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Struggling with Conceiving? What Couples Can Do

  • Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples in the United States and can be caused by various conditions, including age and underlying medical issues.
  • Consulting a doctor is essential to diagnose any physical or medical conditions affecting fertility.
  • Couples should reduce stress, maintain healthy lifestyles, and time intercourse correctly for optimal chances of conception success.
  • If conception does not happen naturally, couples can consider adoption, surrogacy, fostering, or egg/sperm donation as alternative family-building options.

Couples often struggle with conceiving for a variety of reasons. Infertility affects both men and women, and the causes can be complex and varied. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 8 couples in the United States experience infertility, meaning they have not achieved pregnancy after 12 months or more of unprotected sexual intercourse.

For women, age is a primary factor in fertility. As women age, their egg reserves decline due to naturally occurring cell death, leading to decreased fertility. One study found that among women aged 35-37 years old trying to conceive without medical intervention, only 44% had accomplished that within one year, compared with the 79% success rate for women aged 25–29.

Unfortunately, you might be the one experiencing struggles with conceiving. If you are a couple trying to get pregnant, there are steps that you can take to support your fertility journey and increase your chances of success.

Consult a Doctor

When couples struggle with conceiving, it is essential to consult a doctor to understand the root causes better and create the best plan for success. The first step is to discuss any physical or medical conditions affecting fertility. Certain conditions, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome, can affect a woman’s ability to conceive. Additionally, doctors can assess whether there is an underlying hormonal imbalance that could be causing infertility.

It’s also essential for both partners to undergo testing for general health issues affecting their fertility, such as diabetes or sexually transmitted infections. If any health issues are found, they should be treated before trying to conceive.

A doctor can provide you with personalized advice tailored to your circumstances. They can suggest lifestyle changes for both partners that may increase the chance of conception, such as avoiding alcohol and smoking, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables. Doctors may also recommend taking supplements such as folic acid for women who may become pregnant or are planning on becoming pregnant soon.

Make Attempts Optimal

A Women Covering her Face while Holding a Pregnancy Test

Making attempts to conceive optimally is critical to successful fertility. Before attempting to get pregnant, managing your health and lifestyle is essential to increase your chances of success. This includes reducing stress, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding certain substances such as alcohol and drugs, and eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients.

Having an optimal environment can also be beneficial for fertility. Keeping the bedroom cool at night can help improve sperm mobility. Additionally, couples should consider reducing their exposure to environmental toxins such as chemicals used in cleaning products or pesticides used on food crops.

Timing intercourse correctly is another crucial factor for conception. As ovulation occurs around day 14 of a woman’s menstrual cycle (though this varies from person to person), having sex starting two days before ovulation and continuing for several days after is ideal for trying to conceive. Tracking your basal body temperature (BBT) daily can help predict when you are fertile and most likely to thrive.

Additionally, if you are over 35 or have other medical issues affecting fertility, it may be beneficial to seek medical assistance sooner rather than later. Fertility treatments such as IVF or IUI can significantly increase your chances of conception success and are especially important if time is not on your side due to aging eggs or other medical conditions that could impair conception naturally.

Try Other Means

A Family Reading a Book on the Bed

Unfortunately, your best attempts to conceive naturally may not be successful. Other options can help you become a parent if this is the case. Fortunately, you can try other means to have a child:

Adoption

Adoption can be an excellent way for couples to become parents and create their own family. With adoption, prospective parents can adopt an infant or young child from another family, provide a loving home to an older child, or even foster children who need families. The private adoption process is often lengthy, requiring paperwork, background checks, and home visits by social workers. However, the experience can be rewarding and challenging but ultimately worth it for many couples.

Surrogacy

Surrogacy is another option for couples struggling with conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term due to medical issues. Surrogacy involves having another woman take the baby for the intended parent(s). In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is impregnated through artificial insemination using donor sperm and has the baby until birth. In gestational surrogacy, embryos created through IVF are implanted into the surrogate’s uterus.

Fostering

Fostering can be incredibly fulfilling for couples to start families while providing much-needed stability and love to children who may have unstable home lives due to abuse, neglect, poverty, or other reasons. If possible, Foster care allows couples to engage in short-term caregiving of children until they find adoptive families or are reunited with their biological families.

Egg/Sperm Donation

Egg/sperm donation can allow couples with fertility issues related to age or infertility-related illnesses such as cancer or endometriosis to achieve their dream of starting a family when other options fail them. Donors must undergo rigorous screening processes, including background checks and medical exams, before donating their gametes so that recipients know exactly what they are getting into before choosing donors for conception purposes.

Of course, it will be vital to understand the laws surrounding the procedures. Legal rules and regulations might apply, especially for adoption and fostering, making it vital to understand them before taking on the process.

Final Thoughts

It can be challenging for couples to struggle with conceiving, but it is not the end of the world. Many avenues are available for couples who want to have children, whether through medical interventions or other means such as adoption and fostering. Consulting a doctor and making optimal attempts at conception are essential first steps in any fertility journey. With patience and perseverance, you should be able to find the right path for you and your partner that best fits your goals for growing your family.

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