Also, have you ever be offered any treatment for your endometriosis? There are several approaches to dealing with it. It is a gynae problem too, so if it is still very troublesome, then perhaps a referral to a gynaecologist may be the solution for you. Hopefully, if it can be controlled, then your fertility might return. Obviously, too, your husband does need to address the smoking problem. Sperm hate smoke, so it can only be bad for them, so he does need to put in the effort too. Hope a satisfactory solution is soon found for you. Regards Diane


Hi Diane, yes I've been receiving treatment from gynocolgist had laparoscopy in 2910 but they want me to go on the pill but refused as I wanted to get pregnant. They said my endometriosis is mild and should be affecting my fertility. Been using conceive plus. They ACS at local hospital have just told us last month that my husband has low mobility and that I am too old to get treatment on NHS. My husband want to pay to go private but if he's still smoking I think its a waste of time as I know smoke is damaging to sperm. I've asked him to stop be for we go for any treatment.


Hello, so sorry to hear you have such difficulties. We all know how it is.

A few things though that may help:

You say you are taking co-codemol. Are you aware that codeine can stop you from ovulating? I would suggest you stick to the paracetamol if you can, it is the only one that is 'safe' during ttc and pregnancy.

My husband had really bad sperm mobility initially, and he had been out drinking a couple of days before the test and also drinking a lot of coffee. He started eating healthily, taking multi-vitamins (with selenium), went down to one coffee a day and his sperm count rocketed and mobility increased to well over 'normal' levels. Perhaps ask him to cut down to 5 per day and not drink alcohol/coffee for just two weeks, then get tested again. Hopefully the results will shock him into realising the effect his lifestyle has.

Painfree sex: for me it is hard but mostly a case of my hubby having a LOT of patience and spending a lot of time 'getting me ready', if you know what I mean.

Re IVF, I know my clinic won't accept you as patients (NHS or private) unless you have given up smoking for at least 6 months. Perhaps you should contact the NHS smoking helplines and get the info packs etc, and try to motivate him that way?

Best of luck to you xx


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