Fertility is your ability to conceive a baby. The first sign that you or your partner may have a fertility issue is when you have not been able to get pregnant in 12 months of unprotected sex (if you are under 35 years) or 6 months of unprotected sex (if you are 35 years or above). Here is some helpful information to understand your fertility
Last Updated: Oct 22, 2020 11:29 GMT
How good is your ovulation cycle?
A fertile woman generates an ovum (egg) once during her monthly menstrual cycle (In rare cases, it can be more than one, as in the case of twins or more babies). Ovulation is the release of a mature ovum from one of the ovaries. The ovum released, finds its way to the uterus, during which, if it is fertilized by a sperm (from the semen ejaculated by a man), conception of a fetus occurs.
One of the major causes of infertility in women is an issue related to ovulation. If you are not ovulating, everything else done right doesn’t matter; you will not conceive without an ovum. Hormonal imbalance is the most common reason for not releasing an ovum at the right time of the cycle.
Check for the signs of ovulation and check with your doctor if your ovulation cycle is working fine.
Are you timing your intercourse rightly?
Before you panic about the possibility of a fertility issue in you or your partner, make sure you are timing your sex accurately. The day you ovulate determines the most fertile days in a month which is favorable to have intercourse in order to get pregnant. Counting from the day your period begins, you are most likely to ovulate between days 10 to day 14, if you have a regular 28-day cycle. Sperm can survive inside the woman’s body for 5-6 days while an ovum is viable for only 24 hours following ovulation. Hence having intercourse during your fertility window, that is 5-6 days prior to ovulation, can only result in pregnancy. Since menstrual cycle length and ovulation day can vary from women to women, you must use an ovulation tracker or read the signs of ovulation to calculate your fertile days.
What causes infertility?
· Weight is an important factor that determines fertility. Obese or overweight women have found it twice as difficult to get pregnant as women of normal weight.
· Hormonal problems are a major cause of infertility.
· Fertility also decreases with age. Fertility begins to decline after 35 years in women and 45 years in men.
· Other underlying health conditions like polycystic ovary or thyroid problems can affect conception.
· Regular use of tobacco and alcohol has also studied to be linked to infertility.
· Nutritional deficiencies such as vitamins or iron deficiencies can make it difficult to conceive.
· In men, the number of sperm per ejaculation and the quality of sperm can be affected by a number of causes like stress, smoking, drinking alcohol and long hot water baths.
How is infertility diagnosed?
If you have tried to conceive for at least 12 months without contraceptives (if you are under 35 years) or for 6 months (if you are 35 years or above), but have not succeeded, you must consult your doctor. Your doctor might do a series of tests to check your hormones at different stages of your menstrual cycle, to find out other linked disorders and an ultrasound examination of your uterus if necessary. If you score perfect on all the tests, your partner’s semen sample will be examined for motility and sperm count.
What are the treatments available for infertility?
Most infertility problems are treated by hormone therapy, that is, drugs to correct the faulty hormones. In some cases, medicines to boost your partner’s fertility might be enough. In advanced level of infertility treatments, in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be required. In IVF, mature eggs from inside your ovaries will be collected, made to fertilize with sperm under laboratory conditions and the fertilized egg(s), called the embryo(s), will be injected back to your uterus.