Infertility can happen if there are problems with any of the above steps. Please remember anyone can be affected by infertility and while it can be a challenging experience, the good news is it can often be treated, or alternative methods of conception can be explored.
A woman’s age is the most important indicator of her chance of conceiving. Like all organs and tissues in the human body, ovaries age over time. So do remaining eggs in the ovaries, making them less capable of fertilisation and their embryos less able to implant.
A woman’s fertility begins to decline around the age of 35. The risk of miscarriage will increase with age. For example, 10% of 25-29-year-old women miscarry, while for women aged 40-44, the rate increases to 33.8%. Unfortunately there is also a greater risk of abnormalities in children born from older women, rising from 1 in 500 (1:500) for babies carried by women aged 20, to 1 in 20 (1:20) for a woman aged 45.
The female menstrual cycle is determined by a complex interaction of hormones. Any hormone imbalance can mean periods become irregular. In most cases irregular cycles aren’t dangerous (though it can be an indication ovulation isn’t happening every month), so it’s important to determine the cause.
Certain medical conditions can make it harder for a woman to conceive, including:
If you’re worried about how a medical condition may affect your chances of conception, your treating specialist will be happy to talk you through your options.
If you are considering using someone you know as a sperm donor, it’s important to know there are several things that can lead to fertility issues in men.
Some of the factors that can affect male fertility are:
Before going ahead with fertility treatment, diagnostic fertility testing is recommended for the lesbian partner (or both, if you are planning to provide eggs to your partner – partner IVF) who plans to become pregnant. Tests include:
If you are considering using someone you know as a sperm donor, fertility testing is recommended as there are several things that can lead to fertility issues in men. Tests include:
Keep in mind that we have a wide range of clinic-recruited donor sperm available to help lesbian women, or couples, in their attempt to become parents.
To ensure the highest quality and safety for our patients, all our sperm donors undertake both semen analysis and a series of pathology tests as part of the routine screening process. Our donors have also spoken with a qualified fertility counsellor. For more information, please visit our Donor Program page.
You can start the process of fertility testing with your GP, a gynaecologist, or a dedicated fertility specialist. You will need a referral from your GP to see a gynaecologist or fertility specialist. If you’ve been referred to a specialist, you’ll be able to claim some of the consultation cost back through Medicare.
At Rainbow Fertility, our specialists have extensive experience in helping create LGBTI families. Feel free to contact our friendly team to learn more about our donor program and the fertility treatment options available to you.