1. Underlying conditions are at play
Some health conditions can make pregnancy more difficult. In women, hormonal imbalances have a significant impact on fertility. Endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and uterine fibroids can all make pregnancy more difficult. In both men and women, being overweight or underweight, or having a condition like diabetes, can play a role. In men specifically, premature ejaculation, cystic fibrosis, and blockages in the testicles can all affect whether or not sperm will fertilize the female partner’s egg.
2. You’re worried lifestyle factors have impacted fertility
When considering fertility, couples don’t know if there is a problem until trying to get pregnant. However, some concerns can come up if one partner is a long-time smoker, has high-stress levels, or engages in heavy alcohol use. In the presence of any of these risk factors, couples may want to start the fertility conversation early.
3. Age is a concern
Women who are nearing the end of the childbearing years may desire immediate fertility testing. While women over the age of 35 can still safely get pregnant, fertility drops significantly after the age of 40. Likewise, men over the age of 40 often experience a decline in fertility. Couples in the early 40s may decide to go straight to fertility testing instead of spending up to a year trying to get pregnant first.
Both men and women can engage in strategies that can increase fertility. Moderate exercise, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and maintaining a healthy weight can all boost pregnancy chances. Women trying to get pregnant should also limit caffeine intake. Men should avoid high temperatures found in hot tubs and hot baths, which can affect sperm.
What to expect during testing
When couples opt for fertility testing, the appointment will begin with a full medical history intake for both the female and male partners. Additional tests can include lab work-ups, blood tests, and imaging to evaluate both partners’ reproductive organs. Whether or not there is an underlying cause of infertility, couples may choose to try assisted reproductive technology (ART) like in vitro fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant. For more information about fertility and testing options, speak with a fertility specialist.
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