An estimated 1 in every 8 couples struggle to conceive. While infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after having regular, unprotected intercourse for 1 year, it is considered “normal” for an average fertile couple under 35 years of age to try for 1 year before conception occurs. But for those individuals who are older than 35, that time frame for conception becomes smaller. If you have not conceived during this time frame, you may be asking, “Why?” Our fertility experts at Spokane’s Center for Reproductive Health explain six reasons why you might not be getting pregnant.
1. Maternal Age
Age is one of the initial indicators used to assess a woman’s fertility health. From ages 30 to 35, there is a gradual decline in a woman’s ability to become pregnant; after age 40, there is a sharp decline in conception. Women are less likely to ovulate regularly as they age, which could be a reason for a decline in one’s fertility. Women also produce fewer healthy eggs as they age, creating resistance to fertilization and lower pregnancy rates.
2. Excess Body Weight
While not every woman who is overweight will struggle to conceive, there are many that do struggle. Weight can be concerning for women when it contributes to reproductive health concerns, such as irregular menstrual cycles and ovulatory dysfunction. Excess weight can cause an increase in insulin levels, which may lead to the ovaries producing male hormones and limited egg release.
3. Not Enough Body Weight
While being overweight has implications on fertility, an appropriate amount of fat is necessary for a healthy reproductive system. The appropriate amount may vary based on the person. Too little body fat can cause absence of periods and ovulation, making conception very difficult.
4. Smoking Habit
Smoking can have negative effects on your reproductive health. Compared to non-smokers, smokers commonly experience a higher chance that conception will take 1 year or longer. Smoking can also reduce the levels of estrogen in the body.
5. Existing Medical Conditions
Nearly one-third of all infertility diagnoses in women are related to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, commonly referred to as PCOS. PCOS is the most common ovulatory disorder in women of reproductive age and is caused by hormonal imbalances that hinder ovulation. Endometriosis is also a common cause of infertility, in which tissue lining the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. These conditions can often go undiagnosed, as many people don’t have noticeable symptoms.
6. Your Partner
While infertility is generally perceived as a female issue, the reality is 40 percent of infertility is connected to male reproductive health issues. Erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory issues, spinal cord injuries, tumors, and undescended testes are all fairly common culprits of male infertility. Because basic testing for these problems is relatively simple and inexpensive, a semen analysis is performed as part of every couple’s routine testing at Center for Reproductive Health.
Month after month of negative pregnancy tests can be disappointing and frustrating for men and women alike. If this list didn’t provide you with any clear indications of potential fertility concerns, please note that these six reasons are not the only possibilities. Even after testing, some couples find that their infertility is ‘unexplained.’ This can be a baffling or discouraging diagnosis when there is not a real “reason” for the infertility. Individualized tests, analysis and consultations with Dr. Robins will help determine your best way forward.
If you have been trying to conceive and are not getting pregnant, it might be time to see a fertility specialist at Center for Reproductive Health. When it comes to fertility, time is of the essence. Advanced technologies and treatments are available to help you find your path to parenthood.
If you would like to learn more, please call (509) 462-7070 to schedule an appointment.
At the Center for Reproductive Health, we understand the importance of becoming a family, because we are one. As a leader in reproductive technologies, we're dedicated to compassionate and individualized treatment to help you find your path to parenthood. Our innovative techniques and advanced medical care provide comprehensive chromosomal profiles, resulting in reduced miscarriage rates and higher implantation rates for healthy embryos. We can make building your family an exciting reality, with support every step of the way.