Who can I turn to for support and advice?
There are various organisations that can offer you help and advice, the organisations we work closely with are Fertility Counselling Service NI and Infertility Network UK.
Can I do anything to improve my fertility?
A number of lifestyle factors are thought to influence a couples’ fertility. The chances of conception may be reduced if either partner is overweight.
Smoking and excess alcohol consumption can also reduce fertility as well as impacting upon the success of subsequent fertility treatments.
Can I take over the counter medicines to help my fertility?
We cannot recommend taking any over the counter medicines to enhance fertility.
There is no proven medical evidence that any available products result in more pregnancies.
What is a normal body mass index?
BMI is the relationship between a person’s height and weight (weight [kg] divided by height [m2]).
A normal body mass index is between 20-25, the over weight range is above 25. You should aim to have a body mass index between 20-25 before starting fertility investigations / treatment.
Fertility treatment is not available to couples in the Regional Fertility Centre where the female partner’s BMI does not meet the criteria.
Download the Department of Health eligibility criteria for publicly funded treatment.
Why is body mass index important?
Women who are obese (defined as a BMI>30kg/m2 respond less well to the drugs used for fertility treatment.
Obesity may also affect the safety of procedures such as egg collection. There is also an increased risk of miscarriage and of serious pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure; pregnancy related diabetes, Caesarean section, wound infections, blood clots and death.
There is also an increased risk of birth defects, stillbirths and perinatal death in babies born to obese mothers. (ref: Impact of Obesity on Female Reproductive Health: British Fertility Society, Policy and Practice Guidelines. Human Fertility, Dec 2007)
What can be done to improve sperm quality?
There are no effective simple measures to improve sperm quality. However, smoking, excessive alcohol, cannabis and anabolic steroids all have a detrimental effect on sperm quality.