Issues getting in the way of conception and healthy childbirth are far from uncommon. The data says that 10% of all couples actively trying to conceive find that that natural method just isn’t enough. Of course, there are plenty of reasons it might not happen for you immediately, but when is it time to take a closer look at the issue? What options are there, and how should you try to improve your chances as much as possible?
Check the issue from both angles
Because pregnancy is a primarily female experience, there’s a great misconception that women tend to be “responsible” for fertility issues. Even if there’s no blame attached to this misconception, that doesn’t change the fact it’s a misconception. Men and women share the issue pretty evenly. A study found that 33% of fertility difficulty stems from issues with the male, 33% from issues with the female, and 33% caused by both or by indeterminate problems. If you’re suspecting that you’re having more trouble conceiving than you should, make sure that both parties get checked out, not just one of you.
Start making health changes now
Regardless of any other suspicions, changes in how you manage your body’s health can make a big impact on your chances of conceiving. One of the most important changes is to quit smoking. Smoking causes over a tenth of all fertility issues in women and can result in plenty of issues for men, too, including a decrease of 23% in a man’s sperm count. Other factors, such as obesity, poor sleep quality, and a diet full of rich, acidic foods can be just as bad for the hormonal balance of the body. Starting to live a healthier life is going to give you a much better chance of conceiving. Of course, if you have any symptoms that would suggest there is another issue, you shouldn’t stop at looking at your lifestyle.
Consider the role of other health issues
There are some issues that are going to have an obvious impact on your chances of conceiving. If your periods are irregular or fail to happen, for instance, your chances are very low. However, 40% of women experiencing such issues induce regular ovulation with fertility drugs such as clomiphene. There are other issues not directly related to the reproductive organs that can have just as much impact, however. We’ve mentioned obesity, diet, and poor lifestyle habits. But stress, thyroid disease, STDs and autoimmune conditions are all some of the lesser-known health issues that can lead to fertility problems. Think about your medical history and make sure any doctor or fertility treatment specialist you see is made aware of it. You never know what might be playing a role.
Start talking about treatment plans
Fertility drugs are just one of the treatment options out there that improve your chances of a healthy conception. Over 65% of all couples who seek treatment have a successful result eventually. By far the most effective treatment for infertility is using in-vitro fertilization. The success rates, on average, are over 40% of all women under 35, though those rates can vary dramatically based on other factors including those mentioned above. Nowadays, more low cost IVF treatments are becoming available, so it’s not as exclusive as it once was. Intrauterine insemination is another option, often done in tandem with IVF, with a 10-20% rate of success with one treatment.
Get a closer look
There are other conditions that might require surgery, as well. For instance, endometriosis can present with no symptoms at all, but it can also present with pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, heavy bleeding and more. It’s just one cause of fallopian tube blockage, alongside pelvic inflammatory disease, STDs, and more. In these cases, surgery to repair damaged fallopian tubes or to remove excess tissue can get rid of some of the very physical barriers to your body’s ability to host a fertilized egg in the uterus. It’s important to visit your gynecologist regularly and to ask for fertility tests to keep updated on any potential issues as the longer that problems like endometriosis persist, the worse they can get.
The medical ruling for infertility is when a couple has trouble conceiving for over a year. That means if you’re just a couple months in and not seeing the results, it might not be a fertility issue. Of course, if you have any other symptoms that make you suspicious or either party (or both) are 35, then you should go after six months of not conceiving naturally.