Infertility means not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying (or six months if a woman is older than 35). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mentions that about 10% of women (6.1 million) between the ages of 15 and 44 have difficulty conceiving or retaining their baby in the womb. While infertility can have symptoms like irregular periods or severe menstrual cramps, the truth is that most causes of infertility are silent. Male infertility in fact rarely has any symptoms.
So, we reached out to Dr Kaberi Banerjee, IVF Specialist and Director of Advance Fertility and Gynaecology Centre, and asked her to share her insights on the possible reasons one may have difficulty conceiving. Read on to know all that she shared.
To conceive, the sperm needs to come in contact with the egg during ovulation. And not every day of the month is fair game for this! If you have just started trying or haven't narrowed in on an exact ovulation window yet, you could just be trying to get pregnant at the wrong time during the month. Tracking menstrual cycles can help address this issue. Almost 80% of young couples conceive after 6 months of trying, and approximately 90% after 12 months of trying to get pregnant.
Human conception requires an egg and sperm. If you're not ovulating, you won't be able to get pregnant. Anovulation is a common cause of female infertility, and it can be triggered by many conditions. In this case, try speaking to a fertility specialist about additional tests and procedures they can offer to help regulate, and identify why ovulation isn't occurring.
Sperm Or Semen Issues
Women may carry the baby, but it takes two to tango. 40% - 50% of infertile couples discover fertility factors on the man's side. It is true that men can produce sperm their entire life, there is also a question of sperm quality. The number, shape, and motility (movement) of sperm can affect fertility. If there is a concern, your provider can do a semen analysis.
For women after age 35, and for men after age 40, it can take longer to get pregnant. Some women assume if they still get regular periods, their fertility is fine, but this isn't true. Age impacts egg quality as well as quantity. Also, if your partner is five or more years older than you are, this can further increase your risk of fertility problems after age 35.
Other Medical Issues
There are many medical issues that can impact your fertility. Some common ones include PCOS and endometriosis. Fibroids, polyps, and other uterine conditions need to be evaluated. Endometrial health is key to successful pregnancy and certain conditions like tuberculosis may damage the endometrium. If you have a medical condition known to impact fertility, it is important to speak with your doctor sooner rather than later. Thyroid imbalances affect fertility and must be corrected. You should also see a fertility specialist if you have a history of miscarriages or are aware of a genetic or other medical condition that would impact fertility. Blocked fallopian tubes can generate multiple issues as well. If anything prevents the fallopian tubes from working properly, or if scarring blocks the sperm or egg from meeting, you won't be able to get pregnant.
The reasons for infertility aren't always obvious to the layperson. For this reason, if you have been trying to conceive for a long time, please get help. Don't wait. Don't lose hope, either. Working with your provider allows you to explore your options and decide on a path that works for you.