What To Know About Subfertility And How To Increase The Odds Of Conception

July 13, 2022
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If you and your partner want to have a baby and your fertility expert says that you as a couple are sub fertile, it may not be all bad news as it is not as disheartening as infertility. Most people think in absolute terms when it comes to fertility. It is either infertile or fertile, but in reality, it is not like that.

It is not always one or the other end of the spectrum; there is a grey zone which is between the endpoints and is called subfertility. So what is subfertility, and how to increase the chances of conception despite it? Do you need to go for IVF treatment? All you need to know is below. Read on. 

Book an appointment with Dr. Astha Gupta for all your fertility related concerns.

What is Subfertility, and What Causes It?

Subfertility means that you are less fertile than a normal couple. So it means you will take longer to get pregnant. Usually, infertility and subfertility and often interchangeably used. But they are not the same. While an infertile couple is unable to conceive naturally, an sub fertile couple takes longer and has a delay. As per research, a normal couple can conceive within 12 months of unprotected intercourse. Sub fertile couples take longer than that. On the other hand, without medical intervention, the likelihood of conceiving is unlikely. 

Causes of Subfertility

The causes of subfertility are the same as infertility, and that may be one of the reasons for its interchangeable usage. It may be a problem with a female or a male or a combination of both. There are also cases when the cause is not known. In general, the subfertility causes include: 

Ovulation problems:

A problem with ovulation is one of the common causes of subfertility. It includes PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) and DOR (diminished ovarian reserve), where there is reduced egg count in women due to ageing, medical condition, or ovarian surgery. Premature menopause, where ovaries fail due to chemotherapy or a medical condition. Hormonal imbalance can also impact ovarian function and cause ovulation problems. 

Fallopian tube problems:

Obstruction in the fallopian tubes blocks the eggs from meeting the sperm. This obstruction can be caused due to endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, chlamydia or gonorrhoeic, or pelvic inflammatory disease. 

Abnormalities in the uterus:

It can interfere with your ability to get pregnant. It can happen due to congenital defects that are present at birth or develop later. Fibroids, septate uterus, double uterus, and bicornate uterus are some abnormalities in the uterus. 

Issues with sperm production or function:

It can be caused due to chlamydia, gonorrhoeic, cancer and its treatment, HIV, genetic defects, mumps, diabetes, and varicocele which the testes have enlarged veins.

Sperm delivery problems:

This too can make conceiving difficult and is caused due to premature ejaculation, genetic conditions, damage to the testes, structural defects in the testicle, etc. 

Lifestyle factors:

It plays a major role in subfertility. One of the contributors to unknown subfertility is smoking. In women, it reduces ovarian reserve and reduces the functioning of the uterus and fallopian tube. In men, it reduces sperm quality and counts

Must Read: Inside IVF: Everything You Need to Know?

Tips to Increase the Chances of Conception

There is a difference in the treatment approach for a sub fertile couple compared to an infertile couple. The treatment in sub fertile couples is not aggressive or even immediate at the early stages.

Your specialist may usually ask you to make some lifestyle changes and fertility awareness methods to improve the chances of conceiving. It might include: 

  • Avoid smoking both active and passive as it affects females as well as male fertility. 
  • Track the basal body temperature to determine the most fertile period. 
  • Use ovulation kits to predict the perfect time during the cycle to have intercourse.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and weight. Being underweight or overweight can affect fertility. 
  • Cut back on alcohol or caffeine as it is linked to decreased fertility in men and women.
  • Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking for medical conditions, as they can affect fertility.
  • Avoid saunas or excessive heat as it can reduce the motility of the sperm and also its production. 
  • Moderate exercise to regulate the menstrual cycle in women and sperm count in men. 

Getting a diagnosis of subfertility means that you typically take longer to conceive. Though it is frustrating, doing lifestyle changes can boost the chances of conception. If these lifestyle changes don’t work, you may have to start fertility treatment which includes medications, surgery, assisted reproduction, or a combination of everything. 

Must Read: How to increase sperm count and motility?