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Am I Infertile?

Are the months flying past without those longed for pre-pregnancy signs? Are you beginning to wonder whether there is a problem with your or your partner’s fertility? If so, you are not alone. One in six couples in Ireland struggle to conceive naturally, and according to HSE’s Perinatal Statistic Report for 2013, it reveals the average age of Irish women giving birth is 32.1 years, with the average age of first time mothers 30.3 years. If you fall into this age category your chances of falling pregnant naturally are as high as 90%, with a rapid decline by the age of 45 to just 1.5%! However trying-to-conceive couples can find it confronting when nothing seems to be happening, otherwise fit and healthy and falling into the optimal age category , and still that longed for positive on the pregnancy test just isn’t happening.  Try not to stress! There are a variety of options open to couples struggling to conceive naturally, and it’s not all down to luck. Of course we’ve all known someone who can fall pregnant at the thought of it, but there is actually a science and process behind it, and if conception seems a long way off, don’t hesitate to check in with your GP sooner rather than later for guidance.

 

For some it may just be a matter of time, for others medical intervention may be warranted, wanting a baby and having trouble conceiving can be a difficult time and it’s normal to wonder ‘what is wrong with me or my partner?’. Infertility is a shared experience and in up to 40% of cases the cause of infertility is due to the male’s fertility issues, equally devastating and equally confronting.

 

 What could cause my infertility?

It’s important to eliminate any medical issues that may be adversely affecting your ability to conceive. You may experience fertility problems if:

  •   You suffered an ectopic pregnancy in the past.
  •   You have fibroids.
  •   You have endometriosis.
  •   You have irregular periods or painful periods. (Use the Ovulation Calculator to help work out your regular cycle).
  •   You have pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
  •   You have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  •   Your partner has had a previous hernia or testicular operation.
  •   You have a sexually transmitted disease including chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
  •   You have had pelvic or abdominal surgery ie appendicitis or ovarian cyst.
  •   You are taking prescribed anti-depressants or anti-inflammatories (certain types may impair your fertility – please check with your GP)
  •   You have suffered three or more miscarriages ( consult with your GP).

This is not an exhaustive list but an indication of some of the conditions that may negatively affect your ability to conceive, however even with these issues up to 84% of couples go on to conceive within a 12 month period. Many GP clinics offer a pre-conception check up, we would advise discussing any issues including those listed above at this appointment.

Research has shown that what you eat, your nutritional and hormonal balance and your lifestyle can all influence your fertility, some of the most common female issues are:

  •        You are overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 29.
  •        You are underweight with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 19.
  •        You are suffering from nutritional deficiencies. (check out our range of nutritional supplements created for fertility support)
  •        You are a smoker.

What could cause issues with my partner’s fertility?

With over 40% of all fertility problems being as a result of the male, if he has experienced any of the following medical concerns, we would recommend that he consult with his GP:

  1.  Undescended testicles.
  2.  Ejaculation problems.
  3.  Unable to achieve or maintain an erection.
  4.  Previous testicular tumours, cysts or cancer.
  5.  Previous surgery or trauma to the testicles.
  6. Previous infection of the mumps after puberty.
  7.  Chronic illness such as diabetes, thyroid disease and heart disease.
  8.  Sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
  9.  If he takes medications such as antihistamines, androgens or beta blockers.
  10.  The rare genetic condition called Klinefelter’syndrome which directly affects fertility (will need specialist referral in this instance).

With recent studies indicating nutritional and hormonal balance , stress levels and lifestyle are just as important to a man’s fertility as it is to a woman’s, some of the more common concerns for men are:

  •  Drinking heavily.
  • Working with chemicals or radiation.
  •  Smoking.
  • Taking recreational drugs.
  •  Being overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 29.
  •  Nutritional imbalance (supplement with Proxeed Plus for Men and other nutritional vitamins)
  •  Working in hot environments or spending long periods of time sitting down – this can lead to the testes overheating. (If this is a problem try Babystart Scrotum Cooling)

 What should we do if we think we have a problem?

 Regardless of how long you’ve been trying to conceive, always consult with your GP, who can initiate tests and refer you to an infertility specialist if required. Remember you have many options and support networks available to you. 

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