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Why Can’t I Get Pregnant? 6 Facts About Fertility

Last updated May 03, 2021

When you are struggling to conceive, it can feel overwhelming and frustrating. Especially if you have been doing everything you can — from taking your basal body temperature every morning to timing the intercourse to using ovulation predictors — and still seeing your period month after month, it can feel hopeless. It’s a natural emotion, but it’s also crucial that you know the facts. Knowledge can help you navigate the stressful situation, regain some sense of control and take the necessary steps to achieve your goals. Most importantly, learning about fertility will help you figure out why you might not be getting pregnant right away and whether it’s cause for concern. Here are some of the most important facts about fertility to help you on the journey.

 

1. You Are Not Alone

First and foremost, know that you are not alone. Approximately 12 percent of women aged 15 to 44 years have difficulty getting pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That means that an estimated 20 million women go through the same struggle. But there is hope! The experts say that about 90 percent of infertility cases are treatable through science. Through means like medication, surgery and assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF), most are able to conceive after facing stressful and time-consuming fertility challenges.

 

2. Doctors Recommend Trying for At Least Six Months

Often, getting pregnant is simply an issue of poor timing. Some couples just don’t get pregnant right away, and that’s normal. In fact, most women get pregnant within a year of regular, unprotected intercourse. This is why doctors generally recommend women under the age of 35 try to conceive for about a year before seeking intervention. Women age 35 and older should consult with their doctor after about 6 months of trying with no success. This is because women over 35 are more likely to face the rapidly declining fertility and should receive diagnosis and treatment quickly. In either case, if you suspect there is an underlying condition preventing you from getting pregnant, of course you should seek medical evaluation sooner.

 

3. Your Lifestyle Has an Impact

Your body uses vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other  micronutrients to support menstruation, ovulation, pregnancy, your immune system and all the core systems that keep you functioning and healthy each day. Your lifestyle has a big impact on how much of these key nutrients you are getting, and how well your body uses them. Taking fertility supplements and prenatal vitamins can also help top up any nutrients missing in your diet. Aim for at least 90 days of supplementation, so that somatic and reproductive cells in your body receive continuous support.

 

4. No, It’s Not Just a Woman’s Problem

Contrary to popular belief, many cases of infertility have male causes. In fact, about a third of all infertility cases are due to male reproductive issues, while a third derives from female reproductive issues and a third are caused by a mix of male and female issues or unknown issues. It should never be a blame game anyway — both partners should work as a team to find the right solution for your unique needs. If you feel that fertility struggles are straining your relationship (and infertility is a major source of trauma), you might consider seeing a counselor, either as a couple or by yourself.

 

5. There May Be an Underlying Issue, Regardless of Age

Even when you are trying to get pregnant later in life, don’t immediately chalk up the struggle to age. While aging certainly has an influence on our ability to conceive — a woman’s fertility starts to diminish in her early 30s, while men begin to have troubles midway through their 40s — there are many underlying medical and health conditions that may be preventing you from getting pregnant. Common medical issues that affect fertility include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, uterine abnormalities and fallopian tube obstruction. It’s important to talk to your doctor to rule out any underlying issues that may be preventing a healthy pregnancy.

 

6. Your General Health Is a Factor, Too

Lifestyle factors like your diet, activity level and general health may be holding you back from conceiving as well. Studies show that obese and overweight women may suffer higher rates of infertility because they experience menstrual dysfunction and anovulation at a higher rate. Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes may also have a negative impact on fertility. Luckily, these are all factors that you can address. Since having the right resources and support is crucial in lifestyle changes, it may be worth considering engaging with a registered dietitian, personal trainer, smoking cessation specialist or other professionals who can help you in this realm.

When you started trying for a baby, the last thing you expected was to be trying, month after month, with no news to share. For some of us, the journey to parenthood is long and winding, but, ultimately, most couples who hit a roadblock will have a baby one way or another. Arming yourself with the right knowledge and information will help make the journey a little bit easier to navigate - and get you to the goal post just a little faster. 

As always, please reach out with questions. We are with you.

 

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