What is reproductive health?
Every year, millions of adults experience fertility Problems that make it difficult to conceive.
About 85% of couples conceive within 1 year of trying. Often, they are able to Get pregnant Within a few months of trying. 15% who don’t get pregnant Reproductive health or fertility problems occur within 1 year of trying, although about half of these couples conceive within 2 years.
“Typically, when a couple comes to my clinic, they have already been trying to get pregnant for 6 months to a year. If you are over 35, come after 6 months of trying. Good idea. However, some people don’t like medicalizing their personal lives, so they may have to wait years to see a reproduction Endocrinologist Or fertility specialist, says Rubén Alvaro, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford Medical School.
It’s a general rule to see a fertility specialist if you’ve been trying for a year and haven’t conceived, or after 6 months if you’re 35 or older.
Before you visit a fertility specialist, use an over-the-counter ovulation test to detect ovulation. This usually happens around the 14th day of Menstrual, says Alvaro. Try to have intercourse at least every other day from day 10 of your cycle, as each viable egg stays in your fallopian tube for only 12 hours.
What causes fertility problems?
For women, age is the most common cause of fertility issues, but there are many reasons why some couples have a hard time conceiving on their own, Alvaro says.
“With fertility problems in about 65% of couples, we find a physical cause and depending on what it is, we can treat it.” Both partners may have a fertility evaluation, which includes:
Normal due to infertility are blocked fallopian tubes, fibroidslow quantity or quality of a woman’s eggs, low ovulation, or in about 35% of men, low quality or quantity of viable sperm, He says. chronic diseases such as Diabetes, Celiac disease, a type of tree, or thyroid problems May reduce fertility.
“obesity It can also have quite a detrimental effect on your fertility,” Alvaro says. “Women, Less” body weight It can also have a negative effect on their fertility. My advice to patients is that if you overweight or FatEven losing 5%-10% of your body weight can significantly improve your chances of conceiving and keep your pregnancy healthy.”
Obese men may have reduced sperm production or motility, so sperm may not be able to move as quickly. an assumption to take place. Men trying to conceive should also manage their weight.
environment and lifestyle
If you’re trying to conceive, be wary of harmful chemicals, such as lead or cigarette smoke, at work or in your daily life, which can reduce sperm quality. Exposure to chemicals can also affect women’s fertility, says Jacqueline Chase, ND, a licensed naturopath with Perfect Fertility in Boston.
“There are many compounds in our environment that can harm your reproductive health. For example, some chemicals used in beauty products or pesticides in our foods, or even BPA, a chemical that in plastic used to make beverage bottles,” she says. People who may be exposed to chemicals at work should wear protective clothing, gloves and masks to avoid exposure to toxic substances.
“It’s kind of boring, but start with the basics, like the foods you eat, your sleep quality, and Tension Level. “She measures patients’ sex hormones and tracks ovulation, and suggests ways to improve their nutrition and general health.” I talk about them with my patients ” smoking, alcohol, or Marijuana Use as well. People are under a lot of stress these days, so they may turn to alcohol or marijuana as an outlet.” Tobacco Or the vessel may damage the quality of the sperm or egg.
Here are some simple changes you can make to boost your reproductive health:
- Have frequent intercourse, especially 5 days before and after ovulation.
- Do not smoke
- Limit alcohol.
- To cut caffeine If you are a woman.
- Stay at a healthy weight. Women who are too heavy or too thin may have reduced fertility.
- Heat exposure can lower sperm count in men, so wear loose underwear, avoid hot tubs, and don’t keep your laptop computer near your scrotum.
- Get plenty sleep.
- Try to avoid working the night shift, which can disrupt hormone production.
- Exercise regularly, but don’t overdo it! more Exercise May interfere with ovulation. If you’re trying to get pregnant, limit vigorous exercise to 5 hours or less per week.
- to take folic acid Supplements to improve ovulation and, if you do conceive, prevent birth defects.
- Limit meat in your diet. eat more fish Rich in omega-3 fatty acids or plant based Protein, which can improve ovulation.
Another tip for couples: Tune in to unsolicited advice from family and friends, much of which is wrong, Alvaro says.
“One thing I hate hearing from my patients is that a family member would tell them ‘Just relax.’ It puts the blame on the couple. That’s not true. Not relaxing or stressing about it really won’t change your fertility,” he says.
Your exams and test results help your doctor optimize your treatment plan, Alvaro says. First, they can write fertility Medicine, commonly called a pill clomiphene citrate (clomidIt is prescribed to improve ovulation for women and increase testosterone for men. anastrozole And human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) are other drugs prescribed to increase male fertility.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI). If medication alone doesn’t lead to conception, your doctor may try intrauterine insemination (IUI), a procedure in which sperm are placed in your uterus while an egg is released, Alvaro says. At the end of four ovulation cycles, these treatments together result in a cumulative pregnancy rate of 30%-35%.
“If you can’t get pregnant with clomiphene and IUI, we offer in vitro fertilization (IVF), the most invasive treatment,” he says. “If your fallopian tubes are blocked, we go straight to IVF.”
Surgery. with women Endometrial polypsscar tissue or fibroids in their uterus, or pelvis adhesion Surgery may be needed to improve the chances of conception. Men with sperm blockage may have surgery to restore normal flow.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). IVF is the most common assisted reproductive technology. Your doctor will encourage your ovaries to produce eggs, which are then retrieved and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. A few days after embryos are formed, they are implanted in your uterus.
Other ART techniques that may help you conceive include:
- intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), Where a healthy sperm is injected into the egg. This may be done if the man has poor sperm quality or if you have tried IVF several times without conceiving.
- assisted hatching, a procedure in which the outer part of the embryo is opened or “hatched” to help it implant successfully into the lining of your uterus
- use of donor eggs or sperm If either of its own cells is not healthy enough for pregnancy
May not be covered by fertility treatments and ART InsuranceAlvaro, who is president of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, a professional association that advocates for new laws expanding the coverage of these treatments. “Patients don’t always have a lot of time and these” Insurance Obstacles delay care. “
Above all, don’t give up on your dream starting a family, says Chase.
“People who come to me may feel like they are at the end of the road. They feel hopeless,” she says. “Helping couples conceive is the greatest honor I have. It is so satisfying. “