What to Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant
If pregnancy does not occur within six months of an active sexual life, then this is one of the signs of infertility. But don’t panic. This does not mean at all that you have infertility, perhaps you just need, for example, to adjust your diet. Second, infertility is treated. Well, you should not immediately start in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Remember, infertility is not the same as IVF.
Let’s figure out what to do
Infertility is a diagnosis that 10% of women all over the world have to live with: according to statistics, every fourth married couple is infertile. In this article, we will talk about what female infertility is, how to live with it and whether one can overcome it.
What is female infertility?
Female infertility is a diagnosis that is made after a year of unsuccessful attempts to have children, subject to regular sex with a partner without contraception. If a woman is older than 35 years, the diagnosis is made faster – after 6 months. After 35 years, the ability to conceive gradually decreases, so older women should not delay treatment.
However, one should not rush to make sad conclusions either. According to statistics, even completely healthy couples under the age of 30 manage to conceive a child in the first three months only in 20-37% of cases. At the same time, after six months, pregnancy occurs already in 80% of couples. Until a year has passed from the first attempt, there is no need to worry, be examined, and even more so, to be treated.
Why healthy women don’t get pregnant immediately
Pregnancy depends on many reasons – in order for the “stars to align” and all the factors to coincide, sometimes some time must pass.
For example, it is known that it is easiest to get pregnant if you make love 3-4 times a week. But a break of more than 5 days can adversely affect the quality of spermatozoa.
In addition, a lot depends on the lifestyle of parents – stress and heavy workload reduce fertility in both men and women. It’s no surprise that many successful pregnancies have started during family vacations.
How to increase your chances of conceiving a baby
If less than 6-12 months have passed since the first attempt, you can try a few “life hacks”:
- Choose the best time to conceive. According to some reports, the day of ovulation and 2-3 days before it are best suited for conception. To find out when ovulation occurs, a urinary express test for luteinizing hormone will help – a day or two before ovulation it will become positive. However, calculating the optimal time is not always the best option.
- Do not use lubricants. Water-based, oil-based and silicone-based lubricants reduce sperm survival. But lubricants based on hydroxyethylcellulose have less effect on sperm survival – so if there is a lack of lubrication, you can continue to use them.
- Get off diets. Good nutrition is the key to a successful pregnancy. But don’t overeat either. There is evidence that a body mass index (BMI) in the range of 19-30 is ideal for pregnancy. In women who have a BMI greater or less, the time to conception increases.
- You can calculate your BMI manually by dividing your weight by your height squared. Alternatively, you can use the built-in calculator on the website of the medical organization, or download a special application.
- Quit smoking and give up alcohol. Smoking increases the risk of infertility by 1.6 times. You must not abuse alcohol – eat more than 20 grams of ethanol per day, the risks of becoming infertile increase by 60%.
- On the other hand, the position of the body during sex, based on the available data, does not affect the result in any way. The “missionary” position is suitable for conception just like any other.
If more than a year has passed, and nothing helps, it is time to see a doctor. Only a doctor can diagnose “infertility” ist (reproductologist).
What are some possible causes of infertility?
It is important to understand that infertility is not only a female problem. Both a woman and a man can be infertile. This means that it is necessary to examine both partners to make a diagnosis .
Causes of female infertility
- cervical factor – cervical mucus “does not allow” the sperm to move to the uterus;
- tubal factor – there are spasms or overlaps in the fallopian tubes due to adhesions, tumors and other pathologies that prevent the egg from moving from the ovary to the uterus;
- cervical factor – spermatozoa cannot move through the cervical canal if there are any pathologies in it; in addition, the pH of the channel mucus does not contribute to this;
- tubal-peritoneal factor – the fallopian tubes are connected to the mesentery, as a result of which adhesions form on them;
- immunological factor – antibodies are produced in the female body that destroy spermatozoa or their own eggs;
- endocrine factor – hormonal disruptions, obesity or underweight, severe injuries;
- psychological factor – stress, emotional stress, excess negative information;
- genetic factor – endometriosis, premature menopause, primary amenorrhea, hyperandrogenism.
Causes of male infertility
- varicocele – varicose veins of one or two testicles;
- genital defects – for example, undescended testicles in the scrotum;
- genital injuries – blows to the perineum during sports, falls, accidents;
- infectious diseases – mumps;
- STDs – gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis;
- inflammatory processes in the genitourinary organs – prostatitis, urethritis;
- sexual disorders (poor erection, premature ejaculation);
- hormonal disorders – an insufficient amount or an excess of male hormones;
- immunological disorders – antibodies are produced that destroy spermatozoa;
- psychological infertility – unpreparedness for fatherhood, fear of responsibility, infantilism.
