The arrival of your period can be disappointing when you’re trying for a baby. With each passing month, a little more of the hope nested deep within you, withers away. And to think, it was the same monthly visitor you were relieved to see all these years. Only now, it means one thing: no baby. It doesn’t help that you track intercourse nowadays, almost like some regimented scheme designed to suck every ounce of pleasure from this otherwise rather agreeable activity. Your partner is on the edge. You’re exhausted. And everyone around you seems to be growing a baby belly faster than you can break a five hundred rupee note.
Waiting for the double pink line on the pregnancy test can be frustrating, and can be emotionally taxing on you and your partner. It’s important to sit up and realise that at some point, you may need to consult a fertility specialist. That point is different for different women. If you’re less than 35 years of age, that point is usually after one year of trying; if you’re over 35, you should consider seeing a doctor after trying for six months.
If you have a medical history of fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease or thyroid disease, it would make sense to schedule an appointment with your gynaecologist to check whether your fertility has been affected. This could save you the pain and exhaustion of trying to conceive naturally for a year. Even if you don’t have a history of these conditions, your body may be trying to tell you that something’s not right by sending you signals by way of hair loss, severe pelvic pain, excessive facial hair or irregular or absent periods. You could also make changes in your lifestyle by going easy on the alcohol and timing intercourse when you’re most fertile.
Age and fertility share a symbiotic relationship. Your odds of conceiving diminish with age, and become distinctly lower after the age of 35. It goes without saying that there are no guarantees in fertility. A woman of any age may experience difficulties conceiving. A study performed in the US, by the National Centre of Health Statistics (article published in Fertility Sterility 2016), indicates the following:
- Fertile women under 25, who engage in unprotected sex, have a 96% chance of conceiving within a year
- Fertile women between 25 and 34, who engage in unprotected sex, have an 86% chance of conceiving within a year
- Fertile women between 35 and 40, who engage in unprotected sex, have a 78% chance of conceiving within a year.
It’s important that your partner is with you when you meet a fertility specialist. If you are having trouble conceiving, the problem may lie with either of you, and it’s imperative that you both get tested. Your doctor will discuss aspects of your life, like your menstruation cycle, timing of intercourse and methods that you have been using to predict ovulation. Your doctor may also order an ovulation test, a hormone test, a pelvic ultrasound, and an ovarian reserve test. Your partner may be advised a semen analysis to determine the quality of sperm, and a blood hormone analysis to assess testosterone levels.
You are not alone on your journey to overcome infertility. There are experts who can guide, counsel and support you. End the waiting game when you know it’s time. There’s help waiting.