Infertility can be caused by a number of different factors, and it varies from person to person. It’s estimated that around 3.5 million people – or 1 in 6 couples – in the UK, may have difficulty conceiving. There are many factors which affect fertility, some of which you cannot control.

“Unfortunately, one in four couples are unable to determine the root cause of their fertility problems. It is, however, important to consider certain methods and treatments when trying to conceive to help improve your fertility,” explains Mr Tarek El-Touky, consultant gynaecologist and sub-specialist in reproductive medicine and surgery.

What causes fertility problems?

You’re not alone in facing problems with conception. Several factors can cause it, but in 25-30% of cases a reason can’t be found even after the most thorough investigations. This is because some of the factors can’t be assessed.

The most common causes of infertility in women are to do with ovulation (the body does not release eggs naturally) or issues with the fallopian tubes, while in men it is issues with the quality or ability of the sperm.

Male fertility problems

  • sperm delivery problems
  • abnormal sperm production or function
  • cancer treatment
  • harmful exposure to environmental factors

Female infertility problems

  • abnormalities in the shape of the uterus or cervix
  • fibroids or polyps
  • ovulation disorders or egg reserve problems
  • endometriosis
  • damage or blockage in the fallopian tube
  • pelvic adhesions
  • premature menopause

How to improve fertility

If you are struggling to get pregnant, there are certain lifestyle choices you can change to help improve fertility.

  • quit smoking
  • avoid alcohol and drug intake
  • exercise regularly and moderately
  • regular sex
  • avoid hot tubs and baths which can adversely affect sperm
  • try to have sex around the time you are ovulating
  • limit medications which could impact fertility
  • maintain a healthy weight

Get in touch

To learn more about improving fertility and fertility treatment options available at our Assisted Conception Unit at Guy’s Hospital, contact our dedicated customer services team.