If you’re trying for a baby and it’s taking longer than expected, there may be a number of worries that spring to mind. For example, if you’re in your thirties, you might be quick to wonder about the ‘biological clock’. Valid questions to ask and perhaps you might want to consider a fertility check. But there’s one thing you may not have considered, and it could be crucial. Could You Have A Hidden Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)? We know what you’re thinking – that’s crazy. You and your partner have been together for years, and neither of you has any symptoms. But unfortunately, two of the STIs most likely to disrupt your fertility – chlamydia and gonorrhoea – often have no symptoms and can go undetected for years. What’s more, these two culprits are among the most commonplace STIs. In fact sexually transmitted infections are surprisingly common and can still affect people who’ve had very few partners. How Do STIs Affect Fertility? STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea can affect the fertility of both women and men. If they go untreated, these infections can lead to epididymitis in men, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women. PID can cause fallopian tube scarring, which can create blockages and prevent conception. Some research indicates that up to 25% of infertility cases are related to past or present sexually transmitted infection. Don’t despair though. Thankfully, both chlamydia and gonorrhoea are easily treated with antibiotics. If diagnosed early, they shouldn’t cause any major problems. This is why sexual health check-ups are so important – early intervention is crucial. Dr Eskander, one of the UK’s leading gynaecologist-obstetricians and director of The Gynae Centre told us: “It’s very important to get checked out. Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that because they have had only a few partners in their lifetime, they are immune from STIs, but that simply isn’t the case. At the start of any new relationship, both partners should have a sexual health check-up.” He continued: “If you are trying for a baby and you or your partner haven’t had a screening since the relationship began, it is wise to remedy that. At the very least, you can rule out any problems. The sooner you identify any potential roadblocks, the better.” Be on the look-out for any symptoms of a possible problem. Talk to your doctor about any past STIs. STIs And IVF If you are considering assisted conception, STI screening is a must, Dr Eskander tells us. In addition to ruling out an STI as a possible cause of fertility problems, it’s important to make there are no infections which could be transmitted to the baby (herpes, for instance). Other Causes Of Infertility There are a number of other possible causes for fertility problems, from declining egg quality due to age, to uterine (womb) problems. There could also be male factors such as low sperm count or low motility. Getting to the root of any issues quickly can save you precious time when you’re trying for a baby. The Gynae Centre offers comprehensive fertility screening for women in state of the art, reassuring surroundings, with the finest gynaecological and fertility experts. We can also offer infertility treatments like IVF and ICSI in association with our esteemed partner clinic, The Fertility and Gynaecology Academy. For a consultation call us now on 020 7580 8090 and speak to a member of our team.