Dealing with not being a dad yet – is IVF always the answer to infertility?

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Dealing with not being a dad yet – is IVF always the answer to infertility?

“Little things would set me off. I’d walk into work and a colleague’s car had a baby seat in the back. I’d question myself as a man. I question my masculinity.”

A new survey has been carried out by Infertility Network UK and Middlesex University London looking at the impact upon men of fertility problems. One in six couples in Northern Ireland experience difficulties conceiving a baby.

Two men spoke to the BBC about their own experiences.

Aaron, 42, said he and his wife have been trying to have a baby for eight years. “When people ask why we don’t have kids, it’s like are people that idiotic, that insensitive?” 40 year old James said he and his wife have been struggling to conceive for five years. “The silence is stifling. It’s like someone needs to say something.”

Fertility problems are as common in men as women. Male or female – your body’s fertility is a complex department that relies on total health and wellbeing. With Randox Health, you can find out exactly how your body is performing before trying for a baby.

Common causes of infertility for men

  • low sperm count
  • problems with the tubes carrying sperm
  • problems getting an erection or ejaculating
  • diabetes
  • being overweight

Is IVF the only option?

Not according to one of the founding fathers of in-vitro fertilisation – Dr Robert Winston. In his book, The Essential Fertility Guide, he outlines fertility treatment options and suggests more than half of people referred to IVF clinics may be treated by alternatives. “There are numerous causes of infertility and the best treatment may be different in each circumstance. Unfortunately, the massive publicity given to IVF has led to most people believing that it is almost the only treatment and the most successful. This is utterly wrong. Couples rush into IVF far too frequently.”

He believes this happens when not enough time is spent investigating the underlying cause of infertility. “IVF is not the only treatment for infertility, and it’s often not the best treatment or the most successful. There are many treatments depending on the cause, and the cause should be established first.”

What you can do

If you’re thinking about trying for a baby, you might want to find out more about your current fertility levels and also whether or not there are any risk factors to consider in the future.

Randox has created one of the world’s most advanced reproductive health checks. Our personalised service involves physical and biological assessments, with 110 tests carried out in total, including DNA-based protein testing.

Dr Peter FitzGerald, founder and CEO of Randox said, “One in every six couples in Northern Ireland will experience difficulty conceiving. Through our research, we know it won’t always be down to a problem with the sperm, eggs and reproductive organs, but could also be a consequence of issues in other parts of the body such as hormone imbalance, obesity or stress.

“We use the very latest in diagnostic innovation to assess your whole body health, which gives clarity on how well you are now and crucially assesses your future health, which can help to boost your fertility levels.

“For many couples, we know that very sophisticated treatment, such as IVF is not always needed. Sometimes a deceptively simple change in lifestyle or diet will deliver positive results.”