Your pathway to becoming pregnant (trying for >12 months or aged >35)

Seek medical advice

For most people, having trouble falling pregnant comes as a surprise but in reality, up to 1 in 6 couples worldwide have difficulty conceiving in the first 12 months of trying. After 12 months of trying to become pregnant, it is recommended that you seek medical advice.
The term ‘infertility’ is generally used if a couple has not conceived after 12 months of regular unprotected intercourse, or after 6 months for women aged over 35.
A more accurate term for most people is ‘sub-fertility’, which means the ability to become pregnant is diminished or absent. It does not mean that you are unable to have children but that you may require treatment or assistance to achieve a pregnancy

Attend our information seminar

Westmead Fertility Centre offers treatment options that are relatively simple, effective and affordable.
The best way to find out more about Westmead Fertility Centre is to attend one of our regular free information seminars held at Westmead Hospital. These informal presentations give you the opportunity to meet some of our key team members, including our doctors, nurses and scientists and provide you with more detailed information about In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and our treatments costs.

Consult a specialist

Before you visit Westmead Fertility Centre (WFC), you will need a referral letter from your general practitioner (GP) or specialist. This will ensure you are able to claim benefits from Medicare, which will cover a significant amount of treatment costs.
It is important that both partners’ names are included in the referral letter as further testing and treatment will usually involve both partners.
After you have arranged your referral, you need to make a booking to see one of our specialists. See contact details and biographies for our doctors.

Both partners will need to attend an initial meeting with your specialist, which usually takes around one hour. You will need to bring your referral and any other prior test results. Your specialist will discuss your medical history and conduct a physical examination and order further tests. The most appropriate treatment for your situation may be discussed and explained or this may occur at a later visit after test results have been examined.

Starting treatment


Healthy lifestyle checklist


We recommend the following lifestyle changes before you begin treatment:


Eat a well-balanced diet to achieve and maintain a sensible weight for your height

There is no special eating plan for becoming pregnant. A sensible diet that includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, grains, meat, poultry and seafood is advised.


Take folic acid and an iodine supplement

Increasing your intake of folic acid before conceiving and early on in pregnancy can reduce your chances of having a baby with neural tube defects (e.g. spina bifida). Iodine is an essential element for foetal growth. The recommended doses are 600 micrograms per day of folic acid and 220 micrograms per day of Iodine.


Give up smoking

Smoking can cause problems for virtually all areas of the reproductive system. For information and advice on how to stop smoking, visit your GP, see Quit Now or call the Quitline on 137 848.


Reduce your alcohol intake

Males should be particularly aware that excess alcohol may reduce sperm quality.


Meet the nursing staff

Both partners will meet with the nursing staff for an hour-long comprehensive meeting before treatment begins. They will explain your treatment schedule, how and when to take your medications and answer any questions you may have.
Throughout your treatment, the nurses will co-ordinate your specialist’s treatment plan, provide information and emotional support and perform blood tests and scans.

Treatment begins

In Vitro Fertilisation IVF refers to a technique of assisted reproduction where the egg and sperm are collected and placed together in a laboratory dish to fertilise. The female partner usually takes hormonal medications to help stimulate the development of as many eggs as possible. If the eggs are successfully fertilised in the laboratory, they are transferred one at a time into the woman’s uterus.
When one of the fertilised eggs implants, it will develop, just as in a routine pregnancy.

More on the steps involved in the IVF process