Ovulation is an essential part of conceiving a baby, but for some women it happens rarely, if at all. With ovulation induction treatment at her London fertility clinic, female gynaecologist Miss Amanda Tozer has helped many couples realise their dreams of starting a family. Here are five frequently asked questions about the process.

1. How will you get my ovaries to release eggs?

The first step in ovulation induction is usually the ingestion of a mild fertility drug called Clomiphene. In about 70% of women, it stimulates the ovaries to release eggs. It works by blocking the effect of oestrogen in the body, tricking it into increasing follicle-stimulating and luteinising hormones, both essential for ovulation.

2. What is the success rate of Clomiphene?

Clomiphene is the most widely used fertility drug, and out of those for whom it achieves ovulation, about 40% will then become pregnant.

3. What if Clomiphene doesn’t work for me?

Clomiphene does not work for everyone; in these cases, injectable drugs known as gonadotrophins may be appropriate.

4. When do I start?

Your first step is a consultation. At her London fertility clinic, Miss Amanda Tozer talks you through the entire process, ensuring you understand the process and its associated risks, and you will have a candid conversation about ovulation induction success rates, expectations and next steps. She will explain that you will take the Clomiphene tablets from day 2 to day 6 of a bleed.

5. What are the risks of ovulation induction? There is a risk of the ovaries becoming over-stimulated and swelling up, resulting in a bloated feeling. Ignored, OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) can become serious and you will therefore undergo a scan on approximately day 10 of the cycle to monitor this. Other side effects of ovulation induction include hot flushes, abdominal pain, weight gain, insomnia, nausea and mood swings.

Going through IVF is a notoriously stressful time. It is a period where hopes are precious, dreams feel precarious, relationships are tested – and, on top of that, the woman’s body has to cope with an influx of fertility drugs. It would be disingenuous to suggest that you can eliminate stress from the entire process, but here are three things you can do manage some of the stressors along the way.

1. Arm yourself with knowledge.

IVF can be bewildering with lots of information to absorb and digest, and feeling unsure of what to expect will only lead to increased anxiety. Read up on what is involved, and make a list of questions you want answering as these can often escape your mind when it comes to your appointment. Female gynaecologist Amanda Tozer encourages all those receiving treatment at her London fertility clinic to ask as many questions as they need, and is available by phone to help with any concerns, however small.

2. Choose your clinic carefully.

Large fertility clinics can feel impersonal where it is not uncommon to see different people at each appointment. For some couples, the absence of continuity of care can push up those stress levels so a smaller, more intimate clinic may suit you better. At her London fertility clinic, Miss Amanda Tozer offers individualised, one-to-one care, personally seeing couples at each step of the way, including pre-treatment consultation, egg collection, embryo transfer and early pregnancy scans.

3. Plan ahead.

It is important that couples take care of each other – and themselves – during the IVF journey, recognising early on that it is going to be an anxious time. Clear your diary of engagements that are not going to be a welcome distraction, fill your freezer with nutritious meals so you don’t have to think about cooking, and get into the habit of talking to each other about how you are feeling.

Endometriosis is not a rare condition: it affects an estimated 176 million women worldwide. However, while decades of research have told us a great deal more about the disease and how to treat it, there still exist many misconceptions. Long-standing taboos about gynaecological health, ignorance of the facts, and the wide variety of symptoms all combine to obscure a clear picture of how endometriosis affects a woman. Female gynaecologist Miss Amanda Tozer sees many women at her London clinic who despairingly say the perception of her colleagues, and sometimes even friends and family, is that she is merely overreacting to ‘bad period pains’.

