It is exciting when you decide the time is right to have a baby. You start thinking about all the usual things, like what the baby will be like, how you will decorate the nursery and what type of parent you will be.

So you start trying to fall pregnant and for a few, it happens straight away while others don’t have success in the first few months.

Rest assured, the truth is that 80 per cent of couples in the general population will fall pregnant within 12 months of trying to conceive.

So the best thing to do is keep calm and keep trying. Eat well, exercise and make sure you are fertility fit.

However, for some, falling pregnant seems to begin to feel like it is taking forever and even becoming a little elusive, so when is the right time to seek help?

I recommend you seek advice from a fertility specialist to help guide you if you are experiencing any of the following concerns or conditions:

1) You have been trying to fall pregnant but haven’t been successful yet

You should seek help if you are under 35 years of age and have not fallen pregnant within 12 months of unprotected intercourse, or if you are over 35 and have not fallen pregnant within six months of trying. For women aged 40 and over, I recommend further investigations be initiated after three months of trying to fall pregnant, as female age is one of the most important predictors of whether pregnancy will be achieved.

2) Irregular menstrual cycles

Irregular cycles may suggest a problem with ovulation and can impact on your ability to conceive.

The average length of the menstrual cycle is 28 days, but can range between 25 and 35 days. The menstrual cycle is determined by a complex interaction of hormones, so any hormone imbalance can make your period irregular.

Although, in most cases, irregular cycles are not dangerous, it is important to determine what is causing the irregularity sooner rather than later.

3) Medical conditions

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): This is a condition where the ovaries secrete abnormally high amounts of androgens (male hormones), which often cause problems with ovulation.
  • Endometriosis: Endometriosis results when endometrial-like cells (cells from inside the uterus) grow outside the uterus. Distortion of the anatomy due to endometriosis can block or change the function of the fallopian tubes and prevent the sperm from reaching and fertilising the egg.
  • Fibroids: These non-cancerous masses are found in the uterus or cervix. Uterine fibroids are found in one out of every four or five women in their 30s and 40s. Fibroids can cause tubal blockages, prevent the embryo from attaching to the uterine wall and cause miscarriage. The impact the fibroids have on fertility depends upon their size and location.
  • Blocked fallopian tubes: When fallopian tubes are blocked, the egg can be prevented from meeting the sperm.
  • Premature menopause: Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) is also called early menopause and refers to a condition where the ovary stops ovulating earlier than is normal. The average age range for menopause is between 45 and 55.
  • Other medical causes: Thyroid disorders and genetic conditions.

4) Recurrent miscarriage

After three or more miscarriages (known as recurring miscarriages), tests are commonly done to look for the cause. 

5) Known sperm issues

Fertility advice should be sought if any of the following sperm issues are known: poor sperm morphology (abnormally shaped); poor motility (slow-moving); low sperm count; the presence of antisperm antibodies; ejaculatory problems or azoospermia (no sperm present); vasectomy.

6) If a donor is required

If donor sperm or donor eggs are required.

For more information on this topic please visit here.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • We had been trying for 12 months when our GP discussed our options with us. We agreed to seek additional help and do further tests at that point. We found many issues and ended up on IVF. It took many cycles over 2 and a half years before we finally gave birth to a baby boy.

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  • Think sometimrs we live in a time and age that we can get what we want when we want and find it hard when this is not just the case, causing struggle and stress. And that is one thing what most of the time doesn’t go together with conceiving… Many people chose for intervention, some don’t and let nature have it’s course.

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  • Very informative article, thanks for sharing.

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  • We are all different, and some of us don’t like talking about this problem to anyone, especially if an illness like mumps has been had when you are in your 20’s. But this is the best time to get everything checked, as this constant worry in the back of your mind might be the very reason of failing to conceive.

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  • Everyone is different so I think it comes down to a personal decision.

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  • Please go when your concern becomes overwhelming for you. Everyone is different and sometimes we just know something is not right. My daughter found out she was well into menopause when she was 34years old. The only sympton she had was irregular periods either too often or not enough & the occasional Hot Flushes at night. This is not something that happens to many women but it seems to be a growing issue so when in doubt check it out a simple blood test will give you so many answers & may not lead to any other medical follow up at all.

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  • I’ll be passing this article onto a good friend who will find it informative.

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  • I think the best time to get fertility help is when you think you’ve been trying for ages and are still not pregnant. I went after 12 months of trying. The first test they did was a pregnancy test before they started other more invasive test, just to make sure. And I was 3 weeks pregnant!

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  • So much of this is inherited. I only found out that premature menopause ran in our family after it happened to me. Encourage family conversations around fertility sooner rather than later. .

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  • Premature

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  • Great article. I am loving the amount of articles on fertility advice lately. There have been a number of useful articles on up to date information about IVF and freezing eggs etc. A lot of people go through such agony trying to start a family, particularly if there are other issues at play. Thank you so much.

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  • Like ng

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  • Great advice here thank you. I had issues with endometriosis blocking my tubes

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  • Great article.
    I can relate to the medical conditions, specially the endometriosis and fibroids. It was tough to get through the acceptance.

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  • It’s great advice. Doctor’s told me my ovaries appeared polycystic but I was lucky enough to never have any issues conceiving.

    Reply

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