Before going to the doctor, a couple should independently test the method for determining the ability to conceive. To do this, a woman every morning measures her basal temperature and builds a graph. This will allow the couple to know exactly the time of ovulation and try to conceive a child in anticipation of the release of the egg from the follicle. Also, a woman needs to keep her peiod calendar. This calendar will greatly simplify the task of the doctor during the examination.
What tests should be done to confirm the diagnosis?
Both spouses are subject to examination for infertility. Some tests are prescribed for both sexes, and some analyzes are intended only for men / women.
In the course of the study, it is necessary to conduct a number of biochemical and clinical studies in order to identify homeostasis disorders and possible deviations in the work of the internal systems.
- Blood test for RW, HCV, HBV;
- Identification of the blood group and Rh factor;
- Hormonal tests;
- Blood test for infections (herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, rubella);
- A smear of vaginal discharge for chronic infections (chlamydia, mycoplasmosis, ureaplasmosis, herpes simplex virus, human papillomavirus, cytomegalovirus);
- Pap smear (a procedure to test for cervical cancer in women);
- Bacterial seeding. The study of flora in the obtained material.
- Blood test for RW, HCV, HBV;
- Spermogram. Ejaculate study;
- MAR test. Detection of antisperm antibodies;
- Biopsy. Material is taken from the testicle to assess the quality of sperm production;
- Blood tests for hormones. The level of testosterone is studied, as well as other hormones produced by the pituitary gland, hypothalamus and testicles;
- A smear from the urethra. Infections are detected – chlamydia, mycoplasmosis, ureaplasmosis, herpes simplex virus and cytomegalovirus;
- Genetic research. Detection of mutations, congenital syndromes.
Is it possible to cure female infertility?
Infertility is treated, and often quite successfully – according to statistics, 50% of women are able to conceive a child after diagnosis and therapy. On the other hand, success depends on many factors, such as the age, history of previous pregnancies, problems with the partner’s sperm. Many factors influence the possibility of getting pregnant, so it can be difficult to predict the result.
If the problem is related to being overweight or underweight, it is often enough to normalize the weight for a successful pregnancy. True, much more often the problem is associated with sex hormones – in this situation, the doctor will select the appropriate medication. And if a woman has the problem is in the obstruction of the fallopian tubes or in the uterus itself, surgery may be required.
What to do when treatment doesn’t work
If these treatments are not suitable or have not helped, the in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure is done.
The essence of IVF is that the patient’s ovaries are stimulated with the help of hormones, then the egg is taken and fertilized with the husband’s sperm, then the embryo is “grown” in a special incubator for some time and transplanted into the mother’s uterus. A baby is born in the same way as other children conceived “naturally”.
The average cost for a complete IVF cycle in the US is about $12,000 + medications. In large metropolitan areas it is often higher. There are some low cost IVF programs that charge significantly less than average.
It is important to understand that this is a complex treatment method that requires serious preparation and gives the best result until the age of 40-45. It is difficult to predict how successful IVF will be. According to statistics, the procedure ends with the birth of a healthy baby in about 27% of cases.
At the same time, IVF success rates vary greatly not only in different countries but also in different clinics in the same city. There are clinics in which in 30-40% of cases it is possible to achieve a positive result on the first try.
Very often, mothers are concerned about possible health problems that may occur in children conceived with the help of IVF. But in recent times there has been much less cause for concern than 20 years ago.
When the method was first created, all viable embryos that were obtained after fertilization were planted in the uterus of mothers “just in case”. If everyone took root, the mother often gave birth to twins or triplets, and sometimes “quadruples”. It is much harder to bear several children than one.
Today, the goal of the procedure is the birth of one healthy baby, so mothers transfer only one, maximum two of the best embryos. As a result, most children born after IVF do not differ much from their peers.
To sum up…
- Female infertility is as common as male infertility. If you can’t get pregnant within a year, you need to be examined, and sometimes treated together with your spouse.
- Infertility is a complex diagnosis that can have many causes. However, after treatment, about half of women successfully become pregnant and give birth to healthy babies (without IVF).
- IVF is a fairly effective way to give birth to a healthy baby. Howerver, this method (like any other) has pros and cons, so you need to make a decision after consulting with a doctor.
Tags: babies, female health, infertility, pregnancy, women