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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is infertility?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • VARTA is a statutory authority based in Melbourne, Australia, providing independent, accurate information about fertility, infertility and assisted reproductive treatment (ART). View Profile

    In medical terms infertility is defined as not achieving a pregnancy within 12 months of regular, unprotected sex. This means that if you are trying for a baby and you haven’t been successful within a year you may have a fertility problem. The general advice is to see your doctor at that point.  But because the age of the woman is the most important factor when it comes to fertility, if the female is over 35 we recommended that you seek medical advice after six months of trying.
    When it takes more than a year to conceive we talk about sub-fertility meaning that the man or the woman (or both) may have subtle fertility problems that reduces the monthly chance of pregnancy. But for some couples there is a definite cause which makes it very unlikely that they will be able to conceive without assisted reproductive treatment. If the man has a very low sperm count or the woman has blocked Fallopian tubes, there is no point telling them to just keep trying. In these cases, a referral to a fertility specialist is needed, to discuss treatment options. 

  • Dr Bronwyn Devine

    Gynaecologist, Gynaecologist - Infertility (IVF) Specialist, Obstetrician

    Dr Bronwyn Devine is a gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist who has returned to Sydney after living and working in Canberra for a number of years. … View Profile

    Infertility refers to an inability to conceive a pregnancy. In Australia, 85% of couples having regular intercourse will have conceived within a 12 month period. The remaining 15% are infertile or sub fertile. Globally about 80 million women and a similar number of men suffer infertility.

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