Struggling to get pregnant? You may not need IVF

7th August 2012 in Infertility

This information was correct at the time of publishing. It may not reflect our current practices, prices or regulations.

If you’ve been struggling to conceive you may think that IVF is likely to be your first option. But for couples who have unexplained infertility – that is no medical reason why they can’t conceive naturally, such as blocked fallopian tubes – a first treatment which may be offered is intrauterine insemination (IUI).

This is often recommended before any cycle of IVF. IUI is timed for when you ovulate and your partner’s sperm is inserted directly into your uterus via a catheter, putting it closer to the egg in the hope fertilisation occurs.

If you have ovulation problems, you can take a course of fertility drugs in conjunction with IUI so there is an egg to be fertilised – but if you produce too many eggs then IUI wouldn’t go ahead because the risk of multiple pregnancy is too high.

IUI is a good first option well worth considering if you’ve not been able to get pregnant naturally. For it to be successful however, your partner needs to have healthy, motile sperm and you need to have open, healthy fallopian tubes.

If this isn’t the case then IVF would be a more suitable treatment option. You can find out what a typical cycle of IVF involves in our new guide by clicking here.It’s designed to give you a rough idea of what to expect if you’ve been diagnosed with a fertility problem and need IVF, to reassure you about the process and what happens to both you and your partner.

If you’ve been trying for a baby without success for a year or more, visit your GP in the first instance where you and your partner will need to undergo tests to see if there’s any medical reason why you’re not getting pregnant. You could also consider one of our Fertility MOT tests, which is a comprehensive analysis of your fertility and that of your partner. These tests will tell you if you need help to have a baby.

Last updated: 20th January 2020