I’ve tried but I can’t ‘just get on with it’

When a condition gets in the way of daily life, then it is not ‘normal’ and you can’t ‘just get on with it’. Endometriosis can have a disruptive effect not just on relationships and home life but at work, too: a paper published by the Global Study of Women’s Health in 2011 found that endometriosis accounts for a significant loss of productivity of 11 hours per woman per week. One symptom is heavy, prolonged and severely painful periods. Others include pain during and after sexual intercourse, pelvic pain and difficulty in getting pregnant. Knowing one has endometriosis can help in the management of the symptoms, but consider the finding that, on average, it takes seven years from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment; during this time a woman can experience both significant emotional and physical distress without understanding what is happening to her body.

What are my options?

There is, unfortunately, no cure for endometriosis but there are treatments to relieve pain, slow the growth of endometrial tissue and to improve fertility. During a consultation with experienced London specialist Miss Amanda Tozer, you will discuss the treatment option most appropriate for your individual case, be it hormone drugs, painkillers, or surgical intervention.

The shortage of registered donors at the UK’s new national sperm bank has been much in the news recently. Without such a service, patients feel impelled to go either overseas or to unregistered, and potentially unsafe, providers. Egg donation is an altogether more complicated affair, but this field also has a very limited number of donors. With so few ‘anonymous’ egg donors in the UK, a woman usually needs to find her own donor or consider going abroad for treatment. At female gynaecologist Amanda Tozer’s London clinic, many women say they have a friend or relative willing to donate their eggs, but they are not sure if they are suitable or indeed what is involved.

Who can be an egg donor?

A suitable egg donor will be between 20 and 35 years old, fit and healthy and a normal weight for her height (with a BMI of between 19 and 30). She will have no family history of genetic disorders or inherited diseases, have no unexplained fertility issues – and is not trying to become pregnant at this time.

What questions do we need to ask?

During your consultation at Amanda Tozer’s London fertility clinic, you will discuss every aspect of your IVF treatment. Your donor will have questions of her own and these may include: will donating my eggs affect my own fertility? What conditions do you screen for? What are the risks? Will egg donation hurt? What is involved in egg collection? Are there any legal considerations? At what point is it too late to change my mind? Amanda Tozer has personally guided many couples and their egg donor through the treatment with care and compassion and encourages any concerns to be raised, any questions to be asked, taking as much stress out of the process as is possible.

Hot flushes, mood swings and a loss of libido – these are all commonly discussed menopausal symptoms. Less talked about are symptoms experienced in the vagina: dryness, itching and burning, pain during sex and general laxity. Many women try to ignore this discomfort, either through embarrassment, or because they imagine it is an inevitable – and untreatable – stage of the ageing process.

What is ‘vaginal atrophy’?

During the reproductive years, the ovaries produce the female hormone oestrogen; among its many purposes, oestrogen plays a vital role in maintaining the health and lubrication of the vaginal tissues. When women are peri-menopausal, their oestrogen levels drop significantly, creating a condition in the vulvo-vaginal tract called vaginal atrophy. It is common to many – but certainly not all – women who are postmenopausal, or are going through the menopause. It can happen at other times when the oestrogen levels are affected, such as postpartum, when taking the contraceptive pill, or as a result of cancer treatment.

How can a laser rejuvenate the vagina?

Female gynaecologist Miss Amanda Tozer is pleased to be able to offer an innovative new non-pharmacological therapy to peri-menopausal patients at her London clinic: the MonaLisa Touch. During a consultation, Miss Tozer will conduct a pelvic examination and talk you through the procedure, explaining how and why it is effective. Performed in just three minutes on three separate occasions, the therapy works by inserting a laser in the vagina and directing it at the mucosa of the vaginal walls. By stimulating the tissues and regenerating collagen, pre-menopausal metabolic activity is restored; the mucosa becomes hydrated once more, restoring a trophic supply and rejuvenating the tissues and their functions. A safe, painless and fast procedure with no anaesthetic, painkillers or downtime required, the MonaLisa Touch has delivered significant improvements to vaginal discomfort for many London women.

