NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines are recommendations for for health and care in England mainly by the NHS. They are evidence based and each condition will have a recommended pathway from diagnosis to treatment. So what does it mean for fertility issues?
Initially you need to approach your GP for referral to a fertility consultant. They will want to know how long you have been trying to conceive and their criteria is….
- if there is no conception after 1 year of regular unprotected sex a couple can be referred to a consultant.
If you are 36 and over it maybe that your doctor will take a view that you can be referred before one year of trying to conceive.
Initial investigations may include blood tests, progesterone to confirm ovulation, thyroid function test, prolactin, and screening for chlamydia. Investigations such as a HyCoSy or ultra sound scan may also be part of the first round of tests.
However ALL couples who are concerned about their fertility should be offered an initial assessment (history and examination) in primary care to assess the need for early referral or investigation.
This is a good place to start and not everyone knows this is available. If your acupuncturist is fertility support trained they can help you navigate your way through this. It’s not just about the needles!