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Fertility Facts You Need to Know HolisticHer

Fertility Facts You Need to Know

For some couples, the path to having children is straightforward and relatively stress-free. For many others, the journey is not as easy and they face various struggles along the way. Also, many couples may choose to skip having children altogether.

Regardless of your journey, it helps to understand the facts about fertility, so that you can make informed decisions and plan as best you can in advance. Here is a list of some fertility facts and information that could be useful for you to know.

  • Around 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. For couples trying to get pregnant when the woman is aged 35 or younger, their monthly chance of getting pregnant is about 20%, or one in five. By age 40, the chance of pregnancy is about 5% each month.

  • While women tend to become the focus of infertility issues, about 30% of infertility cases are solely due to problems with male fertility, and many times infertility is related to both partners.

  • Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have and are left with around 300,000 by the time they reach puberty. Studies show that healthier eggs tend to be released earlier in a woman’s life.

  • Men, on the other hand, produce sperm about every 3 months throughout their lives. Therefore sustained lifestyle changes may make a difference in improving sperm quality over time.

  • Many of us know that a woman's age affects her fertility. A woman's fertility starts to decline in her early 30s and speeds up at about the age of 35, with a decline in egg quality and quantity. However a man's age also plays a part in the probability of conception. Research shows that men younger than 40 have a better chance of fathering a child than those older than 40, and this is likely due to sperm quality decreasing with age. In other words, age is unfortunately a major factor for both men and women, even if you are in perfect health.

  • It can take several months for a young, healthy couple to conceive. A healthy fertile couple has a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month and therefore it is not unusual to try for a few months before being successful.

  • Women under 35 trying to get pregnant, should try for a year before going to see a specialist for help. Women 35 or over should seek help from a specialist after six months. Women that are 40 or older should speak to a specialist from the beginning as it may be more difficult to get pregnant.

  • There are really only six days (fertile window) during a woman's menstrual cycle when it is possible to get pregnant. This usually includes the 5 days before ovulation and the day of ovulation itself. Having intercourse on these days increases the chance of conceiving. When this fertile window falls can vary a lot for each woman.

  • If you think that you might put off having kids until later in life, you should have a preconception checkup to see where things stand. Take charge of your reproductive health and don’t put things off until your late thirties only to find out it’s too late. It’s a good idea to get an early check up and if things look good you know that you still have plenty of time on your side. There is a big difference between getting a checkup at 32 than at 37.
  • Doctors can perform various tests to evaluate a couple for infertility for example, a blood test to check hormone levels and a woman’s egg reserve, checks for sperm quality and quantity, checks to see if fallopian tubes and uterus are normal.

  • There are several lifestyle factors that can play a role in fertility and making small changes can make a big difference to your fertility for both men and women. Here are some of the factors: smoking cigarettes, taking recreational drugs, a stressful lifestyle, drinking alcohol, poor diet and lack of exercise, consuming large amounts of caffeine.

  • Some health conditions can also make it more difficult to conceive such as: being over or underweight, irregular menstrual cycles, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hormone disorders, varicoceles, diabetes, thyroid problems and more.

  • Know your family history when it comes to trying to conceive. For example, your mother’s pregnancy and menopause history might give some indication of infertility issues. If your mother went through early menopause, or experienced uterine fibroids, or endometriosis this may affect your own chances of conceiving.
  • STDs can impact your fertility. For example, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea can cause damage to your fallopian tubes, which can make it harder to get pregnant and could also significantly increase your risk of ectopic pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about any previous infections and have routine screenings for STDs.

  • Fertility technology has made great progress but it cannot overcome age-related infertility. Many people believe that IVF is a good back-up option for having children at a later age. However, IVF technology cannot make up for the natural decrease in fertility that comes with age. Once a woman is older than 40 it becomes difficult to use her own eggs – once her eggs have depleted there isn’t any way to regenerate or create eggs. The only option that often remains is to use eggs from a donor. If your goal is to use your own eggs and to carry your own child (rather than using a surrogate) it is possible that waiting until your 40s could mean that it’s too late.

  • If you're going to freeze your eggs, the best time to do it is in your twenties or early thirties.The younger you are when you get your eggs frozen, the more likely it is that the eggs you've frozen are viable and high-quality.

  • You never know what other people have been through to get pregnant, and you shouldn't compare yourself to them. Every case is unique and different and you don’t always know the full story. Don’t get downhearted if you think getting pregnant seems easy for others. At the same time, don’t assume that what has worked for others will work for you.

  • Easily having one baby does not necessarily mean that you will easily conceive another. Secondary infertility is the inability to become pregnant or to carry a baby to term after previously giving birth to a baby. Secondary infertility shares many of the same causes of primary infertility.

In summary, it is important to remember that no matter how healthy or young you are, sometimes it can be difficult to get pregnant. If you know you want to have a family one day, you should start thinking about and planning for that early. Take care of your body, think about your medical and family history, and talk to your doctor.

This will allow you to have all the information you need. Hopefully you will learn that everything is in good order and you have the option to wait until later in life. However, having the information may help you to think about other plans in case it is necessary to do so.

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