Conceiving a second baby can be far from straightforward, even for those who found it easy to get pregnant the first time around. We take a look at factors that might affect conception and what you can do to help in your journey to becoming pregnant.
Understanding any potential fertility problems and finding solutions for them is a great strategy.
There are several factors that can affect your fertility the second time around including damaged fallopian tubes, ovulation disorders, previous pregnancy complications, and uterus scarring, but age is one of the most predominant factors.
When you’re younger you have about a 25% chance of having a baby naturally when you try at ovulation time. This falls to about 12% at age 37 and 5% at age 42, so given that you are older the second time around and that there’s a trend towards people having babies later, falling fertility can affect many people.
With age there is also the potential for a greater risk of miscarriage and foetal abnormalities.
Around a third of fertility issues are caused by problems with the sperm.
Counting your eggs
You are born with all the eggs in your ovaries that you will ever have. Eggs don’t regenerate or multiply throughout your lifetime, but rather decline in number and quality – and so by the age of 35 you have around just 10% of your eggs left.
To estimate how many eggs you have left, you can take a test called an AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) test. This test can also estimate when you are likely to begin menopause.
Your GP can request an AMH test, however a fertility specialist has the full knowledge to analyse the results and to explain what they mean for you. You don’t need a GP referral to see a fertility specialist.
Get fertility fit
There are some things you can do to help your body prepare for conception and pregnancy. Start taking daily folic acid supplements and check that any medication you are on isn’t affecting your fertility.
Also take a look at your lifestyle – seek help to stop smoking, ensure your alcohol and caffeine consumption is low, try and get regular sleep, eat well, and try and fit in some regular exercise.
Men can also follow healthy lifestyle guidelines to assist their fertility. It’s a good idea to keep the testes cool by wearing boxer shorts instead of briefs and avoiding frequent hot baths, saunas, and spas.
When to seek help
If you or your partner have a known fertility issue, you could choose to seek specialist help quickly.
For others, age becomes an important factor. For example, if you’re 39 years old you should consider seeking help after around five months of trying (and definitely get further advice if you have had no luck after a year of trying). Fertility Associates have a helpful Biological Clock calculator that can help you decide when to seek assistance, and remember you don’t need a GP referral to see Fertility Associates – you can contact them direct.
What sort of help is available
The first thing your specialist will do is to try and figure out what the issue is. This will likely include asking you a number of questions around your medical history, family history, and any past fertility issues and do a basic examination plus some tests such as the AMA test.
Once all of the information is gathered, they can then chat with you about your options. While IVF is the best solution for some, others might benefit from fertility pills, surgery, or IUI (intra uterine insemination). There are also options, if required, for sperm or egg donation.
If you would like to understand more about your fertility, you can book a free 15 minute chat with one of the fertility nurses at Fertility Associates.