General Enquiry

We are frequently asked for advice and information by people contacting us through our website. Although every couple and every fertility case is unique, there is often some common themes in the types of questions we are asked. To help you find the answers more quickly, we have pulled together a list of the most common questions and their answers.


[+] When should I do something?

Starting a family is one of the biggest decisions in life, yet having a baby is not always easy.

The right time to seek help is when you are concerned. Often simple tests to check ovulation and sperm quality will give you the assurance you need to happily try a little longer before more intensive investigation. Often these tests will quickly identify a problem, which can stop you wasting valuable time.

Tools that you may find useful:

[+] How can I make an appointment and what happens when I see a fertility specialist?

For a privately funded appointment with a fertility specialist at any of our clinics you don’t need a referral, our reception team at your nearest clinic are happy to discuss and arrange your first appointment, please call them on 0800 10 28 28 or you can request one here.  Alternatively, you can visit your GP and ask for a referral – this is sometimes more helpful for the fertility doctor as your GP will perform preliminary fertility checks for both partners.

For a publicly funded appointment you must be referred from the public health system and your GP is able to organise this for you. In Auckland and Northland you will be referred to Northern Regional Fertility Service.  If you are in the public funding area serviced by our Hamilton clinic (Midland), you can contact the clinic directly.  In Wellington your GP or specialist will need to refer you to Fertility Associates.

It is strongly recommended that both you and your partner attend the first consultation. At this appointment the doctor will go through your medical history and answer any questions you have in regards to your fertility and the different options for you - it's a great way to put your mind at ease and get answers to all those important questions.  They will arrange for appropriate steps and tests to be taken, such as blood tests, a semen analysis or diagnostic procedures.  A vaginal ultrasound may also be necessary during this first consultation.

The cost of an initial consultation and any related tests at each of our clinics are outlined on the costs page.

Check here for treatment payment options.

Click here to book an appointment, or call your nearest clinic on 0800 10 28 28.

[+] What is important for my general health to maximise my chances of conception?

Double check our ‘Boosting your fertility’ section. There are some lifestyle changes both you and your partner should consider, which will improve your chances of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy and baby. Factors such as having a healthy BMI, exercising regularly, eating certain foods and reducing stress are all important to remember.

[+] I've been tracking my ovulation for at least 12 months, why aren't I pregnant yet?

Tracking your ovulation can be a good place to start before you seek advice from a specialist, although if you have been doing this for atleast 12 months it might be time to see a doctor. Just to double check that you are doing everything right check out our ‘Boosting Your Fertility’ page. The right time to seek help is when you are concerned; the Biological Clock can help you determine when this time may be.  It could be a good idea to see your GP for some basic tests or book a consultation with one of our specialists. At a fertility consultation with us, our doctor will go through your medical history and answer any questions you have in regards to your fertility and the different options for you and your partner - it's a great way to put your mind at ease and get answers to all those important questions. They may also suggest that you have an AMH test done to check your ovarian reserve – for women, or a semen analysis to check sperm quality for men.
Check the costs for an appointment here

Enquire for an appointment here or call our reception team at your nearest clinic on 0800 10 28 28.

 

[+] How does the Biological Clock work and why is an AMH test useful?

The Biological Clock has been developed by Fertility Associates to help you identify a woman's chances of giving birth at any given age. It is also designed to help you identify when is the right time to act and investigate if you have a fertility problem. It is simple – use the sliders to indicate your age and months spent trying to conceive to see your result.

Click here to start the biological clock.

The Anti Mullerian Hormone test (AMH) is a simple blood test to measure a woman’s ovarian reserve (how many eggs you have) and is available at all of our clinics. Read more about it here.

To help you to fully understand the impact your age has on your fertility, or if you would like to have an AMH test, you will need to make a first fertility consultation with one of our doctors. Enquire here or call our reception at your nearest clinic on 0800 10 28 28.
 

