Fertility is an important, deeply personal process, so it’s only natural to have questions about how it works.

Below we answer the most common questions we are asked by people considering letting us help them realise their goal of starting a family.


Why can’t we fall pregnant?

There are many reasons why a couple can struggle to fall pregnant, but the main factor is a woman’s age. Fertility declines as a woman ages, leading to a sharp drop in egg supply and quality after age 35. Problems conceiving can also be caused by irregular menstrual cycles (which may indicate a problem with ovulation), conditions such as endometriosis, sperm issues, weight and lifestyle factors are other elements that can prevent a couple from falling pregnant.

If you have not been able to conceive after trying for a year or after six months if you’re a woman over 35, we recommend you seek expert advice from one of our specialists.

When should we seek medical help to fall pregnant?

The older you are, the more difficult it becomes to conceive, because your ovarian reserve, or egg supply, declines.

With the passing of time so crucial, it’s advisable to consult an IVF specialist sooner rather than later. If you’re a woman aged under 35, you and your partner should seek medical advice if you’ve been unable to fall pregnant after a year of trying, or after six months if you’re a woman over 35.

You should also consult a specialist if you are having irregular periods or none at all. If you suspect, or have had a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), or have experienced two or more miscarriages, then a consultation with a specialist should be considered.

The good news is there are many medical conditions that can be treated with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).

How do I start the process of seeking fertility advice?

Once you decide you’d like to come to First Step Fertility and speak with one of our specialists, simply download our referral form and ask your GP to fill it in. In the meantime, you can contact our team to book an appointment with us.

Your partner should also attend the initial fertility consultation so we can gather key information about your medical history and organise preliminary tests. We can then establish the treatment plan that will put you and your partner on the fastest path to parenthood.

Please ensure that both your name and your partner’s name are on your GP referral to First Step Fertility. Please note, if your partner’s name is not included on the referral we are unable to bulk-bill the consultation with the Specialist and as a result the consultation fee will be billed at a private rate.

How does IVF work?

IVF, which stands for In Vitro Fertilisation, involves stimulating your ovaries with medication to produce more than one egg.

Your eggs are then collected and inseminated with your partner’s sperm to achieve fertilisation with the aim to obtain embryos.

Of the embryos that are created, in most cases, only one is transferred to the uterus after 5 days of culture. The transfer itself takes only a few minutes and is usually not painful.

A pregnancy test will be performed two weeks after the embryo transfer. The remaining good-quality embryos can be frozen for use at a later date.

For more information, please refer to our IVF Treatment page.

How much does IVF cost?

Taking the financial worry out of fertility treatment, most of our services are fully covered by Medicare through bulk billing.

For more details about our affordable service model, please refer to our Costs section.

How long do we have to wait to see a specialist?

For the convenience of our patients, our specialists work to a rotational system. This also helps us to deliver a more streamlined service model and pass the cost savings on to you.

Who will be involved in my treatment program?

During your treatment, you will be well looked after by our specialists and fertility nurse coordinators, who will work together to achieve the best result for you. Initially, our fertility nurse coordinators will gather medical information from you and arrange pathology (blood) tests. Our specialists will use the test results and medical history, to plan your treatment, and our nurses will guide you through the various phases of your treatment.

What are my chances of success?

Your likelihood of success is determined by your and your partner’s personal circumstances, such as age, medical history, genetic make-up and lifestyle factors including weight and smoking. Therefore, we recommend caution when comparing clinic’s success rates.

We have highly experienced specialists who can give you an honest appraisal of your prospects once your personal situation has been assessed.

At First Step Fertility, we will do everything we can to help you achieve your dream of having a baby.

Will I need time off work after an EggPick-Up (EPU)?

You will need the full day off work for your EPU as this is a surgical procedure. However, your other appointments should require only minimal time off work.

Can I exercise during my cycle?

It is recommended that any exercise you do during your cycle should be light and low impact, especially after your embryo transfer.

