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Why Can’t I Conceive Naturally?
Around 1 in 7 couples may have difficulty conceiving naturally (NHS.com). The time it takes to conceive naturally varies and age can be an important factor. Booth women’s and men’s fertility gradually declines as they get older. However, the decline in men’s fertility is way lower than that of women.
A woman may have fertility problems for a variety of reasons, it could be due to PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), endometriosis, her fallopian tubes are damaged or blocked, these are just a few of the possible causes.
In men, a fertility problem is usually because of low quantity, morphology or poor quality sperm.
Let’s take a quick look into some of these causes.
Damaged Fallopian tubes
Blocked or damaged tubes cause infertility because they stop fertilized eggs from reaching the uterus. Surgery to remove adhesions or unblock the tubes may be available as recommended by your doctor. If the problem cannot be solved with tubal surgery, IVF may be the only possible treatment.
Abnormal or low sperm count
Male infertility can often be treated. The sperm may still be capable of fertilizing an egg even if the sperm count is low or the quality is poor. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) involves ‘washing’ sperm and injecting the highest quality sperm available into the egg. The fertilized egg (embryo) is then transferred to the woman’s womb. Some men have very low levels of hormones that stimulate the production of sperm and drugs can be used to improve fertility.
If the eggs are not being released so they can reach the sperm, drugs can be used to stimulate hormones and cause the egg to move naturally.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
This is a disorder where the edge of the ovary is covered in multiple cysts which interfere with ovulation. If medication to stimulate ovulation doesn’t work, surgery may be needed. With treatment, most women with PCOS can get pregnant.
Having many eggs helps to increase the chances of getting pregnant with IVF. Egg production slows with age and women older than their mid-30s may have a reduced chance of getting pregnant with IVF.
Uterine polyps and fibroids
These may sometime present no symptoms at all and yet can increase the chances of miscarriage or in some cases prevent implantation dependent on their location. Both polyps and fibroids in the uterine cavity can cause occasional cramping and several types of abnormal uterine bleeding, including heavy menstrual bleeding, spotting between periods, or bleeding after intercourse. A simple scan can detect polyps and fibroids.
Pain and infertility from endometriosis
Endometriosis is a disease where cells from the womb lining move to other parts of the body and cause bleeding and sometimes severe pain. Fallopian tubes or ovaries can be damaged. There’s sadly no cure, but it may be treated with surgery or hormone treatments. If pregnancy doesn’t happen after treatment, IVF may be the best option. Find out more here about endometriosis