Getting pregnant isn’t always straightforward.
Fertility issues and infertility affect one in six couples in Ireland and although the topic of fertility is still perceived as a taboo subject, there are more and more conversations being openly had amongst family and friends. The #letstalkfertility campaign we ran earlier this year really succeeded in bringing attention to this subject for both men and women of all ages.
It’s important to note that if there are fertility issues roughly 35 percent is due to the male, while another 35 percent is due to the female. Another 20 percent is a combination of both male and female factors, and the remaining 10 percent is unknown so we always would recommend getting fertility tests done and having a medical check-up.
Being proactive about your fertility is the best thing you can do.
One of the most important elements with fertility is age (for both women and men, eggs and sperm quality and quantity both decline as we age), so time is of the essence especially if you are having frequent, unprotected intercourse. Egg quality starts to significantly deteriorate after the age of 35 and by the age of 40, the percentage of damaged eggs is much higher than pre-35.
Trying to conceive (ttc)
It can be easy to get frustrated, start to panic or get stressed if you aren’t getting pregnant easily or quickly but our advice is to remain calm. A rule of thumb is - If you are under 35 and TTC for more than 1 year, if you are over 35 and trying for more than 6 months or if you are over 40 and trying for more than 3 months, we suggest you have an initial conversation with your GP who can recommend next steps.
There are a lot of reasons that a couple might be experiencing fertility issues and if you are worried there’s something else going on, don’t delay and get in touch with your healthcare provider.
You can request a full fertility evaluation especially if you have a medical history which includes endometriosis or PCOS, a family history of breast cancer or another reproductive cancer, a family history of early menopause or have had two or more successive miscarriages. Although miscarriage is common, repeated miscarriages are a warning signal that something else may be going on.
As mentioned above, a full fertility check-up and fertility tests will pick up any ovulation disorders, endometriosis, any abnormalities on the cervix or damage to the fallopian and a semen analysis can review the health of the male sperm.
Lastly, if you are a smoker, consume excessive amounts of alcohol, have a regularly unhealthy diet or have a high BMI, these can all have an impact on your fertility, so make sure to do your own health check before embarking on any fertility journey.