IVF & fertility webchat with Professor Harrison - 1st March

Join us 12-1pm on Mon 1st March for our live webchat with author and IVF expert Professor Robert Harrison.

Prof Harrison has 35 years experience in this area and is the author of The Smart Guide to Infertility.

Post your questions here on Monday and he'll do his best to answer as many as possible during the live session.


  • Welcome today's webchat. Prof Harrison will be here in 20 or so minutes to start answering your questions. To be sure your query is answered start posting now...
  • Hi Prof Harrison
    Would it be possible to get a little info on the drug chlomid? I have PCOS and have heard that it helps conception. Could you tell me how it helps and if there are any side effects? Does it affect your weight? As I find it so hard to lose it at the best of times. Thanks for your help.
  • We have been ttc for almost 10 months. Cycles started at over 100 days but have come down to around 34 days, This cycle i have not stopped bleeding for more then a day, for 13 days its been constant. The doctor has sent me to me tested for pcos but this doesn't match any symptom on any of the pcos sites i've visited. i haven't ovulated this cycle. I get the blood test results on thursday, what questions should i be asking? does it even seem like pcos?
    Worrying for 22 days is making everything alot worse
  • Dear Molly May,

    Nice to hear from you. Certainly Clomid is an excellent drug for somebody trying to conceive who has PCOS with results of upto 60% to be expected. However if someone is overweight this cuts down the chances a lot of the drug working so it pays to try and get as near to your normal weight for height as possible. Multiple pregnancy is the main side effect and sometimes the cervical mucus is lessened. Suggest you talk this over with your GP although I personally feel that this is better dispensed only after full investigations with a fertility clinic.

    Best of luck.

  • Dear Nilo

    Thank you for your email. Not everybody who has irregular cycles like you has PCOS. For some it is normal although it does make working out the best time to conceive difficult. It is possible that the bleeding this time is related to your length of cycle and of course any hormones taken except those on day 3 of the cycle will be difficult to interpret. You don't say whether you are with your GP or at a fertility clinic if the former is true I would suggest that even though you have only been trying for 10 months that from your history now is the time for full hormonal investigations of your cycle. I understand this must be very frustrating but in order to try and find out if any fertility drugs will help will take some time and maybe quite a few hormone tests. It is easy for me to say don't panic yet but I do say it as it sounds as though you have not been fully investigated yet. The questions I suggest you ask are all related to the hormone tests but do not be surprised if they don't find anything for as I have said at the start not everybody has regular cycles.

    Best wishes

  • hello dr, myself and my partner have been ttc for 8 months now, i am 21 and he is 24, last month i began using the clearblue fertlity monitor and taking pregnacare. i no 8 months isnt that long but to me it is. i was wondering if there is anything more i can do and what is the average time it takes a couple to concieve? i was on the pill for 6 years could this be a contributing factor? i just fear the worst that we are unable to have children! i dont mean to waste you time i am just looking for answers. thankyou
  • Dear Anne01

    Thank you for your question. Secondary infertility is frustrating particularly when little or nothing has been found. I see you have a low AMH which as you know measures your ovarian reserve. This does not mean that you will not ovulate spontaneously but is of significance if an attempt is made to stimulate the ovaries artificially especially if going for IVF because you may not respond as well as others leading to the need to stop the cycle or end up with less eggs than usual. AMH is however not the only measure of ovarian reserve for instance day 3 FSH may also indicate how true this is. Additionally when an abnormal level is found it should always be repeated to make sure. In general terms IVF therapy gives better results than IUI.

    Best of luck.

  • How long does it take for men to produce sperm? My partner has been quite ill with bad flu and had been taking lots of over counter flu drugs, and then in the end anti biotics. We thought we should have break from ttc, until he is better, but wonder how long it will take to get out of his system and out of his newly produced sperm. It also has a yellow tinge to it, is this because he is ill or is it something more serious should we get it checked out? Thanks in advance.
  • Dear Sally881,

    The WHO state that 80% of those trying to conceive provided they are having regular intercourse conceive within one year and 70% take home a baby. Of those that are left a further 50% conceive within the second year hence the recommendation that particularly at your age leaving time for natural conception is important and that it is better not to rush into potentially expensive and often not very nice investigations and treatment. In terms of being on the pill provided your cycles came back regular when you stopped it this should not be a factor at all. Because you are anxious however maybe this is the time for your and your partner to go and see your GP to discuss the issue. Using fertility monitors can be helpful but can also make you more anxious. If it looks good for say a 3 month period then why use them any more?

