A normal fertile couple in their mid-20s having regular sex has a one in four chance of conceiving each month. This means that around nine out of ten couples trying for a baby will conceive within a year. However, one in ten will not - and these couples are either subfertile or infertile. Infertility is usually defined by fertility specialists as the inability to conceive after at least one year of trying. Many 'infertile' couples can be helped by assisted-conception treatments.
Assisted conception may help most (though not all) of these conditions, and there is evidence that repeated cycles of treatment can help to achieve a pregnancy.
Assisted conception is not usually a first resort in the treatment of infertility. Other options such as advice on the timing of intercourse may have been tried first. In fact, the treatment route, which a gynaecology chooses will mainly depend on the result of investigations. For example, fertility drugs with timed intercourse will be no help to a couple whose infertility is a result of the female's blocked fallopian tubes; only surgical repair or assisted conception will help in this case.