Deciding to start a family is a huge decision, full of uncertainty and anticipation. Seeing your period arrive month after month can be extremely disheartening and anxiety-provoking. Know that this happens to many Canadian couples, with between 11.5 % to 15.7% having experienced infertility.
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse (under age 35), or unable to conceive after 6 months of regular unprotected intercourse (ages 35-37), or less than 6 months if you are over the age of 37.
Infertility does not mean you will not carry a baby, you just may need some medical assistance to help you conceive. One of the biggest risk factors of infertility is age. Fertility decreases with age, particularly after the age of 35. Other risk factors include medical conditions that affect the reproductive system, such as endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, or fibroids. Infertility can happen with men too; age is also a factor. Not to the same extent as women, but the quality of a man’s sperm decreases as well as his testosterone levels (which can affect his sex drive). Medical conditions that affect his testicles, STIS, or cancer treatments.
Here are some tips related to infertility:
- It is important to be in tune with your cycle.
- Make time for sex other times than the times you are ovulating. Sex can not become a job or a chore- it will make conceiving extra stressful
- Get healthy- make your health a priority. Limit caffeine and alcohol, and choose healthy foods and exercise. This will set your body up to be ready for a pregnancy.
- See your family doctor. It feels good to share your concerns about conception with a professional and depending on your age can help you get the referral process started to get into a fertility specialist.
- Don’t search for answers on the internet. This can make anxiety worse. Instead, seek out support in your community (ask your Dr for local support groups of women working through the same thing), talk to your partner, and your family.