Frequently Asked Questions


What is Infertility?

Infertility is the inability to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse in women under 35, or after six months in women over 35, or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term.

What is the incidence of infertility worldwide?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 8-10% of couples experience some form of infertility problem. However, the incidence of infertility may vary from region to region.

Why a dedicated Fertility Clinic and not your Obstetrician/Gynaecologist?

At the fertility clinic we specialise in treating infertility. The fertility clinic is far more likely to have the experience and equipment necessary to identify and treat your problem than an OB/GYN who treats only a few infertility cases each year.

What is the cost of fertility treatment?

Every patient’s case is unique and the testing and treatment plan recommendations are based upon individual circumstances. Therefore the costs can vary considerably from patient to patient. Surgery is covered often by Medical Aids in South Africa. IVF and other assisted reproduction not. Finance for fertility treatment is available through First Health Finance. Please contact FHF on 0800 212 537, or visit for more info.

Which doctor is the ‘best’?

Our doctors work as a group not individually. This means that the standards of care and treatment are arrived at together, offering each patient the benefit of four doctors experience not just one. Very often your case is discussed with other the other doctors in the staff meetings.

What is the difference between a Gynaecologist and a Fertility Specialist?

A Gynaecologist is specialised in the disorders of the female reproductive system. A Fertility Specialist is a gynaecologist who exclusively commits his/her practice to the treatment of women and men who have difficulties conceiving. The HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa) has certified a subspecialty in infertility. This is called a subspecilisation in Reproductive Medicine.

Does age affect fertility?

Yes, especially in woman. Studies show that a woman’s fertility starts to decline at age 35 and declines rapidly in her late 30’s and early 40’s. This is due to the effect of aging of the ovary.

Is there an age limit to IVF?

The woman has to be less than 45 years of age unless she is using donor eggs. The success rate in woman older then 44 is too low to justify IVF. The age limit for women using donor eggs is 50. See our Egg Donation Website:

Does stress cause infertility?

No, not usually. Infertility is a medical disorder. However infertility and infertility treatment can be very stressful and referral to a dedicated psychologist might be helpful.

My friends tell me that if I relax I will conceive?

Unlike many other parts of your lives, infertility may be beyond your control. Don’t blame yourself if you are not getting pregnant. It’s a medical problem, which often needs appropriate medical treatment. The attitudes you are encountering are often born out of ignorance, ignore them.

Is infertility treatment always successful?

Eighty percent of couples that seek care from a qualified specialist will carry a pregnancy to term (Human Reproduction Updates, vol. 6, 2000.)

Is it true that if I adopt I will get pregnant?

No. Approximately 5% of women get pregnant after adopting; this is the same rate as those who spontaneously get pregnant after stopping infertility treatment.

How can I determine my fertile period?

Your fertile period is the time during which having sex could lead to a pregnancy. This is the 4-6 days before ovulation. Women normally ovulate 14 days prior to the date of the next menstrual period.

What are the most common causes of infertility?

The most common causes of infertility are ovulatory disorders, endometriosis, fallopian tube problems and male infertility.

My gynaecologist has done an internal examination and said I am normal. Do I still need to get tests done to determine why I am not conceiving?

A routine gynaecological examination does not provide information about possible problems, which can cause infertility, such as blocked fallopian tubes or ovulatory disorders. You need a systematic infertility workup.

Can ovulation drugs increase the risk of ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is a rare disease; the chance of a young woman developing an ovarian malignancy during her lifetime is lower than 1.5%. A number of factors have been found to increase the risk of ovarian cancer, including genetic predisposition and dietary habits. Scientific studies carried out in the last few decades have demonstrated that infertility itself is a risk factor for ovarian cancer. There is evidence that each pregnancy reduces the risk of a woman contracting ovarian cancer. The current opinion is that there is no link between ovarian cancer and ovulation drugs.

What is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?

In IVF, eggs are surgically removed from the ovary and mixed with sperm outside the body in a dish (“in vitro” is Latin for “in glass”). After about 18 hours, the eggs are examined to see if the sperm has fertilized them. The following day they divide into cells. These fertilized eggs (embryos) are then placed in the women’s uterus (the implant) three to five days after the removal.

When Do I Ovulate? What About Day 14? My Cycle Is Not 28 Days.

Many women have heard that 0vulation occurs around Day 14 of the menstrual cycle. This statement is a generalization which does not necessarily apply to all women or even most of them! Ovulation occurs approximately 2 weeks before the next period begins. If your cycles are always 28 days then you will ovulate around Day 14 (somewhere between Day 12 and Day 17). But if your cycles were longer or shorter than 28 days your situation would be different.

How is male fertility defined?

Fertility is defined by the “sperm quality”, which refers to semen volume, sperm count, sperm motility (movement) and sperm morphology (shape).

What are the normal ranges for sperm quality?

Sperm count: More than 20 million per millilitre is normal. Sperm motility: More than 50% of the sperm should be motile. Sperm morphology: More than 9% of the sperm must have a normal shape (oval head, mid-piece and tail). Semen volume: Between 2 and 5 millilitres.

What causes male fertility levels to decline?

Several factors such as stress, smoking, drinking, a compromised immune system, environmental factors (working with chemicals), heat (tight briefs, hot tubs, saunas) and age.