Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive a pregnancy after 12 months of unprotected intercourse. The causes of infertility are varied and can be both male and female factors affecting the chance of a successful pregnancy.
To give yourself the best chance of falling pregnant, consider meeting a doctor soon as you feel you are having difficulties conceiving.
As a general guide, consider speaking to a fertility specialist if:
You’re a woman and:
- You are under 35 and have been trying to conceive for 12 months
- You are over 35 and have been trying to conceive for 6 months
- You have been diagnosed with PCOS, Pelvic inflammatory disease or Endometriosis
- You experience irregular or painful menstrual cycles
You’re a man and:
- If you have a known problem of low sperm count
- If you have a family history of infertility.
1 in 6 couples experience difficulty in conceiving. Remember you are not alone and we are here to help.
There can be many reasons for infertility, both male and female. This is by no means an exhaustive list and it’s important to remember just because you have one of the listed reasons for infertility doesn’t mean you will be infertile. A female’s fertility can be affected by a woman’s age, problems with the fallopian tubes, ovulation disorders, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids and pelvic inflammatory disease. Male infertility reasons relate to problems with sperm production or sperm transportation.
Maximising your overall health and wellbeing is the first step to improving your overall chance of success.
Remember simple lifestyle changes shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to improving your fertility and chance of a successful pregnancy. Weight is an important factor to discuss. The main effect of weight – either too low or too high – on fertility in women is failure to ovulate. In men, obesity can lower sperm counts by up to 50%.
Overweight men are also more likely to suffer erectile dysfunction and have a higher rate of DNA fragmentation in sperm. Smoking is toxic to the health of eggs and sperm, and will lower the chance of conception. The best advice when it comes to alcohol and caffeine is to cut it out altogether or reduce your intake to 1 cup of coffee per day.