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Find out about infertility, including the causes, treatment options, and when to get help and advice.
Infertility is when a couple cannot get pregnant (conceive) despite having regular unprotected sex.
Around 1 in 7 couples may have difficulty conceiving.
More than 8 out of 10 couples, where the woman is under 40, will conceive naturally within a year if they have regular unprotected sex (every 2 or 3 days).
For couples who have been trying to conceive for more than 3 years without success, the likelihood of getting pregnant naturally within the next year is 1 in 4, or less.
Some people get pregnant quickly, but for others it can take longer. It's a good idea to see a GP if you have not conceived after a year of trying.
Women aged 36 and over, and anyone who's already aware they may have fertility problems, should see their GP sooner.
They can check for common causes of fertility problems and suggest treatments that could help.
Infertility is usually only diagnosed when a couple have not managed to conceive after a year of trying.
There are 2 types of infertility:
Read more about how infertility is diagnosed.
Fertility treatments include:
The treatment offered will depend on what's causing the fertility problems and what's available from your local integrated care board (ICB).
Private treatment is also available, but it can be expensive and there's no guarantee it will be successful.
It's important to choose a private clinic carefully. You can ask a GP for advice, and should make sure you choose a clinic that's licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
Some treatments for infertility, such as IVF, can cause complications.
Read more about how infertility is treated.
There are many possible causes of infertility, and fertility problems can affect either partner. But in a quarter of cases it is not possible to identify the cause.
Common causes of infertility include:
There are also several factors that can affect fertility.
It's important to continue taking any medication prescribed unless your GP/specialist specifically tells you to stop. Please visit our Existing Health Conditions page for more information, or visit 'Bumps' ('Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy').
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