Why can't we fall pregnant?
1 in 6 couples have difficulty becoming pregnant when they start trying to conceive. Infertility is defined as a couple not conceiving after 12 months of regular unprotected intercourse.
For the optimal chance of conceiving you should be having unprotected sex every two to three days, and in particular, about two days before the female partner ovulates. This ensures that sperm are present in the fallopian tubes, ready to fertilise the egg as soon as it’s released from the ovary.
To calculate your most fertile time of the month, you need to understand when you ovulate. A woman will usually ovulate between 8 - 14 days after the first day of her last period. To better understand when you’re ovulating, you can keep track on changes in your body e.g. vaginal discharge becomes wet and slippery, similar to that of a raw egg white, just before ovulation.
- Why can't we fall pregnant?
There are many reasons why couples may have trouble conceiving, with the number one factor being a woman’s age. Secondly, it is a male factor contributing to infertility. However, it is usually a combination of factors that contribute to the cause of the infertility.
In approximately 30% of cases, ‘female’ factors such as tubal disease, ovulatory disorders (like PCOS) or endometriosis may be the cause. In the same percentage of cases, ‘male’ factors, such as low sperm count or tubal blockages affect conception. In another 30% of cases, a combination of both female and male factors may be at play.
For women, their reproductive system and menstrual cycle directly affect their ability to conceive. In order to become pregnant a woman needs to:
- Ovulate regularly (have a regular menstrual cycle)
- Produce oestrogen and progesterone
- Have the correct pelvic environment in the uterus (no blockages in the fallopian tubes or uterine abnormalities), and
- Have a receptive endometrial lining for implantation.
In order for his partner to become pregnant, a man needs to:
- Produce sperm with a normal number, motility (movement) and morphology (shape)
- Produce male hormone, and
- Have no blockages to sperm transport.
One, or more, problems in the above areas will have an impact on your ability to conceive naturally and influence the type of fertility treatment you require.
Sometimes, despite the constant advances made in science and medicine, infertility simply cannot be explained. ‘Unexplained infertility’ affects approximately 10% of infertile couples. While there is no obvious cause of infertility, it is reassuring for these couples to know that they have a higher success rate when undergoing fertility treatment.
- When should we seek help?
Doctors advise that couples should seek advice after 12 months of trying if the female is under 35, or just 6 months if the female partner is aged 36 or older. If you know or suspect that female or male factors may be affecting your chance of falling pregnant, it is recommended that you seek expert advice sooner than this.
Seeking fertility advice does not necessarily mean that you are infertile, or that you will need to undergo IVF treatment, but for peace of mind it is wise to have some tests done with our expert fertility team. Your fertility specialist at The Fertility Centre will discuss your results with you, and will recommend the most effective treatment option for you to maximise your chance of conception.
A woman’s age significantly impacts her chance of conception, both naturally and through fertility treatments, including IVF. Whilst most fertility issues can be solved with the correct treatment, the deterioration of a woman’s egg quality with age is not one of them.
- How much does an IVF fertility assessment cost?
For couples who are already considering IVF treatment, or who have undergone IVF elsewhere and are looking for a second opinion, The Fertility Centre offers an affordable option for re-assessment and treatment, with proven IVF success rates.
For an affordable fertility assessment by fertility experts, book an appointment with The Fertility Centre today. We have seven convenient locations across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and bulk bill many of the tests involved to minimise your out-of-pocket costs without compromising on the level of care. A couple’s IVF fertility assessment ranges from $159 - $250.