[+] Are their age limits on any fertility treatments?

There are no age limits on privately funded treatments, however as you may be well aware your chances of conception decrease with your age. Therefore doctors strongly discourage IVF using a woman’s own eggs from around the age of 43 because of the low chance of success.

Women must be under 40 at the time of enrolment to qualify for publicly funded treatment and this guideline is strictly adhered to as it is part of the contract specifications from the Ministry of Health.

The only age restriction on any available treatments applies to donor sperm insemination. Once a recipient reaches the age of 43, they have a limited allocation of clinic donor sperm that is available to them. Read more about our donor services here.

[+] I'm over the age of 44, what are my chances of a pregnancy?

As you are probably well aware, your fertility decreases as you get older, therefore the possibility of conception with your own eggs using IVF treatment at age 44 is 5% per cycle. However, egg donation is a possibility for you.  You would also need to see a doctor at our clinic to have tests to see if you are healthy to carry a child at your age. Our clinics are experienced in facilitating the egg donation process for women of all ages. Read about egg donation and the process here.

[+] I'm a male and want to get my fertility checked, is there a simple sperm check that is useful?

Yes. A simple semen analysis is available at our Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington clinics, and is a vital part of your fertility investigation. The number of sperm, how many move (‘motility’), and what they look like (‘morphology’) are used to determine the quality of your sperm. Doctors are able to interpret the results for you and tell you your chances of natural conception or options for fertility treatment.

These tests are available to casual patients – so if you are simply wondering about your fertility call our laboratory team to book an appointment at your nearest clinic on 0800 10 28 28 and they will talk to you about the process. For casual patients, the payment is required at the time the sample is given.

Find more useful information for men here:
 

 

[+] We are a same gender couple and want to have a family, what are our options?

If you are in a female same gender relationship, you will need to use donated sperm to fertilise the egg of either you or your partner.

There are two options for the use of donated sperm - you can either go on a waiting list for a ‘clinic recruited donor’ or you can recruit your own ‘personal donor’. Prices vary depending on whether it is a clinic recruited donor, your own donor and what type of fertility treatment you have using this sperm e.g. Donor Insemination  (DI) or IVF.
We have sperm banks in our clinics in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington and wait times for clinic recruited donors vary between these clinics. The best thing to do would be to get in touch with the clinic closet to you by calling 0800 10 28 28 and asking to speak with the Donor Coordinator nurse.

If you are in a male same gender relationship and wish to be parents, you will need a woman willing to donate her eggs and a woman to carry the pregnancy. This could be two different women or someone who is willing to be both your donor and your surrogate. To undergo egg donation and surrogacy in New Zealand all parties need to be New Zealand residents, and know both the woman donating eggs and the woman  willing to carry the pregnancy. The Ethics Committee of Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ECART) also needs to approve each application for this treatment on an individual basis.

Click here to request more information about surrogacy with egg donation.

Or to discuss more details surrounding this treatment you are welcome to contact the counselling team at your nearest clinic

 

[+] Why am I finding it hard to conceive naturally for the second, third or fourth time?

Having trouble getting pregnant naturally for a second, third or fourth time can cause frustration and anxiety.  The golden rule of seeking help with fertility is not to leave it too long. Most doctors would probably suggest trying for around 6 months before going further with investigations, especially considering your previous fertility. However the fact that you have fallen pregnant naturally before could have been due to chance, even if a conception occurred quickly, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are very fertile. Age also plays an important factor in your chances of conception per month. You can use our Biological Clock to work out when it may be a good time for you to see your GP or a fertility specialist. 

The best time to seek help from a doctor is when you are concerned; your GP can send you for basic fertility tests or a first fertility consult is a good way to investigate possible causes with an infertility specialist.

Enquire here for an appointment at your nearest clinic. 
 

[+] Is it possible to have IVF treatment to conceive twins? And what are the risks?

