Infertility: General information

Management of fertility problems has been a central part of my practice for the last 20 years.

I can think of no more satisfying area in medicine than helping couples achieve their dream of making a family.

While I am proud to be a part of the Genea team, I will always look for the simplest solution to fertility problems and IVF is not "routine". It is just a very effective tool in some situations.

All management begins with a consultation in my rooms. Ideally, bring your partner.


Slowness to conceive can be a source of great anxiety and being surrounded by the children of family members and friends who have conceived easily doesn't help this sense of failure. It is natural to speculate on the cause but the reason is frequently unclear.

Egg quality can be a significant factor. On average, egg quality starts declining from age 34 and the decline accelerates after 38 years of age. Few women conceive by any means after age 43 unless donor egg IVF is used. Therefore, women over 36 should come in for review after 6 months of trying to conceive. Not because there is little natural chance beyond this point, but because it is important to identify major problems early in this age group while egg quality is still reasonable.

Male age is usually much less important.

Fertility Key Points

  • If you have a regular cycle (26 to 35 days) you are almost certainly ovulating. The various ovulation tests available are generally not very reliable or helpful. Come in to discuss ovulation if you are concerned.
  • Pregnancies arise from intercourse that takes place before ovulation and sperm last for 2-3 days. Trying to "pin-point" time intercourse usually doesn't help much if intercourse is reasonably frequent because of this ability of sperm to "hang around".
  • Even a very healthy, fertile young couple will take on average 4 months to conceive (up to a year is considered normal). This is because the early steps in fertilisation and embryo formation often go awry. 50% of all human conceptions will not progress to viable pregnancies. These very early conceptions often pass without notice. It is the natural state for human beings.
  • Not many couples have absolute infertility. A complete absence of eggs or sperm is rare. Provided egg quality is reasonable, there is usually a good chance of success if the problem is dealt with in a thoughtful, systematic way.
  • There are a variety of strategies to assist fertility including dietary and lifestyle modification pills to treat ovulation disorders, tubal flushing (HSG with oil), removal of endometriosis, and management of poor sperm counts.

an appointment

Call Sarah: (02) 9221 2904

Dr David Shelley-Jones

M.B B.s (SYD) F.R.C.O.G. (LOND), F.R.A.N.Z.C.O.G.

Obstetrics - Gynaecology - IVF (Genea)

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