The clock ticks loudly as you strum your fingers on the basin. Yes. No. Yes. No. Your heart is racing, as images of what could be start to stream through your imagination. Then you see it. Negative…again.
It’s easy to wonder what you’re doing wrong, or what might be wrong with your body, when you’ve been trying to fall pregnant for some time.
This might be the right time to see a fertility specialist. They can put your mind at ease, answer your questions and discuss options for treatment or lifestyle changes if necessary.
Most importantly, you’ll be doing something proactive – not just waiting around until next month’s test.
Infertility is a broad term used when couples have issues falling pregnant. Dr Simone Campbell is a friendly and understanding fertility specialist who assists all kinds of couples with all kinds of concerns about fertility.
From some couples, there is actually a very simple solution to fertility challenges. In other cases, the concerns may be more complicated – but that’s when expert guidance is vital.
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re under 35 years old and have been trying for 12 months or more to get pregnant, it’s time to seek the advice of a fertility specialist. For those over 35 years old, or if there is some reason for you to believe there may be a fertility problem, time really is of the essence and you should only wait a maximum of 6 months before seeking professional help.
The most common causes of infertility or repeated miscarriage include sperm issues, ovulation disorders, endometriosis, sexual dysfunction or fallopian tube blockage. Your fertility specialist can explain these complex causes in simple terms and come up with a realistic plan to help you work towards your goal.
Are your circumstances extraordinary?
If you feel you and/or your partner fall outside the aforementioned guidelines, there are some other scenarios that are exceptions to the rule and it may be worthwhile seeking help sooner. For example:
• You have irregularities with your menstrual cycle which cause ovulation issues, such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
• You have endometriosis and you’ve not conceived within 6 months.
• There are hereditary or known medical issues at play, including blood clotting disorders or premature menopause.
• You have Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or a tubal blockage.
• Your partner has had a vasectomy, or you have had a tubal ligation.
• You or your partner are experiencing sexual dysfunction.
• Your partner has a history of significant scrotal trauma, varicocoele (a form of varicose vein causing low sperm count and low sperm quality), twisted testes, undescended testis, or other sperm issues.
• You or your partner have previously had chemotherapy.
• You’re a same sex couple or a single female over 35years old in need of a donor sperm or donor eggs.
What tests are involved with fertility analysis?
When you visit a fertility specialist like Dr Simone Campbell, and she has reviewed your medical history, you may require further tests. Testing for women can be invasive, so men are usually tested first with a semen analysis. If this test comes back ok and tests are required for the female, you may be required to undergo a blood test to check hormone levels, a PAP test to check for a cervical infection or an HSG – an x-ray procedure that ensures the fallopian tubes are open and to detect any abnormalities in the uterus.
Are there any risks with fertility treatment?
Fertility treatment is more accessible than it ever has been and whilst it should be seen as a positive step, like many other treatments there are risks involved that you should be aware of.
• Some fertility treatment includes the chance of multiple pregnancies. The main risks of a multiple pregnancy include premature labour and birth which may result in illness, disability and death. It also comes with miscarriage risk and other maternal complications.
• Another risk of fertility treatment is over stimulation, where the drug dosage is too high to stimulate ovulation. This causes pain and discomfort not to mention inflamed ovaries, nausea and a bloated belly. It can also cause dehydration and a thickening of the blood increasing the risk of blood clots. Many of these side effects are seen after long term use of fertility drugs. This is why many doctors will advise you to ‘let nature to take its course’ for as long as possible if you are otherwise healthy.
6 preventable reasons you may not be falling pregnant
Before you visit a fertility specialist, as well as while you are under specialist treatment, there are a few lifestyle factors that may help you on your journey towards a successful pregnancy.
1. Stress: It affects the part of your brain that regulates hormones and specifically the gland that controls the hormones responsible for releasing the eggs. The same gland regulates male testosterone levels. Stress can either make you ovulate later or not at all.
2. Age: From the age of 35 years, fertility declines, miscarriage rates begin to rise as do pregnancy-related complications. There is also a greater risk of multiples, caesareans, ectopic pregnancy and other genetic issues for older mums.
3. Weight issues: Being overweight may cause hormonal imbalances, ovulation issues and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome making it much harder for you to fall pregnant. During pregnancy, it is linked with pre-eclampsia, blood clotting, and gestational diabetes all of which can be potentially life threatening to you and/or the baby. If you fit into this category, consider seeing a health and fitness practitioner about a nutrition and exercise plan.
4. Gut and vaginal microflora: The presence and absence of certain strains of essential and beneficial bacteria in the female digestive and reproductive tract influence fertility greatly.You should have a diet rich in a variety whole foods including probiotics and prebiotics which are essential to assist fertility.
5. Sperm Count Issues: A low sperm count can be caused by smoking, excessive drinking, anabolic steroids, recreational drug use, overheated testes, excessive exercise (specifically cycling), vasectomy reversal or testicular injury.
6. Sleep deprivation: Your overall health and lifestyle greatly influences fertility and this includes having appropriate and regular sleep patterns. Sleep is often under rated but in fact is just as imperative as regular exercise and nutrition for overall good health. Lack of sleep affects our hormone production, libido, neurotransmitters, body temperature, behaviour, metabolism and more.
It can be heartbreaking waiting to see that positive pregnancy test result when you know you’ve been doing ‘everything right’. If you have concerns about your fertility, a visit to a fertility specialist can set you on the path to positive action.
Contact fertility specialist Dr Simone Campbell TODAY!