Conceiving twins accidentally is an occurrence that cannot be avoided but can be managed successfully. However, our doctors do not recommend conceiving twins through the use of IVF as the risks associated with twins are around three times higher than with a singleton pregnancy. These risks include still births, cerebral palsy, premature labour, congenital abnormalities, and other long term health issues. For this reason all our clinics will replace only one embryo in younger women (35 and younger) who have a good chance of pregnancy.  This guideline is part of our accreditation standards, so neither we nor clinics in Australia would be prepared to transfer more than one embryo for women under the age of 35 who are having IVF.

[+] I have had recurrent miscarriages, what should I do and what are my options?

We do see quite a few patients who come to us having experienced recurring miscarriages, and many women will experience recurrent miscarriage for many different reasons. The best thing to do is to come and have a chat with one of our doctors in an initial consultation. At this consultation the doctor will go through your medical history and answer any questions you have and discuss the different options for you - it's a great way to get answers to all those important questions.

For extra support, more information and other helpful websites check our miscarriage information page.

To make an appointment to discuss your history and future options call our reception team on 0800 10 28 28 or enquire here.

[+] I have been diagnosed with PCOS, what are my chances of pregnancy?

We recommend that women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), especially those who have not had a period for at least six months and have been trying to get pregnant for some time but without any success, see one of our doctors for a full assessment and to discuss their lifestyle and treatment options. At your consultation the doctor will go through your medical history and answer any questions you have in regards to your fertility and the different options for you - it's a great way to put your mind at ease and get answers to all your important questions.

Your chances of conceiving will depend on your body and how severe your PCOS is. It may be useful for your GP to refer you to an endocrinologist; a doctor who specialises in hormones. They can help you manage your condition through monitoring changes in your body and your lifestyle. At our Auckland clinic we have three endocrinologists who regularly see patients with PCOS who are planning to start a family.

Read more about PCOS.

 

[+] I'm not ready to have a child yet but may want to later, what is the process to freeze my eggs?

Recent law changes now permit both the freezing and thawing of eggs in New Zealand. This option for fertility preservation has been particularly for women who are about to have cancer treatment, however it is suitable for women wishing to freeze their eggs for social reasons also. 
The egg freezing process is exactly the same as an IVF cycle except there is no embryo replacement. Hormonal stimulation is used to mature your eggs, and at the right time they are removed, frozen and stored until you wish to try for a pregnancy.

More information about freezing and storing your eggs at one of our clinics can be read here.

You will need to make an appointment with a fertility doctor, who can discuss this process with you in more detail.
 

[+] I am about to start cancer therapy - what are my options for preserving my fertility?

Not all cancer treatments cause infertility, however it is important to get in touch with your nearest clinic as soon as possible.  We recommend that before you start treatment you speak with your Oncologist or one of our fertility doctors about the effect your treatment will have on your fertility and the different options that are available to you now and in the future.
There are options for both male and female patients and we are able to give you immediate appointments if your treatment is about to start within the next few days. You can either be referred from your Oncology team or come to the clinic yourself.

To discuss fertility preservation and information for future fertility treatments call your nearest clinic on 0800 10 28 28. 
 

[+] I've had a vasectomy or tubal ligation, what are my options for conceiving?

For reversals of both male and female permanent contraception methods, the outcomes are unpredictable, our doctors strongly advise seeking a consultation with a fertility specialist before undergoing surgery for a tubal ligation or vasectomy reversal.

A vasectomy reversal may be a very good option however you need to be clear about the chances of success before you undergo this procedure. The success of natural conception after a reversal will depend on the length of time between the vasectomy and reversal and the method that was used for the original procedure. If you decide that a vasectomy reversal is not right for you, there is the option of IVF using sperm microinjection (ICSI). ICSI can be performed after sperm has been taken from the testis or epididymis by needle biopsy. You really need a fertility specialist to weigh up the chances (and likely cost) each way for your circumstances.

