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Fertility Clinic

What you can do

Frequency of sexual intercourse - having sexual intercourse every two or three days optimises the chance of pregnancy. Timing intercourse to coincide with ovulation can be stressful and is not recommended.

Stop smoking - you are less likely to get pregnant if you or your partner smokes. Women who smoke reduce their fertility outcome. There is also an association between men who smoke and reduced semen quality. Stopping smoking will improve general health and is required for anyone who is eligible for NHS IVF treatment. To get help to stop smoking either contact your GP, go to, or telephone the NHS helpline 0800 0224332.

Reduce alcohol intake - drinking excess quantities of alcohol can impact fertility for both men and women. For further information about alcohol units and recommended levels of alcohol consumption go to:

Optimise your weight ‑ you are less likely to get pregnant if you are underweight or overweight. Your body mass index (BMI) is a ratio of your height (metres) and your weight (Kg). Ideally your BMI should be between 19-29. Women who have a BMI of greater than 29 take longer to conceive. Men who are overweight are likely also to have reduced fertility.

For women who have a BMI greater than 29 and are not ovulating, losing weight may achieve regular ovulatory cycles and is the first line treatment. In those women who have a BMI less than 19 and who have irregular or no cycles, increasing body their weight to the normal range will improve chance of pregnancy. Joining a group weight loss programme involving exercise and dietary advice is most beneficial. For further advice and how to work out your BMI go to:

Take folic acid - taking folic acid before conception and up to 12 weeks of pregnancy reduces the risk of having a baby with spina bifida.

Reduce stress - excess stress can affect a couple’s relationship, and may cause reduced libido and frequency of sexual intercourse, which in turn can reduce the chance of getting pregnant.

Eat a healthy diet – eating a healthy balanced diet will improve your general health and fertility. For more advice go to:



Useful Contacts

Fertility Clinic
Royal Berkshire Hospital Foundation Trust
London Road
Reading RG1 5AN

Tel: 0118 322 8785

Nurse Advice Line
Tel: 0118 322 7286