Find out if you’re having infertility problems with this guide.
By Taylor Dahl
If you’ve been trying to conceive for a couple months but haven’t had any success, it’s normal to wonder about infertility. After all, you’ve spent years trying to prevent pregnancy, so it should be easy to get pregnant on purpose, right? Not so fast. It can take up to a year to get pregnant, but if it takes any longer than that, it may be time to see a doctor. Click through to find out some common causes of infertility in both women and men -- and what you can do.
If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS and are overweight, your doctor may first suggest you lose weight to see if you and your partner can conceive naturally. Next, your doctor may prescribe oral medications or injections to stimulate egg growth. If those don’t work, your doctor may suggest in vitro vertilization (IVF).
Endometriosis is a surprisingly common condition, affecting 10% of women in the U.S. It occurs when uterine tissue is found outside the uterus -- such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or even on the bladder or intestines. While some women may not experience any symptoms, others may experience painful periods and/or pain during sex and diarrhea during periods, according to Gregory Starks, MD, an OBGYN with Research Medical Center in Kansas City, MO. About 30-50% of women with endometriosis may experience infertility.
If you have endometriosis and are having trouble conceiving, your doctor may suggest surgically removing the tissue to help you get pregnant.
If you have uterine fibroids, a fertility specialist can determine if they are threatening your ability to get pregnant and provide a treatment plan that works best for your body.
While sperm quality deteriorates gradually as men get older, there is no set age at which men cannot conceive. However, the risk of gene defects in the sperm increases slightly in older men, particularly after age 60.
Abnormal body weight (either too high or too low) causes infertility in about 1 in 8 couples. While obese men may experience fertility problems, women in particular need to be at a healthy weight before pursuing fertility treatment. Turns out, more than 70% of women who have fertility issues as a result of body weight disorders will naturally conceive once they reach a healthy weight.
Studies show that alcohol also decreases fertility in women and men, but the exact amount of alcohol that could affect conception is unclear. Bottom line: If you’re trying to get pregnant, stop drinking alcohol and quit smoking for good.
Whether or not you’re trying to conceive, if you are sexually active, discuss your sexual history with your doctor and find out if you need to be tested for STIs. We know it’s awkward to talk about your sex life, but getting over your embarrassment today will help you have a baby when you’re ready.
Infertility may affect women, men or both. Infertility may be considered primary, meaning this is a couple’s first attempt to have a baby; or secondary, in which they aren’t able to conceive after having had one or more children. ...Learn more form our experts about infertility. More