Making the decision to have a baby is a special one, but the journey of trying to conceive may sometimes be challenging and even distressing. Age, health and lifestyle are all factors when it comes to a couple's fertility. So arm yourself with as much information and support from professionals, family and friends, and stay positive!
The odds of making baby
If you're planning to get pregnant, you're probably wondering what your chances are and how long it will take. Be patient and don't stress – on average, it takes four to six months to get pregnant and about 80-90% of all fertile couples will get pregnant within a year. But bear in mind that some couples have a higher or lower monthly fertility. So in reality, it could take anything from a month to several years.
Factors that affect chances of conceiving
Below are some common factors that may affect a couple's fertility and chances of conception:
- Age - Studies show that a woman's fertility starts to decline steeply in her middle 30s. Men and women above 35 also have a higher risk of having a child with chromosomal abnormalities, especially Down syndrome. If you're younger than 35 and have been trying for a year, check with a doctor. If you are over 35, consider checking with a fertility specialist even earlier, as the sooner you get help, the better your chances of conceiving will be.
- Reproductive problems and irregular ovulation - The most common causes of female fertility problems involve a failure to ovulate, irregularities or common disorders such as endometritis. For men, it may be due to the production of sperm or a blockage in one of the reproductive tubes.
If you have any indicators of infertility factors such as irregular or painful menstruation, or you suspect you may have certain medical conditions (see Other Health Issues) that could impact fertility, it is best to seek help early.
- Other health issues - Being overweight or underweight, having sexually transmitted diseases, cysts, and fibroids or chronic illnesses like thyroid disorders, or even taking medications may interfere with ovulation and sperm production.
- Lifestyle - Stress can affect both men and women's fertility, so learn to manage it with exercise and effective time management. Alcohol and smoking also decrease a couple's chances of conceiving, so it is best to consume alcohol in moderation and avoid smoking completely.
- Irregular sex or sex at the wrong time - If both partners are busy juggling careers, it can be difficult to get the time right. Monitor your ovulation cycle so you know when you are most fertile, and try to have sexual intercourse every 2-3 days before ovulation.
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