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Frequently asked questions - FAQs

1. How many couples are affected by fertility issues?

One in seven couples in the uk are affected by fertility issues

2. What is the difference between primary and secondary infertility?

Primary infertility is infertility in a couple who have never had a child. Secondary infertility is failure to conceive following a previous pregnancy.

3. What are the main causes of infertility?

Infertility is a complex issue and can involve both male factors (including abnormal sperm parameters) and female factors such as ovulatory issues, tubal damage, and endometriosis. Lifestyle choices such as diet, alcohol and/or tobacco consumption or drugs misuse can also be contributory factors

4. Does alcohol intake affect fertility?

Yes. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance on the consumption of alcohol for patients undergoing fertility treatment is as follows -

Women should be advised that any alcohol in excess of 1-2 units once or twice per week appears to impair female fertility.

Men may consume up to 4 units of alcohol (2 pints of normal beer) per day without apparent detriment to fertility.

5.Can psychological factors affect fertility?

We don’t know exactly how state of mind affects human reproduction but it is very possible that there is a certain correlation. It is very dificult to measure the exact extent.

6. To what degree is woman’s fertility affected by her age?

It is important to realize that female fertility starts to decrease at the age of 35 and once a woman reaches 40, her chances to get pregnant are very low.

7. How often should I have intercourse to get pregnant?

The human egg, after its release from the ovary during ovulation, is capable of fertilization for about 24 hours. Sperm can survive in the female’s reproductive system for about 72 hours and is capable of fertilization during this entire time. It is not recommended to focus on a precise determination of ovulation and strictly plan intercourse for this time. "Too much planning" can be harmful and cause friction in the relationship.

8. When should I start looking for help of a specialist to answer my fertility questions?

It all depends on your age, reason for your unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant. For women over the age of 33 that didn’t get pregnant after two years of trying, we recommend that a visit of a specialist is not delayed.

9. What investigations are carried out at the time of our first visit to the consultant?

If at all possible, both partners should be present at the first visit. After considering the familial history, the female patient undergoes a blood test to measure her ovarian reserve and will be asked to attend for a vaginal ultrasound scan. The male partner will be asked to make an appointment with the embryologists for a semen sample to be analysed.

10. Are there any complications or side effects associated with diagnosis and treatment of infertility?

All medical actions have certain risks but in reproductive medicine these risks are very low. There can be complications associated with anesthesia, bleeding, infection and hyperstimulation.

11.Does assisted reproduction guarantee the birth of a healthy child?

The risk of a handicapped child being born as a result of assisted reproduction is the same as children that have been conceived naturally. Assisted reproduction can, however, help couples that are known carriers of genetic disorders such as haemophilia, or if they are at an increased risk of having a handicapped child.

12. Can we choose the sex of our baby?

No, we do not offer sex selection.

13. Does a chemotherapy treatment in the past affect our chances to get pregnant?

Yes, in many cases men and women may become sterile following chemotherapy treatment. There are, however, documented cases of a complete return of fertility after the treatment is complete. We would still recommend sperm or embryo freezing before commencing chemotherapy.

14. Will I need many treatments to get pregnant?

With intrauterine insemination, you will need 3-6 attempts to get pregnant. If you don’t get pregnant, you will most likely be recommended IVF.

IVF helps 70-80% women get pregnant during three attempts. Success rate of egg donation is around 55-60% and therefore, you will need maximum of 2-3 attempts.

15. Are the medications that I will be using dangerous?

Many studies have been carried out to determine the negative side effects of the hormonal medications used for ovarian stimulation. It has been demonstrated that apart from hyperstimulation and an increased number of multiple pregnancies, these medications do not have any negative side effects.

16. Will my treatment be covered by my health insurance company?

For patients from the UK it is very unlikely that your health insurance company will cover fertility treatments.

17. When do I have to pay for any treatment I decide upon ?

We request that you pay your invoice before the treatment begins. Upon completion of your IVF/ICSI/FET treatment you will receive an additional invoice for the medication you have used.

18. Can I pay my bill by credit card ?

Yes, you can pay your bill by cheque, debit card, or by credit card.



Mr F Mustafa MBBCh FRCOG JBOG

Consultant Gynaecologist
Person Responsible and Consultant Lead
Reproductive Medicine and Surgery
GMC No: 4342625

01642 714445

51 High Street
STOKESLEY
North Yorkshire
TS9 5AD