Most women spend the first months of their pregnancy keeping their fingers crossed. That miscarriage is common in the first trimester is a well-known fact: around 10 to 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, and 80% of these occur in the first 12 weeks. But knowing there is a chance of miscarriage does not soften the blow when it does happen. A miscarriage is a devastating event – and for some women it can happen over and over again…

When do I seek specialist help?

When a woman has three consecutive miscarriages before she reaches 12 weeks, it is termed ‘recurrent miscarriage’. At this point, tests to diagnose an underlying cause are recommended. At her clinic on London’s Harley Street, female gynaecologist Miss Amanda Tozer has helped many couples struggling with fertility issues to achieve the family they so keenly desire with her approach of systematic diagnosis and relevant treatment. However, before embarking on any investigations, she will ensure that you understand firstly that tests may not reveal an explanation for your miscarriages; and, secondly, that it may discover a cause that is not ultimately treatable.

What could be the cause recurrent miscarriage?

There are many known causes of miscarriage, including maternal age or poor health, foetal chromosomal abnormalities, antiphospholipid syndrome, and fibroids. The cause of recurrent miscarriage is not fully understood but the potential causes include luteal insufficiency (a disruption in a the monthly menstrual cycle), immunology, thyroid peroxidase antibodies, and maternal and paternal HLA antigen conformity. At Miss Amanda Tozer’s London fertility clinic, all couples are assessed on an individual basis and the ensuing tests are tailored to their particular medical history. Similarly, the findings of a couple’s individual tests will inform a treatment plan. With compassion and sensitivity, Miss Tozer helps couples in this painful position to uncover, where possible, a reason for their repeated pregnancy disappointment – and, hopefully, a way forward.

For women who ovulate irregularly, or do not have periods at all, ovulation induction can be an effective fertility treatment. If eggs are not released, or are only done so erratically, the chances of conception are low, so by stimulating the ovaries to produce in a predictable window, conception is made more possible.

How does the process work?

The first step is a consultation with a fertility expert such as London female gynaecologist Amanda Tozer. Miss Tozer will take your medical history and run initial diagnostic tests. Before ovulation induction, it is necessary to rule out other issues such as hormone imbalances, blocked fallopian tubes or poor condition of the sperm. If it is appropriate for your fertility needs, you may take Clomiphene, a mild fertility drug. Clomiphene comes in tablet form and is taken from day 2 to 6 of a bleed with a scan performed on day 10; this scan checks that ovulation will occur but that the ovaries are not being over-stimulated. If the ovaries have responded to the Clomiphene, timed intercourse or sperm injected through the cervix (IUI) can be planned. Not all women respond to Clomiphene, however, and may require injectable gonadotrophins to achieve ovulation induction.

Are there any risks?

A woman undergoing ovarian induction does run the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) but the day 10 scan is designed to catch that early by ensuring only one or two follicles are developing. There is also a risk of multiple pregnancies: twins can result in up to 10% of Clomiphene treatment cases, and 20% with gonadotrophins. All risks and side effects will be discussed at your consultation. Fertility treatment can be a stressful and emotional time. At Amanda Tozer’s London fertility clinic, you will receive one-to-one care, with Miss Tozer personally performing each procedure and being on hand throughout to answer any questions or concerns you have.

The term ‘infertility’ can sound so final to couples desperately trying to start a family. It is defined as ‘a failure to conceive after regular unprotected sexual intercourse for one to two years’ – but there is still hope when that period passes: IVF. The good news is that assisted conception techniques are continually developing and we have already come a long way: according to the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA), the IVF birth rate which was just 14% in 1991 nearly doubled to 25% in 2012. Today, 2.2% of all babies born in the UK have been conceived through IVF.

What are the affecting factors?

