Up to 15 percent of families struggle with infertility, but there is no single cause behind trouble with conception. Infertility can be caused by anything from ovulation issues to medical issues such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
Experts estimate that 1.5 million married women ages 15–44 have infertility issues. Of these, 7.4 million have used infertility services. Age is another major contributor to overall fertility. A fertile 30-year-old woman has a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant for every month she tries. By age 40, a woman’s chance is less than 5 percent per cycle—that’s fewer than five out of every 100 women who can expect to be successful each month.
If you’re looking to get pregnant, here are some basic tips that might help.
First, it’s important to have a good relationship with your obstetrician, who can help you understand your risks for infertility and how previous medical conditions can affect your overall changes of getting pregnant. For example, prior medical conditions such a previous miscarriage and a history of blood clots can both affect fertility.
If you are trying to conceive, no matter what your age, it’s also important to take good care of yourself, which means getting plenty of sleep, exercise, and having a good diet. The best way to be prepared for the changes in your body is to take prenatal vitamins up to three months before trying to conceive. Eating green, leafy vegetables and lean meats like chicken and fish will help your body get in shape for a successful, healthy pregnancy. A folic acid supplement has been shown to decrease the rates of spinal cord defects.
Women 35 and younger should seek help after one year of trying, while women older than 35 should reach out if they have been actively trying for six months. During an infertility check-up, the physician will ask questions of both you and your partner, taking a sexual and health history for both. Tests that might be conducted to understand the cause of the infertility include:
- Semen test for men—This tests measures the number, health, and movement of the man’s sperm.
- Ovulation tests—A woman may be asked to track her ovulation by taking her body temperature, or a physician might order blood tests.
- Hysterosalpingography—This test generates an x-ray image of the uterus and fallopian tubes.
- Laparoscopy—During this test, a small tool called a laparoscope is inserted
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, April 2020
- There is no single cause for infertility, but ovulation issues and medical issues, like diabetes, can play a factor.
- Age can play a major factor to infertility; women over 40 have a 5 percent chance of getting pregnant each cycle.
- Sleep, exercise, and prenatal vitamins can help women who are trying to conceive.