You’ve been trying to conceive — but so far, no luck. Does it mean you or your partner is infertile? Not necessarily. Lots of factors can affect your ability to get pregnant. So how do you know when it’s time to seek a doctor’s help?
At Serenity Women's Care, JeanAnn Schwark, MS, FNP-C, and her team help women in Scottsdale, Arizona, understand why they’re having trouble conceiving and take steps to improve their chances of getting pregnant.
If you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to conceive, here’s how to decide if it’s time to schedule an appointment.
Most of us have a friend who got pregnant as soon as she started trying. It’s easy to get the impression that conception is easy for everyone else.
But it’s not always that easy to get pregnant. Lots of factors — from hormonal issues to illnesses to stress — can interfere. In fact, in any given month, most couples who are trying to conceive only have a 15%-25% chance of getting pregnant.
If you’re under 35, most fertility specialists recommend trying to conceive for a year before turning to a fertility specialist.
If you’re over 35, most fertility specialists say you should schedule a visit after only six months if you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to conceive. That’s because your fertility drops as you get older, and it can become more difficult to get pregnant as time passes.
By age 40, your chances of getting pregnant naturally in any given cycle drop to about 5%. What’s more, a woman over 40 has a 40% chance of not carrying the pregnancy through to delivery.
If you’re 40 or older, working with a fertility specialist right from the start could improve your chances of conceiving and help you have a healthy pregnancy too.
Getting pregnant involves a series of events, each of which needs to happen in a specific order and at a specific time. If you have a medical issue that affects that timeline, you’ll have a harder time getting pregnant.
For instance, women with polycystic ovary syndrome frequently have problems conceiving, because their ovulation cycle tends to be abnormal. Endometriosis and fibroids are other relatively common gynecological issues that can interfere with fertility and conception.
Of course, women aren’t the only ones who can have a medical issue that affects fertility. Plenty of men have underlying problems that affect their sperm count, sperm health, or sperm delivery.
STDs can also have an impact on fertility. If you’re having trouble conceiving, both partners need to be evaluated to look for medical issues that could be interfering.
Miscarriages aren’t uncommon, and they don’t necessarily have anything to do with your fertility level. But more than one might indicate an underlying medical issue, like a genetic issue, a hormonal imbalance, a problem with your uterus or cervix, or even a problem with your thyroid.
Some of the same problems that cause miscarriages may also make it more difficult to get pregnant.
Some types of cancer treatment can have an impact on fertility. If you’ve had chemotherapy or radiation therapy, it’s a good idea to begin working with a fertility specialist early and consult with your gynecologist and cancer specialist too.
Fertility issues aren’t uncommon, but that doesn’t make them any less nerve-wracking. If you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, we can help. Call 480-825-7941 or book an appointment online with Serenity Women’s Care today.