As female gynaecologist Amanda Tozer explains to couples presenting at her London fertility clinic, there are various factors that affect the successful outcome of IVF treatment, including a woman’s previous pregnancies, the type of infertility problem affecting either or both partners, whether donor eggs from a younger woman are used, the health and lifestyle of the couple, and even the clinic attended. The most influencing factor, however, is age. The likelihood of becoming pregnant after IVF treatment is strongly linked to the age of the woman being treated. Women aged between 18 and 34 have a markedly higher success rate per embryo transfer (41.8%) than older women: those in the 40–42 drop to 23.1%.

What should I look for in a fertility clinic?

IVF is a high specialised, highly technical procedure so choose with care. London fertility expert Miss Tozer’s success rate is in line with other respected and credible fertility treatments because she follows a methodical process of diagnosis and treatment procedures. With personalised, one-to-one care not often received at large, impersonal clinics, Amanda Tozer has guided many childless couples through the IVF process and helped them achieve the family they so desire.

While the average menstrual cycle is 28 days, many women have cycles that are several days shorter, or indeed a week longer. The length of a period varies from woman to woman, too: some bleed for seven days, some just for two. However, after puberty, most women will have settled into a cycle and are able to estimate the date and length of their next period. For other women, however, menstruation is an unpredictable affair.

When should I seek medical advice for irregular bleeding?

As a general guide, visit your GP if: your periods last longer than seven days or are more frequent than once a month; you have very heavy periods and need to change tampons/pads every hour or two; heavy bleeding that flows into your bed or through your clothes; you experience bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse. It is not uncommon for a change in contraception to disrupt your menstrual cycle and your GP should talk you through the side effects beforehand. If your irregular periods are not explained by contraception changes, your GP may refer you to a specialist such as London female gynaecologist Amanda Tozer for further investigation.

What is causing my irregular periods?

Heavy, prolonged and irregular periods are in most cases secondary to either a pelvic condition such as fibroids or a hormonal problem. During a consultation at Miss Amanda Tozer’s London clinic, you will undergo diagnostic tests including a physical examination, hormone levels and a pelvic ultrasound. It may be necessary to perform a saline sonography to evaluate the uterine cavity for endometrial polyps or fibroids. If you are over 40, Miss Tozer will recommend a hysteroscopy to ensure nothing is missed in the uterus. Once the cause of your irregular bleeding is diagnosed, your treatment options can be discussed. Many women have benefited from some very simple treatment.

Women who have gone through the menopause will tell you that they suffered a range of symptoms. Some were perhaps merely mild irritations, but others may have caused distress, especially when a previously happy sex life was affected.

During the menopause, the ovaries produce less oestrogen to which the vulvo-vaginal tract reacts sensitively; this decline can lead to vaginal atrophy and, very commonly, dryness.

What are my treatment options?

While the menopause itself cannot be ‘cured’ there are a number of approaches to managing the symptoms. London female gynaecologist Miss Amanda Tozer helps many women each year in her menopause clinic, offering balanced and specialist advice on HRT, alternative therapies and lifestyle changes. Miss Tozer is now also able to offer an innovative and effective laser treatment for vaginal atrophy: the FDA approved MonaLisa Touch. Through a gentle and relatively painless action, the laser rejuvenates the vaginal tissue and restores the pre-menopausal structure. Pre-menopausal metabolic activity can recommence, regaining hydrated vagina mucosa. Clinical results show that after just three treatments in menopause patients, the MonaLisa Touch 75% of women notice an improvement in vaginal dryness.

Are there other benefits to the MonaLisa Touch?

By using laser energy to treat the mucosa of the vagina walls, the tissue is tightened, toned and reshaped and the production of collagen stimulated. In this way the laser treatment can help many women both perimenopausal and postpartum who suffer from vaginal laxity, mild urinary incontinence and pain during sexual intercourse. At Miss Amanda Tozer’s London clinic, the treatment is delivered in three sessions, each lasting three minutes and scheduled four to six weeks apart. A fast, simple and safe procedure, the MonaLisa Touch has proven results and has helped many women to embrace their post-menopausal life without the confidence-destroying symptoms of vaginal atrophy.