If you want to have children, you already know that the process begins with sex and the sperm fertilizing an egg. But getting pregnant is not as simple as just having sex.
For women, the ovulation cycle is vital, which can mean trying to conceive at the right time of month during the right part of the cycle. Many things can complicate getting pregnant for men and women.
Sadly, infertility is a possibility, especially if you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a long time. But how can you determine if you’re infertile? And what are your options if you are?
Let’s explore these questions by looking at the conception process, what obstacles you may run into, the reasons for infertility, and how we can help you conceive.
Women in the Lake Mary, Florida, area struggling to get pregnant can find help here at the office of OB/GYN Christopher Quinsey, MD. With decades of experience and over 3,600 successful deliveries, he’s dedicated to helping you add to your family with comprehensive care.
The process of conception
Ovulation is a phase in your 28-day menstrual cycle that hits at about the halfway point when an egg is released from your ovary. Between the 10th and 14th day of your cycle, ovarian follicles (small fluid-filled sacs that secrete hormones) develop into a mature egg, after which it starts the journey to your uterus through the fallopian tube.
Levels of the hormone progesterone rise to prime the egg for pregnancy. For successful conception, sperm must travel through the vagina to your uterus and join the egg as it travels down the fallopian tube.
Obstacles to getting pregnant
There are some basic things that affect getting pregnant, including:
Your window of fertility
Knowing your cycle helps you figure out when you have the best chance to get pregnant. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine advises couples to try to have sex without contraceptives every day or two during this window.
While you do need to have unprotected sex to get conceive, you also need to avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), which can have long-term effects on your fertility. STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea can create problems for men and women who want children.
Smoking, alcohol abuse, high amounts of caffeine, and obesity can affect fertility and reduce your chances of successful conception. Some vaginal lubricants can also slow the movement of sperm, making fertilization more difficult.
Reasons for infertility
Detecting infertility can be difficult, but problems with getting pregnant often stem from ovulation issues. Menstrual cycles that are too long, too short, or irregular may be evidence that you're not ovulating properly or at all.
Other problems that can affect ovulation include polycystic ovary syndrome, hypothalamic dysfunction, primary ovarian insufficiency, damaged fallopian tubes, endometriosis, uterine or cervical conditions, or hyperprolactinemia (overproduction of prolactin in your pituitary gland).
Age can also be a factor, as fertility starts declining around age 35.
Methods of treatment
Fertility drugs help regulate or stimulate ovulation, and there are a number of medications available. Surgeries are also a way to improve your chances, specifically laparoscopic or hysteroscopic surgeries to remove adhesions, polyps, or fibroids, or tubal surgeries to remove blockages, adhesions or other material from your fallopian tubes.
Other common types of reproductive assistance include intrauterine insemination, which places healthy sperm in your uterus during ovulation, and assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF), in which eggs are fertilized in a lab and placed in your uterus.
If you think you might be infertile, know that there are options to help you start or add to your family. If you have concerns about infertility, make an appointment with Dr. Quinsey today to get answers and whatever help you need.