Around 1 in 6 Australian couples struggle to conceive. If you're trying for a baby and there's no success within the first year, you may start to think about assisted conception. Prior to helping you begin this journey, your gynaecologist will likely consider other options that are less invasive. Before beginning the process, they'll need to know a little more about yourself, your partner, and your attempts to fall pregnant.
How long you've been trying for a baby
Approximately 80 percent of couples under the age of 40 will fall pregnant within the first year and 90 percent will fall pregnant within two years while having regular unprotected sex. Your gynaecologist is unlikely to consider you as an IVF candidate prior to this point unless there's an underlying pathology suggesting that you'll need assisted conception to fall pregnant anyway.
Information about your lifestyle
Despite your best efforts, you may find that certain lifestyle factors hamper your chances of falling pregnant. For example, men who drink regularly experience a reduced sperm count and poor sperm motility, and with lower sperm motility there's less chance of you falling pregnant. Smoking also affects semen quality and can cause harm to a developing foetus, especially during the early stages of pregnancy, which means your gyanecologist will likely advise you to stop. Women who are overweight may experience an oestrogen imbalance that disrupts the levels of hormones they need for steady ovulation. Finally, while many couples like to try methods such as timed intercourse and measuring basal body temperatures, the stress involved may make conception less likely.
How you're managing ongoing barriers to conception
If you have a chronic disease diagnosis, you may find it acts as a barrier to quick conception. Conditions affecting the liver and kidneys have a secondary effect on the pituitary gland, which is responsible for regulating the hormones you need for a healthy menstrual cycle. There's evidence to show that 1 in 4 men with diabetes experience low testosterone levels, and women with hypo or hyperthyroidism can experience hormonal imbalances. Your IVF gynaecologist will assess whether you're managing your condition in a way that'll enhance your fertility and they may need to liaise with other clinicians managing your care to achieve this.
The road to successful conception is sometimes stressful, but your gynaecologist will work with both of you to achieve the best outcomes. With a steady and dedicated approach, you can increase your chances of successfully conceiving.