Having Trouble Conceiving?

A man and a woman's hand are shown holding an ultrasound.

Having Trouble Conceiving?

Trying for a baby isn’t easy for every couple. It can take years for some couples to finally conceive.

While there’s no magic solution to fertility, there are some measures that you can take to increase your odds of getting pregnant.

Below is a short guide to all the ways in which you can improve your chances of having a baby.

Risk Factors That Could Make You Less Fertile

Certain factors have scientifically been proven to have a negative impact on fertility rates.

Your age: After the age of 35, a woman’s chances of conceiving become progressively lower. This is particularly the case once you reach your 40s. There’s only a 5% chance of getting pregnant each month. However, fertility treatments can boost these odds.

Your weight: Obesity can lower fertility in both men and women. Being underweight can also have a negative impact on women’s fertility. However, it does not have as serious an effect as being overweight.

Smoking: For women, being a smoker can halve your chances of conceiving. Men who smoke tend to have a lower sperm count and a greater chance of impotence.

Heavy drinking: Heavy alcohol consumption can affect a woman’s ovulation cycle, leading to heavy and more irregular periods. For men, it can meanwhile reduce sperm production and increase the chance of impotence.

A history of STIs: While not all STIs affect fertility, gonorrhea and chlamydia are two that can. Other STIs such as syphilis and HIV may carry a risk of being transferred to your baby if you do conceive.

Things That May Boost Your Fertility

If you want to increase your chances of getting pregnant, check out these tips below.

Giving up smoking/drinking: While some of the health damage caused by smoking and heavy drinking can be irreversible, fertility is generally not permanently damaged by either. In fact, your chances of conceiving may increase rapidly two months after giving up smoking and alcohol. Even if you only give them up temporarily until you’ve had your baby, it’s worth trying.

Losing weight: If you’re overweight, taking measures to lose weight could improve your fertility. Gaining weight if you’re underweight may also help.

De-stressing: Stress can have a negative impact on many aspects of your health including fertility. This could be why many couples find it easier to conceive while on vacation.

Upping your antioxidants: Studies show that a diet high in antioxidants can improve the quality of eggs. Foods to consider include avocados, asparagus, beans, kale, walnuts and salmon. Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries are also a great source of antioxidants and contain high levels of vitamin C and folic acid (which have also been linked to higher fertility).

Taking supplements: There are many fertility supplements that you can take to improve fertility. These could also be worth trying.

Using certain positions: Research suggests that some positions may be better for conceiving. Missionary position is often recommended as there can be an increased chance of conceiving when the woman is on her back.

Know Your Ovulation Cycle

You are most likely to get pregnant during ovulation when a new egg is released from the ovaries. This is a 14-day window before your period starts.

Some apps can help you track your ovulation cycle to know when you are most likely to conceive.

If you have an irregular menstrual cycle, it could be worth talking to a doctor. Stress and heavy drinking are too common causes.

Many women also experience irregular periods for a while after giving up birth control pills.

Getting a Fertility Test

There are many health conditions that can lead to infertility. Some may be conditions that you were born with, while others may be the result of injuries or other diseases.

Such fertility problems can usually be tested for.

Tests may include smear tests, blood tests, urine tests, ultra-sounds, hysteroscopies and even surgery. Not all of these tests may be required.

Using the information on your lifestyle and general health, doctors may narrow down the most likely causes. They will then choose the most suitable tests. Separate tests may be carried out on men.

Options If You Are Infertile

If tests reveal that you are infertile, there may still be options. While you may not be able to conceive naturally, there may still be medications, procedures or alternative solutions that can help.

Fertility drugs: This will usually be the first course of action. Some meds can help with the regular release of eggs. While others can help improve the health of eggs. These may be taken orally or injected—50% of women that take fertility drugs and ovulate end up conceiving. Fertility drugs are also available for men to increase sperm count and to counter impotence. Be wary that some drugs may have side effects.

Surgery: Surgery may be recommended for some health conditions such as fibroids, cervical cancer or an unusually shaped uterus. This could be the solution to your fertility problems. Make sure to weigh up the risks that some procedures may carry.

IVF: IVF involves taking the egg from your ovaries and fertilizing it with sperm in a laboratory. The egg is then returned to your womb, after which a natural pregnancy is possible. IVF doesn’t always work the first time. There is a 50% chance after three IVF cycles that it will be a success.

IUI: Sometimes known as artificial insemination, IUI involves inserting sperm into a woman’s womb in a medical setting. This procedure can also be done at home, known as home insemination. Like IVF, the chance of success increases depending on how many cycles you take.

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Sperm/egg donation: If one partner is infertility, a donor may be able to offer their eggs or sperm. This can sometimes be a solution if other forms of treatment do not work.

Surrogacy: This is when another woman (the surrogate mother) agrees to carry a child for someone else who will then become the parent. An embryo or sperm from the intended parents may be implanted into the surrogate mother so that the baby still has you or your partner’s DNA, although this is not always the case. Surrogacy can be a solution when other options don’t work or when you are unable to carry a child full-term.

Adoption: Adoption is always an option for those that want to become parents. While the child may not biologically be yours, adoption still gives you a chance to become a parent in every other sense.

If and When You Become Pregnant…

By trying various solutions listed above, you could increase your chance of falling pregnant. Of course, there are still obstacles to overcome after this.

Like insuring you are able to carry the child full-term and guaranteeing a healthy birth.

This complete pregnancy checklist offers some tips on how to look after your baby during pregnancy. Medical professionals may be able to offer other advice related to underlying conditions.

Talk to a Professional

Many couples put off talking to a doctor or a fertility specialist. If you have been trying to conceive for a couple years, don’t be afraid to talk to a professional to see your options.

This is particularly important if you are over 35 years old.

Fertility treatment options can take months or years and so you don’t want to keep putting it off.

Do you have any tips for those having trouble conceiving?

Drop me a comment!

Dr. Drayman

A man and a woman's hand are shown holding an ultrasound. Text reads, "Tips that can help, having trouble conceiving?"

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