A reversal of a tubal ligation is also possible, and is usually not physically stressful. There are a number of factors that you need to take in to account before proceeding with a reversal, such as when you had the tubal ligation, the method used and the age you are now. As an alternative to this, IVF or ICSI are both options for you to conceive with the help of fertility treatment. The best way to get a full understanding of your chances of pregnancy and the options available to you would be to come and see one of our doctors.

[+] Can we use PGD for detecting genetic disorders and sex selection?

Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is an option for couples who require their embryos to be tested for genetic disorders before they are transferred into the woman’s uterus. To carry out PGD the patient must first carry an IVF cycle so that the fertilised eggs can develop into embryos outside the body.  A few cells are removed from the embryos (embryo biopsy) and are sent to a specialist Genetics Laboratory  for analysis and detection of genetic disorders. Genetic disorders we have tested  for include Huntington’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and Fragile X Syndrome. For more information on testing, other disorders that have testing available and public funding for PGD treatment, contact a doctor at our Auckland,Hamilton, or Wellington clinics. Alternatively you can be referred to Fertility Associates by your local regional Genetic Services, eitherNorthern and Midland Region, or Central and Southern Region.

In New Zealand the use of any technique to determine or select the sex of any embryo is illegal unless it is to prevent the transmission of an inheritable disorder. 

[+] Is acupuncture recommended or available?

Studies have shown that acupuncture is beneficial when used alongside your IVF treatment. You are welcome to bring an acupuncturist with you when you have treatment with us. In several of our clinics we have private acupuncturists working from our rooms. To find out more call your nearest clinic.

[+] I'm interested in surrogacy - how does it work at Fertility Associates and in New Zealand?

Surrogacy is available when a woman is unable to carry a child, unable to safely go through pregnancy, or, has not become pregnant after repeated fertility treatment and a uterine factor is the likely cause. 
IVF surrogacy is permitted in NZ, provided that the “birth mother” is either a family member or close friend of the intending parents; however each case needs to be individually considered by the national Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ECART).
The clinic will submit your surrogacy application to ECART after completing counselling and other appropriate legal requirements with both the birth mother and the intending parents. Once ECART have approved your application, the treatment process can begin. A cycle ofIVF is required where treatment is co-ordinated by nurses and a doctor at our clinic and the embryo is implanted into the surrogate mother at the best time for the best chance of conception.

The Fertility New Zealand website is another useful place for you to look for further information and support to help you through the surrogacy journey.
 

[+] We have stored embryos that we don't want to use, can we donate or discard?

Of course. To organise to discard your unwanted embryos call the lab on 0800 10 28 28.

Alternatively, couples who have completed their family but still have frozen embryos remaining have the option of donating those embryos to another couple or woman. The recipient can be someone known to you or someone that is recruited from our clinic. This treatment is technically simple; the recipient woman’s menstrual cycle is monitored with regular blood tests and an embryo is thawed and transferred at the right time. Complexity arises because the recipient’s child, if there is a pregnancy, will be a full sibling of the donors’ children; therefore the national Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ECART) requires separate and joint counselling for those involved, and a police check of the recipients as in adoption.

[+] I live overseas but am considering fertility treatment in New Zealand, is this possible?

Fertility Associates is very happy about treating people who live outside New Zealand.  We have many years experience providing treatment for people living in French Polynesia so we are used to people travelling to the clinic for their IVF cycles. Most people will need to see one of our fertility specialists first.  This usually occurs before starting treatment, but in some circumstances can be combined with treatment if preparatory tests and investigations can be completed by a local specialist where you are living.

In New Zealand much of IVF treatment is privately funded because there are strict criteria around eligibility to public funding. International patients also pay an ‘Overseas Patient’ fee on top of normal IVF pricing. For public funding, both partners need to be NZ residents or eligible for NZ residency and live in New Zealand at the time of the medical consultation when their eligibility is calculated and at the time of treatment.

