Whether you are trying to conceive at the moment or not, you may be wondering if you will be able to get pregnant, now or in future. There are many reasons people have questions or doubts about their fertility, from lifestyle to health conditions, but luckily there are a number of ways you can find out. If you have questions about your ability to conceive, here’s how to find the answers you need.
The first thing to consider when trying to conceive? Ovulation. It’s when an egg is released from your ovaries, and is when you are most fertile in the month. Potential other issues aside, understanding the ovulation stage of your cycle can help increase your chances of getting pregnant.
We have a whole blog on ovulation here if you want to learn more, but the main indicators of ovulation come with paying attention to the length of your menstrual cycle, body temperature, and consistency of your cervical mucus… fun! These can provide signs that you are ovulating, but the best way to know for sure is to use an at-home test - the kind where you wee on a stick and it tests your hormone levels, which increase during ovulation.
Regular ovulation doesn’t guarantee you are able to conceive, so if you have concerns about your fertility, it’s usually best to visit your GP to find out if there’s anything stopping you from getting pregnant.
It can be tempting to jump to conclusions after a few months of trying, assuming that something must be wrong. It’s stressful, but remember that every couple is different so not conceiving now doesn’t mean you will never conceive. It is recommended that you see your GP if you haven't had any luck after a year of trying, so they can check for any issues affecting your fertility.
You may wish to do this sooner if you are aged 36+, as fertility starts to decline around this age. Again, this certainly doesn’t make pregnancy impossible. If you suspect any other reasons for not being able to conceive, such as having had cancer treatment, or a sexually transmitted infection (STI), you should visit your doctor.
Your GP will likely want to ask both you and your partner a series of (possibly embarrassing) questions about your sexual history and health. They may ask you about:
The good news is, according to the NHS more than 80% of couples will conceive within a year if the woman is under 40 and the couple has regular sex (every 2 to 3 days) without contraception. Of those who don't conceive in their first year of trying, about half do in their second year. If your GP recommends a physical exam to further test your fertility, here’s what you need to know.
For women, these tests can include weighing you to check your body mass index (BMI) and examining your pelvic area for signs of fibroids, endometriosis and anything affecting fertility. For men, it’s an examination of your testicles and penis to check for any abnormalities. You may be referred to a fertility specialist for further tests, which could include:
Infertility in women is primarily caused by issues with ovulation, which can often be as a result of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), thyroid problems, Endometriosis, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, and more. Some other issues include problems with the cervical mucus, which can stop the sperm being able to travel to the egg, or fibroids preventing a fertilised egg attaching to the womb.
Trying to get pregnant, especially when you suspect issues with your fertility, can be an emotional time. It's important to support each other as a couple as much as possible, as stress can often be a huge factor affecting fertility. Speak to your GP to get the advice you need, and stay positive throughout the process to give yourself the best chance. Head on over to our private Facebook group or drop us a note on Insta @itsyoppie. While you're trying, don't forget that our personalised period subscription box can get organic tampons, pads, liners (and more) delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox. A little less stress always helps!
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