There are many factors involved in creating a pregnancy and just as many paths to get there.
For some couples, conception is effortless. For others, infertility presents a challenging journey.
In addition to advanced medical treatments that can help you achieve your dream of becoming a parent, there are also simple and practical things to consider if you're looking to increase your odds of conceiving.
Below you will find a small collection of entry-level tips that may help you to maintain perspective during this time.
KEEP THE FAITH
For those experiencing infertility, at the heart of the journey is hope. No matter what challenges you encounter, there are always reasons to be hopeful. Keep hope in mind as a motivation to advocate for yourself. Work through challenges with the guidance of a fertility expert.
Surround yourself with supportive friends and community so that you never forget you're not alone. Consider seeing a therapist as part of your support system. Invite love into your life. It’s an invaluable resource during this time of growth and transition.
cONSIDER YOUR AGE
Learn the facts about how age affects infertility. We know eggs are one of the necessary ingredients to create pregnancy and that age is an important factor in deciding when to become pregnant.
With each passing day, a woman's egg supply decreases. At birth, girls have 2 million eggs. By puberty, that amount has dropped to 400,000. By age thirty, the number is 100,000 and by age forty-five or fifty, the number of eggs is zero.
CREATE A SEX ROUTINE
Plan to have sex every other day during your fertility window to increase the odds of egg and sperm connecting. Your ovulated egg will survive one to two days, while sperm can survive three days.
Ovulation usually occurs between day 12 and day 16 of your cycle. Signs of ovulation include stretchy, egg-white cervical mucus, increased libido, and ovarian pain. Chart your cycle each month to keep track of when ovulation occurs (usually between day 12 and 16, which will be 14 days before your next period).
Data from a recent study shows that pregnancy rates increased by 17% for women who receive acupuncture (compared to those who did not). Research demonstrates that acupuncture treatments before and after IUI and embryo transfer may significantly improve pregnancy rates by increasing blood flow to the uterus, regulating hormone levels, reducing stress, and improving male sperm counts.
We know higher levels of stress are linked with lower fertility rates. Infertility can also lead to stress and other challenging emotions, including anxiety and loneliness … a vicious cycle! But yoga, mind/body groups, conversation with a supportive friend, and therapy are helpful tools for overcoming stress and allowing you to regain a sense of control over your life.
If you notice that sex has become less enjoyable, take your mind off conceiving, even if just for a few minutes. Try something new and crazy. Let yourself have some fun!
Studies show that smoking cigarettes or marijuana, even in moderation, leads to lower sperm counts, lower testosterone levels, and slower sperm motility. If you smoke as a means of alleviating stress, consider other methods instead – yoga, exercise, or talking with a trusted and supportive friend.
VISIT A SPECIALIST
Time is an extremely valuable resource for individuals looking to become pregnant. Knowing when to see a fertility expert and setting up an appointment as soon as you are able will increase your odds of success.
If you are forty or older and have been trying to become pregnant without success, book an appointment with a fertility specialist. If you are between thirty-five and thirty-nine and have been attempting to conceive for six months, it's time to see a fertility specialist. If you’re under thirty-five and unable to get pregnant after a year of unprotected sex, it's time to see a fertility specialist.
"IT TAKES TWO"
There is a prevailing and completely false myth that infertility is a woman’s problem. In reality, forty percent of all infertility cases stem from the male partner. This is the reason both partners of a heterosexual couple receive infertility testing to diagnose the cause of infertility.