Quick Facts about Infertility

At least 20% of people will experience some degree of difficulty in trying to conceive. That is 1 in 5 couples of reproductive age. While strictly speaking infertility is defined as the failure to conceive after one year of regular, unprotected sex, people need advice from whenever they begin to fear something may be wrong.

This part of the website includes summary material from our ‘Quick fertility facts’ and ‘Suggested fertility management’ checklists for GPs.

For the average couple, there is only a 20-25% chance of conception per month

  • After six months, 60% of fertile couples will have conceived
  • After 12 months the figure is 80%
  • After 24 months, the figure is 95%


Causes of infertility:

  • 30% attributed to a female factor
  • 30% attributed to a male factor
  • 20% factors in both partners
  • 20% unexplained
  • BUT, except for severe causes, duration of infertility is more prognostic than cause.


The main prognostic factors for pregnancy without treatment are:

  • Woman’s age (see the Biological clock)
  • Severe male or female factor
  • Duration of infertility if mild or moderate factors, or unexplained infertility


While few cause of infertility can be cured, appropriate treatment offers a chance of pregnancy similar to that of fertile couples.

The main prognostic factors with treatment are:

  • Woman’s age (or age of egg donor)
  • Ovarian reserve, as indicated by antral follicle count (‘Egg Check) or AMH level


Other prognostic factors are:

  • Smoking halves (IVF) pregnancy rates
  • Being overweight affects ovulation and reduces response to fertility drugs
  • High alcohol or caffeine intake may reduce fertility


Other useful information available to you and your patients:


You may also wish to have a copy of our book Making Babies, available as a resource for couples trying to become pregnant. Resource copies are available to GP practices free of charge. To order you copy please click here to email us and include your name and the name of your practice.