Treatment pathway FAQs
How do I access the Regional Fertility Centre?
If you are concerned that you have a fertility problem, you should first get an appointment with your GP.
You and your partner should be assessed as a couple at the same time, rather than one after the other.
Your GP should carry out an initial assessment and decide if referral to the Regional Fertility Centre is appropriate.
Some patients may already be attending a gynaecologist at their local hospital, who will carry out initial tests (and possibly first-line treatment) before referring on to the Regional Fertility Centre if necessary.
- Am I entitled to publicly funded fertility treatment?
How long will I have to wait for publicly funded fertility treatment?
There is a waiting list for publicly funded fertility treatment. Your name will be added to the waiting list when a decision has been made on the most appropriate treatment for you.
What happens if I am not eligible for publicly funded fertility treatment?
Patients who are not eligible for publicly funded fertility treatment can choose to have private fertility treatment at the Regional Fertility Centre.
What is the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)?
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is the independent regulator overseeing the use of gametes and embryos in fertility treatment and research.
The HFEA licenses fertility clinics and centres that carry out in vitro fertilisation (IVF), other assisted conception procedures and human embryo research.
What causes infertility?
It is estimated that one third of infertility cases can be attributed to factors that affect men and one third to factors that affect women.
For the remaining third of infertile couples, infertility is usually caused by a combination of problems affecting both partners. However, in some cases the infertility is unexplained.
The most common causes of male infertility include azoospermia (no sperm) and oligospermia (low sperm count).
Causes of female infertility include:
- ovulation disorder
- blocked fallopian tubes (this can occur when a woman has had pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis)
- congenital anomalies (birth defects) involving the structure of the uterus and uterine fibroids
It is very important to avoid blaming yourself or your partner, even if one of you has an obvious problem.
Sometimes no cause can be found for a couple’s failure to conceive, despite intensive investigation. This can be distressing and difficult to understand, but it does happen reasonably frequently.