Infertility is a couples problem. Fertility problems are just as common in men as they are in women. It’s also common to find factors that decrease fertility in both partners. Infertility is a medical condition. Fertility problems are not “in your head.” They are caused by problems in the reproductive system. When to seek Fertility treatment depends on your age. Couples in which the woman is 35 or older should seek assistance if they’re unable to conceive after 6 months of well-timed, unprotected sex. Getting pregnant is not always easy. Even under the best conditions, most couples have less than a 25% chance of conceiving each month. Chances are even lower for women older than 38. Adopting a baby will not help you get pregnant. The pregnancy rate is the same whether you adopt a baby or not. Fertility problems also happen to couples who’ve already had a child. Secondary infertility is a common problem for couples who’ve already conceived. It can be caused by a variety of factors.
Obstacles to Pregnancy The path to pregnancy is not always smooth. Female age, hormones, sperm problems, and the health of your reproductive system can all become obstacles to pregnancy. Keep in mind that it’s common for both partners to have factors that decrease fertility. And sometimes the cause is unknown. So try to avoid feeling guilty or placing blame. Instead, share the challenge and support each other.
Age Age is a major factor in female fertility. As a woman ages, the quantity and quality of her eggs decline. This becomes apparent by around age 35 and speeds up after the age of 38. A man makes sperm throughout his life. So age in men is not as much of a factor. However, many problems can affect sperm regardless of a man’s age.
Problems with Sperm: Health or lifestyle factors can lower the number of sperm (sperm count) in a man’s ejaculate. Even if the sperm count is normal, a man may produce sperm that don’t function properly. These may not be able to make the journey through the woman’s reproductive tract. Or, they may not be able to fertilize an egg.
Problems with Ovulation Ovulation problems are a common cause of infertility. In some cases, an imbalance of hormones can prevent eggs from maturing. Hormone problems can also prevent eggs from being released by the ovaries.
Problems with Fertilization A blockage in the male or female reproductive tract can prevent fertilization. Or, sperm may be unable to swim through the cervical mucus. And even if sperm do reach an egg, they may not be able to penetrate the egg’s covering.
Problems with Implantation After fertilization, an embryo may not be able to implant in the uterus. This is often due to problems with the lining of the uterus. It can also result from problems with the size or shape of the uterus.
Keeping a Positive Attitude Dealing with fertility problems can be exhausting. But if you feel discouraged or depressed, remember that you’re not alone. Keep sharing your feelings with your partner. Take advantage of help from your doctor, family, or support groups. And remember that no matter what happens, you and your partner can still look forward to a rewarding life together.
Coping with Your Feelings Trying to cope with fertility problems is a challenge you probably never expected. So it’s natural to find yourself having strong feelings at times. You may feel guilty, angry, or sad. You might start to resent other couples with children. Or you may simply be tired of having to “schedule sex.” Recognize that these feelings are not only common, they’re completely normal. Just don’t let them take over your life. Keep things in perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask for support if you need it.
Dealing with Social Situations Over time, it’s likely that some people may unintentionally offend you with comments or questions. Although this can be upsetting, just remember they probably have no idea what it feels like to be in your shoes. It may help to explain your situation. But if you don’t want to talk about it, you don’t have to. If nothing else, tactfully changing the subject can help ease the situation.
Getting Support If your stress and anxiety feel overwhelming, it often helps to share your feelings with someone. This could be your partner, a family member, or a friend. It could also be your doctor. Another option is to ask your Best IVF doctor about joining a support group for couples dealing with fertility problems. Being in a support group can help keep you from feeling alone. You can also learn from the experiences of others.
Nurturing Your Relationship Fertility problems can strain even the best relationships. That’s why supporting each other now is more important than ever. Be careful not to assign blame or lash out in anger. Instead, listen to each other. Share your feelings. And make time for intimacy and romance. Even little things, like a weekend vacation, can go a long way toward easing your stress.
Thinking Things Over If you’ve been through a long period of treatment, consider taking a break to think things over. Just a month off can help relieve some of the pressure you may be feeling. You might also use this time to reevaluate your goals or agree on a date to stop treatment. Deciding on a time to stop can be very difficult. But many couples find that setting a deadline helps them regain a sense of control. It can also give you a fresh outlook on other alternatives.
Looking Ahead There’s no single answer for fertility problems. But the more you know, the easier it is to deal with the challenges. Take time to learn all you can about your options. Share your thoughts and feelings with your partner. And be sure to talk with your doctor when you have questions. With patience and support, you can improve your chances of success.