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9 Reasons Why Couples Have Trouble Conceiving

Katlyn Joy | 1, February 2014


The desire to have a child is almost universal, and it seems nothing should be more natural. However, for an estimated 6.7 million women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting pregnant is not a simple option. Approximately, 6 percent of married couples are considered infertile. However, some statistics say the numbers are even higher; the National Institute of Health and Child Development reports that 15 percent of couples will not conceive after one year of unprotected sex, and after 2 years, 10 percent will still not have achieved pregnancy.

Some people believe the myth that most conception problems are due to issues with the woman, where in reality it's about 30 percent of the time due to a woman's problems, 30 percent of the time it's attributable to the man, and of course, sometimes the true cause of infertility is never discovered or it's a combination of male and female factors.

The following are some of the more common reasons why couples have difficulty conceiving.

1. Age

As we get older, our fertility is affected, whether man or woman. For a man, the "magic" number appears to be 45. At that point, researchers have found it takes a man five times longer to get a woman pregnant than if he was under 25. Also, the quality of sperms drops off with age, contributing to more fertility problems and higher chances of miscarriage. Of course, it is well-known that age impacts female fertility, starting around age 35 that difference is significant; a third of women aged 35 or older have fertility problems. The big reason is that she has fewer eggs, and her eggs are of lower quality. Also, she may be more likely to have chronic health conditions which impact conceiving. However, pregnancy after 35 is not unachievable. So don't lose hope just because of your age.

2. Ovulation problems

This is the number one cause of infertility in women, and it can be a result of a number of health problems. One big contributing factor to ovulation issues is PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome. In fact, it's the number one cause of female infertility. Another ovulation issue? Premature ovarian insufficiency or POI is when a woman's ovaries stop functioning normally prior to age 40.

3. Endometriosis

This condition occurs when the lining of the uterus begins to grow outside the uterus, often interfering with fertility and frequently causing a woman painful periods.

4. Blocked fallopian tubes

The egg must travel the fallopian tubes and anything that impedes the journey impedes fertility. The reasons for such condition vary, from endometriosis, to pelvis inflammatory disease, STD's, a history of ectopic pregnancies or other issues.

5. Fibroids

These are benign growths that are found in the uterus and grow in clumps that may cause pain or bleeding and can in more severe instances, cause infertility.

6. Abnormality in sperm count, motility or quality

Men need to have a good number of sperm that are properly shaped and sized, move well enough to make it to the target site of the egg, and there must be enough of the guys. The number? Believe it or not, it's 39 million per ejaculation.

7. Varicocele

This refers to varicose veins in the scrotum. Virtually all of these are found on the left side, and they are not always problematic. If a man has pain or is experiencing difficulty getting his partner pregnant and the varicocele is believed to be the culprit, the likely solution is a procedure called varicocele embolization which requires neither cutting nor general anesthesia.

8. Uterine abnormalities

Sometimes the shape or structure of the uterus itself may make getting pregnancy difficult or impossible. Ultrasounds can usually pick up problems in this area.

9. Lifestyle issues

Sometimes we get in our own way. Lifestyle choices such as extreme working out which may prevent periods, excessive alcohol intake, smoking, recreational or hard drugs, poor diet or being under or overweight, or extreme stress can all impact fertility. For men, not being in good health overall, drinking, smoking, drugs or activities that raise testicular temperatures are all infertility factors.

Should you have trouble getting pregnant after a year of unprotected sex, seek medical advice. If you are of advanced maternal age, you don't have to wait that long; maybe more like 6 months, as time is of the essence.

Related Articles

Women Born With a Low Birth Weight May Have Trouble Conceiving

Endometriosis and Trying to Conceive

Luteal Phase Defect

Coping With the Frustrations of Infertility

Unexplained Infertility


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