    Kind regards

  • Hello Doctor,

    I'm 29 and had my copper coil removed in October. Me and my hubby (who is 37) have been actively trying and using BBT charting to make sure we 'try' at all the right times but still no luck. I just wonder if you had any information on whether the copper coil can harm fertility


    Mrs Robertson
  • Hi, I am currently in IVF. My E2 level peaked to 17500, and it has now dropped to 16,000. I am coasting and am waiting for it to drop to below 12,000 before they will consider egg collection. How quickly can your EC levels drop and is there anything I can do to help them drop? I am also considered that my egg quality is going to decrease?? The hospital tell me they won't decrease but the internet has conflicting opinions?
    Many Thanks for your help,
  • Hi Prof Harrison

    My husband and I have been trying to conceive for 12 months now with no luck. He's works away so its a little harder for us.

    I have 3 questions: I had a blood test for PCOS and will be seeing the doctor tomorrow for the results. I was just wondering because I have regular periods and ovulate every month does that mean I don't have PCOS? and what are the common symptoms for PCOS?

    Also my Husband works on a mine site, sitting in machinary all day, Because we are in Western Australia it can get so hot, could this be affecting his sperm? He has had it tested and it came back fine but that was in the cooler months.

    I am 21 and my husband is 25.

    I would really appreciate you advise and any imformation you could pass on.


    [Modified by: miss88 on March 01, 2010 12:27 PM]

  • Dear Heres-Hoping

    Men produce sperm in a conveyor belt fashion. It takes 72 days from start to finish. Therefore it is usual at the end of that time that how healthy he was 72 days before might affect his count temporarily. However sperm counts fluctuate from day to day in any case and there is no evidence that flu, flu drugs or antibiotics will affect it. The colour sounds okay to me. Don't give up on the ttc.

    Kind regards

  • Dear Mrs. Robertson,

    Love the parsnip?? Did you grow it yourself?? The copper coil in itself will not harm fertility unless infection has got in go the uterus/tubes which is rare. From the point of view of conceiving you seem to have been trying for six months so at this stage there is no need to panic as the WHO data shows 80% of patients will conceive within one year of trying, 70% taking home a baby and of those remaining 50% will conceive in year 2. However as you are worried it would do no harm for the two of you to talk things over with your GP.

    Best of luck.

  • Dear RachieS

    With E2 levels like this as I am sure your clinic will have told you there is a danger of hyperstimulation syndrome. However the E2 levels do not tell the whole story and ultrasound follicle count will I am sure also have been taken into account in how the clinic are advising you be managed. There is no evidence that egg quality decreases at all as far as I know and coming off the drugs is all that can be done to help the E2 levels drop. You are obviously worried about this quite rightly but you are being managed as we would do here. I suggest you pose these questions straight away to the clinic managing you as they will have all the evidence in front of them.

    Very best of luck.

  • Hi professor Harrison
    Me and my partner are hoping to try for our third child soon. I have regular 29 day cycles but since i had second child i get up to a week of spotting before my period starts. I've been to the doctors and she did some tests which all came back clear. Could this affect my fertility?
    Many thanks
  • Dear Karina,

    Not sure how old you are and I note you have been trying to conceive for 12 months but maybe not all that time as he is away. PCOS has different definitions and ovulation is possible with it. To diagnose it you need at least two of three clinical signs.

    1. Infrequent/absent ovulation
    2. Clinic or biological signs of hyperandrogenism such as acne or hirsutism or high male hormone levels
    3. Ultrasound evidence of polycystic ovaries.

    Other hormone tests that may help the diagnosis are the FSH/LH ratio which is normally 1:1 but is suggestive of PCOS at 3:1.

    If your husbands sperm count is okay while heat can affect sperm counts it sounds as though you do not have to worry in this regard.

    Karina I have no idea whether you are in a big city or not all I can say is that there are superb fertility clinics that your GP could refer you and your husband to in all the major cities but don't forget that WHO have shown 80% of those trying to conceive with regular monthly intercourse will conceive within a year and 50% of those left in the second year. So maybe time is still on your side.

    Very very best regards

  • Dear Ricecake,

    It is unlikely that the spotting you describe affects fertility. You have not said what tests your GP did but if this includes a progesterone level between day 20 to day 24 which was normal then certainly from an ovulation point of view there would be nothing to worry about. For instance was a smear test done? an ultrasound 0f the pelvis might also help diagnose another cause if any is present.

    Kind regards

  • Dear All,

    Enjoyed this very much. If you would like more detailed information about my view point on managing infertility please look up my book

    The Smart Guide to Infertility - Myths and Reality - Hammersmith Press ISBN-978-1-905140-23-7
    Robert F. Harrison

    Available in all good book shops and Amazon.

    Kind regards to all.

    Robert F. Harrison.
  • Today's webchat has now finished. We hope you found it useful.

    Thank you to Professor Harrison for his very informative answers on fertility.

    [Modified by: bxwebmaster on March 01, 2010 01:01 PM]

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