24-30 September 2018

Join us for fertility discussions, advice & support

When to seek help

For heterosexual couples:

  • If the woman is under 35, see your GP after 12 months trying to conceive
  • If the woman is aged 35-40, see your GP after 9 months trying to conceive
  • If the woman is aged 40+, see your GP after 6 months of trying to conceive

Your GP may arrange a blood test to confirm ovulation is taking place, and a semenanalysis.  If you meet the eligibility criteria, your GP can refer you for a consultation with a fertility specialist, or you can make a private appointment.

What to discuss with your doctor:

Lifestyle, especially alcohol, caffeine, drugs, exercise, weight gain or loss, smoking, and taking folic acid

  • Use of alternative or complementary medicine
  • Occupational exposure to potential hazards, especially heat for men
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Fertility in any previous relationships
  • Previous surgery
  • Testicular injury
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease or sexually transmitted infections
  • General health
  • Investigations and checks
  • Up to date cervical smear
  • Rubella vaccination
  • Blood test for FSH, and possibly progesterone (in women); AMH; oestrogen; LH (cycle day two or three)
  • Semen analysis
  • Physical examination of both partners
  • Referral for tubal patency, by laparoscopy or hysterosalpingogram (HSG), depending on what else is found

Your doctor should offer prompt referral to a fertility specialist if any of the following applies:
- Any abnormal or unusual findings from your medical history, examination or tests
- You have been trying for more than 12 months
- You have been trying for more than 6 months and the woman is younger than 27 or older than 35
- Close members of your family having had menopause before the age of 40
- Two or more consecutive miscarriages

Types of referral which should be offered
Offer of public referral to a fertility clinic if you meet the eligibility criteria (the consultation is free, but you may need to wait)
(For this type of referral, the preliminary tests need to be finished. In some areas there are extra restrictions around the woman’s age and BMI that tie in with eligibility for publicly funded treatment)
Offer of private referral to fertility specialist or clinic (you pay for the consultation)
You can make an appointment with a fertility specialist without a GP referral at any time if you want prompt action taken.


See your doctor straight away if you exhibit any of the following symptoms:


  • Abnormal shape and size of testicles / anatomical problem
  • Previous genital surgery
  • Previous sexually transmitted infections in the past


  • Cycles shorter than 3 weeks or longer than 5 weeks (one question around these factors i.e. normal cycle length, or do the presence of these symptoms mean – more fertile, less fertile, see doctor)
  • No periods at all
  • Unwanted hair growth
  • Jawline acne
  • You have taken time off school or work due to period pain
  • Sex is avoided due to pain experienced
  • Intermittent pain or spotting/bleeding throughout cycle
  • Intermittent pain or spotting/bleeding at ovulation
  • Heavy menstruation – if you have to change tampon/pad more than every three hours
  • Family history of menopause before the age of 50 years