If you are interested in coming to New Zealand for treatment email us an enquiry.

For more information for patients from Fiji click here.

Or read more information in your own language here: French, Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese.
 

[+] Does the Government pay for treatment?

Provided you are referred by your GP or specialist, you may be eligible for a free consultation. Many couples are also eligible for publicly funded treatment.

[+] How successful is treatment?

Recent advances in technology means that the chance of having a child through IVF is 40-50 percent per treatment for women aged 35 years or younger. Many people will have the option of lower technology treatments which also offer a good chance of pregnancy over a course of three to four months.

[+] What are the 'dos and don'ts' during pregnancy?

Can I dye my hair?
There is little chance any dangerous chemicals are absorbed from hair dye.  However, we would still recommend waiting until the second trimester of your pregnancy before dying or retouching your hair.


Can I fly?
Most airlines let you fly without a medical certificate up to 35 weeks.
Flying its self is not harmful to pregnancy, but you need to weigh up the risks of anything happening during the flight such as labour, bleeding, etc., and how easily that would be to manage.

Domestic travel is almost always no problem as most flights within New Zealand are 1 a maximum of one hour. However, long haul flights later in pregnancy are not recommended due to the increased risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT - or “economy class syndrome”).


Can I drink coffee, tea or alcohol?
Regarding tea and coffee, low doses of caffeine are not thought to be harmful in pregnancy.   During fertility treatment we do recommend cutting down or stopping coffee as some studies have shown improved outcomes when caffeine is reduced.

With regards to alcohol, although the odd glass of wine is probably safe, because no one knows what the safest minimal dose of alcohol is, we recommend cutting it out altogether both during treatment and pregnancy.


If in doubt at any time - don't hesitate to contact your midwife or obstetrician with any questions!

[+] Where can I give feedback or make a formal complaint?

Fill out our feedback form – your comments will be received anonymously unless you wish to leave your name. Or contact the clinic manager for your clinic on 0800 10 28 28.

[+] We have a child born from IVF treatment, where can I find more information?

Check our News and Media page for up to date research, studies and articles about fertility treatments and children born through IVF - we regularly upload information from the media here to keep you informed.

Alternatively, check out our IVF-lings website - an exciting new place launched by Fertility Associates dedicated to children born through IVF treatment. You can find simple explanations, up to date research and FAQs and answers from fertility experts here too.

If you are wondering how to explain to your children where they came from, and what it all means our counselling team recommends IVF and ever after - The emotional needs of families. By Nichola Bedos.

You are more than welcome to contact our counselling team at any time to make an appointment, discuss your concerns or just to ease your mind.

[+] I'm doing a school project, what information can you help me with?


If you have a general enquiry, please go ahead and complete the form below, then press the 'Send' button - or you can use our FACEBOOK page to ask us a question, visit facebook.com/fertility.associates.nz . Please reserve the use of this service for simple requests or enquiries. We can only provide complex medical advice and opinion in a consultation with a doctor at one of our clinics. We ask that requests for repeat prescriptions be made by telephone.

Please reserve the use of this service for simple requests or enquiries.  We can only provide complex medical advice and opinion in a consultation with a doctor.  We ask that requests for repeat prescriptions be made by telephone.  - See more at: http://fertilityassociates.co.nz/Contact-us---locations/Ask-a-question.aspx#sthash.qybh6dhG.dpuf
Please reserve the use of this service for simple requests or enquiries.  We can only provide complex medical advice and opinion in a consultation with a doctor.  We ask that requests for repeat prescriptions be made by telephone.  - See more at: http://fertilityassociates.co.nz/Contact-us---locations/Ask-a-question.aspx#sthash.qybh6dhG.dpuf

We endeavour to get back to you within three working days, but if you have an urgent enquiry please phone your nearest clinic for assistance.

To find the Fertility Associates clinic nearest to you and the contact details, please take a look at our locations page, here.

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