When do I collect my medications?

You can collect your medications from the nominated pharmacy before the cycle starts. It may be possible for the pharmacy to courier them to you. You will be given specific details about the collection of medications from your fertility nurse.

Can I take antibiotics or antihistamines?

Usually, yes. However, inform the doctor who is prescribing the medication. You may be pregnant and need to ensure that the medications are safe in early pregnancy. Please inform us about all prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking prior to and during your treatment cycle.

Can I take other medications/supplements during my IVF treatment?

Always advise the fertility nurse or doctor exactly what medications/supplements you are taking as sometimes the effects of these are unknown when combined with IVF medication.

What medication can I take to relieve cramping during my treatment cycle?

Paracetamol is the best option for pain relief. Check with your fertility nurse if pain relief is required.

What time of the day should I take my injections?

It really doesn’t matter what time of day, as long as it is at the same time each day.

I am scared of the injections, Will they hurt?

Be assured that your fertility nurse will give you full instructions on the use of your medication and ensure that you are comfortable with self-injection. The needles used are very fine and should only cause minor discomfort.

Can fertility drugs increase my risk of getting cancer?

Ovarian cancer occurs in approximately one in 90 women in the general community and is more common in women who have not had children. Breast cancer occurs in one in 11 women, again being more common in those who have not had children. The variety of medical and surgical treatments, including the drugs used in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), may have unknown longterm effects. Australian cancer registers show no increase in breast or ovarian cancer since IVF treatments began.

How many scans will I need during my cycle?

Usually, only one or two scans are performed in your cycle.

What if my period commences on the weekend or a public holiday?

Please phone your clinic in the next business day to advise the fertility nurse and receive advice.

What if I have spotting?

If you notice bleeding in the two weeks after the embryo transfer, continue with your progesterone until the bleeding becomes heavy or a pregnancy test confirms a negative result.

Can I have intercourse during my IVF treatment cycle?

It is recommended that you only have protected intercourse during your cycle.

What is the chance of success?

Success rates vary greatly between individuals so please discuss your chance of pregnancy with the fertility doctor.

Can I freeze my embryos to use at a later date?

If you produce several embryos through IVF, you may want to freeze the remaining good-quality ones after the transfer.

Some of the benefits of completing a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) over a Fully Stimulated IVF Cycle include:

  • There’s no need to stimulate the ovaries for egg collection
  • Minimal medication
  • No surgical procedure
  • Less time involved to undertake the treatment
Can I go straight into another cycle if this one is unsuccessful?

It is recommended that you have a review of your cycle with the First Step Fertility doctor after each cycle. It is often advised that you have a months break between cycles; however, the doctor will determine what is best for you.

What if I have left-over frozen embryos after I have finished having my family?

There are a few options for excess frozen embryos. They can be disposed of, donated to another infertile person or donated to City Fertility laboratory for training purposes.

If I do fall pregnant, will I still be looked after by you?

First Step Fertility can refer you to a range of specialists who can meet your obstetric needs during pregnancy and help deliver your precious new arrival.

Useful links

First Step Fertility is committed to Providing Quality Care

Our clinics are accredited against the RTAC Code of Practice, a mandatory set of standards established by the Australian Government for all IVF clinics. Accreditation involves a visit to the IVF clinics from an independent team of expert health professionals who annually review the quality and safety of services provided.

Our genetics laboratory is also accredited against ISO 15189. The Medical Laboratory Standard that includes compliance with the
NPAAC and Therapeutic Goods Association for genetic testing. First Step Fertility is committed to the ongoing improvement of patient care.

Our priority is to deliver safe, high-quality care. Our teams constantly audit and test our processes to ensure that we provide our patients with the best practice health care, satisfying their needs and expectations and improve the overall company management and patient care.

For more information or to get started on your journey today, contact us at  1800 111 373 or email us at info@firststepfertility.com.au

Useful links with instructions on how to use your fertility drugs:

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