Most men and women assume that everything is fine in their reproductive organs and never stop to think of all that could go wrong. While it is not good for one’s emotional or physical health to worry needlessly, those who are hoping to get pregnant may want to begin thinking about their many options should they struggle to conceive. Waiting too long to address infertility can significantly narrow a couple’s options should they wish to have children in the future. Consider these four options for those who are struggling to conceive.
Infertility is often more than a physical problem. Unbeknownst to some, emotions can play huge roles in how the reproductive system works. One of the key players in this emotional upheaval is daily stress that is not dealt with healthfully. Doctors and researchers have gone back and forth on this matter, but the most recent research shows that nearly 30% of infertility issues can be traced back to the stress of trying too hard to get pregnant. Some believe that this is due to the changes in hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, when individuals are dealing with stress. Those trying to conceive need to find natural ways to relax and to take the pressure off themselves, such as by massage, acupuncture and guided imagery, which can be used with the help of a professional.
Improve Fertility at Home
Although home remedies are not always known for working very well, there are several things that both men and women can do to improve their fertility. Women should concentrate on losing excess weight and maintaining a healthy BMI of less than 25. Women should also keep daily caffeine intake at less than 500 mg. Men should focus on ways to protect the health of their sperm, such as by protecting the scrotum from heat and from radiation from cell phones and laptops. Both sexes should give up smoking. However, the idea that a couple could decrease fertility by having sex too often is an old wives’ tale.
Visit a Fertility Doctor
When none of these options helps in a short enough window of time, couples should head to a fertility doctor who can perform tests to determine what the problem could be. Women under the age of 35 should try for a year to get pregnant before seeing a specialist. However, women who are older, who have a history of miscarriages or other reproductive system issues or who have pregnancy risk factors should head to the specialist earlier. Men may need to see an andrologist, and women may need to see a reproductive endocrinologist in certain instances. The specialist will be able to monitor ovulation, test sperm motility, perform blood work, and recommend further treatments.
Keep an Open Mind
Despite the best efforts, some couples may still be unable to conceive naturally. While this can be a huge blow to one’s dreams, couples should remember that they still have numerous options for having their own child. Fertility specialists can prescribe medications to help. Other options could include egg or sperm donors or surrogates depending on the problem.
One of the biggest problems that those who are struggling to conceive have is emotional concerns that weigh on their minds. They often feel like less of a person because they cannot conceive. Others feel anger against those who seem to have no difficulty conceiving. The key to managing all of these issues is to inform oneself on the science of the matter, keep stress in check, take care of one’s overall health and talk to a professional, such as fertility specialist or a psychologist, if necessary.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter @RachelleWilber