Infertility means not getting pregnant after a year of regular, unprotected sex. The man, the woman, or both, may have a fertility problem. In women over 35 years old, infertility means not getting pregnant after six months of regular, unprotected sex.
Infertility doesn’t always mean a person is sterile — unable ever to have a child. Up to 15% of all couples are infertile, but only 1% to 2% are sterile. Half of couples who seek help can eventually have a child, either on their own or with medical help.
Both men and women can have a fertility problem. In about 20% of infertile couples, both partners have fertility problems, and in about 15% of couples, no cause is found after all tests have been done. This is called “unexplained infertility.”
For many couples, infertility is a crisis. Fertility problems often come with feelings of guilt or inadequacy.
Couples trying to get pregnant should see a doctor before they start trying to get pregnant — especially if either or both partners have medical issues. During the visit, they can explore whether there are any problems that should be treated to improve fertility and raise their chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby.
What Causes Fertility Problems in Men?
In men, the most common reasons for infertility are problems with sperm, including:
- Low sperm count. Too few or no sperm in the semen.
- Low sperm motility. Sperm don’t move as well as they should.
- Abnormally formed sperm.
- Blocked sperm ducts.
Another common problem is a temporary drop in sperm production. This happens when the testicles have been injured, such as when they have been too hot for too long or the man has been exposed to chemicals or drugs that affect sperm production.
Drinking alcohol and smoking can lower sperm count. And men 40 and older have lower fertility.
What Causes Fertility Problems in Women?
The main reason for infertility in women is not ovulating, which means not releasing eggs from the ovary. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the main cause of not ovulating.
Problems with the fallopian tubes, which carry eggs from the ovary to the uterus, are a common cause of female infertility. Sometimes the tubes are blocked by scar tissue from an infection or from a condition called endometriosis.
Smoking can decrease fertility in women too and can increase risk of ectopic pregnancy.
If an egg does make its way through the fallopian tubes, many things can stop it from implanting in the uterus. And cervical mucus can damage sperm or slow their progress.
Age can be a problem, too. In women, fertility drops with age, and even more so after the age of 35. Getting pregnant after age 45 is rare. Being overweight or underweight can also play a role.
Here are 10 tips which can help you in this stressful situation.
1. Diet and nutrition
If you’re planning to get pregnant you need to start a more balanced eating regimen. You need to eat more alkaline foods, like bean sprouts, peas and milk to increase your chances of conceiving. While you do this, you should also avoid eating acidic foods like red meat and tea because they increase the acidity in the cervical mucus and can influence the sperm negatively.
Multivitamin supplements are necessary when you’re trying to get pregnant, especially ones that contain folic acid because this compound prevents neural tube defects. When you succeed in your efforts you shouldn’t stop taking these supplements unless you’re advised otherwise by your doctor. During pregnancy you still need all the nutrients these supplements provide.
3. Medical check ups
If you’re having difficulties conceiving maybe you should visit a doctor and see if there’s some medical problem which needs to be resolved. Maybe you’re taking medications which may be interfering with the pregnancy and your doctor will advise you what to do.
4. Regular sex
The more sex you’re having the higher the chances to get pregnant. If you have sex every day you won’t have to bother keeping track of your ovulation. Love each other and enjoy sex, the babies will start coming eventually!
5. Change positions
Some doctors even say that certain sex positions can increase the chances of getting pregnant. If you’re doing the missionary pose it’ll be easier for the sperm to reach the cervix and fertilize your egg, because the sperm gets closest to the cervix in this position.
6. Learn your cycle
Timing is everything when it comes to getting pregnant. You need to keep track of your ovulation by checking your basal temperature. Keep track of your cycles to predict ovulation because if you don’t you might miss the best chance to conceive.
7. Make the trip easier
You need to make your vagina more sperm-friendly if you want to have bigger chances to get pregnant because it’s typically not generous to sperm, which makes it harder to get pregnant. If you’re using douches, scented tampons, sprays and lubricants they’re making your vagina more hostile to sperm. Avoid these products while trying for a baby.
8. Stay away from caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs
Studies show that caffeine can significantly reduce your chances of getting pregnant so you need to eliminate caffeinated drinks and food if you’re trying for a baby. You should also avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs because they’ll make it hard for you to conceive and can even lead to birth defects.
9. Exercise and maintain your weight
Everything is good if it’s in moderation. Maintaining a healthy weight and moderate exercise can make it easier to conceive so you need to stay active when you’re trying to get pregnant. It’s also a fact that overweight women have higher estrogen levels which leads to irregular or no ovulation. Still you shouldn’t push yourself too hard. Strenuous workout and rapid and extreme weight loss can even lead to infertility and hormonal imbalance.
10. Enjoy yourself
The more you enjoy sex the more relaxed you will be and you’ll eliminate stress from your life. And eliminating stress may be just what you need when you’re trying to get pregnant because stress can disrupt your cycles and you can lose track of your ovulation. Stay happy, positive and enjoy your sex life, it will yield positive results sooner or later.
If you’ve had a couple of unsuccessful tries at pregnancy we know it can be really stressful and make you feel powerless but you need to stay positive and hope for the best. We hope that these advice we’ve prepared for you will make things easier and will help you get pregnant.