Did you know that one in every six Australian couples have trouble falling pregnant. There are so many things to consider when trying to conceive and it’s not always easy.
Thankfully, Grace Private’s fertility specialists, Dr Tina Fleming and Dr Tania Widmer have helped hundreds of local women and couples achieve their dream of having a baby. They are passionate, caring and take a holistic approach to women’s health to overcome the challenges that affect fertility.
We had a chat with Dr Tania Widmer to discuss fertility and hear her insights into what couples can do to increase their chance of falling pregnant.
Tania Widmer is a Grace Private Fertility Specialist, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. Dr Widmer has a keen interest in optimising health prior to pregnancy and provides expert care in a full range of obstetric, gynaecological and fertility procedures including IVF if required.
Does having sex more often improve the chances of falling pregnant? Many couples believe having sex every day will increase their chances of falling pregnant, however it isn’t necessarily true.
Timing is everything. In general, it’s best to have sex every other day around ovulation, which is usually between days 11 and 21 of the menstrual cycle, or two days prior.
Sperm can live for up to five days, whereas an egg can only be fertilised for approximately 24 hours after being released from the ovary. Having sex every day can actually affect a man’s sperm quality.
Here’s a recent Grace article on 5 ways to boost your chances of falling pregnant.
How does age affect fertility? Age is a big factor to consider if you and your partner are trying to conceive. Women are born with approximately one to two million eggs, but a woman will only release up to around 500 eggs in her lifetime and her fertility starts to reduce in her early 30s, more after the age of 35.
Contrary to popular belief, men also have a biological clock, with fertility starting to decrease between 40 to 45. It’s worthwhile doing some initial investigations if your male partner is over the age of 40.
What factors influence male fertility? I often feel that discussing pre-pregnancy concerns with male partners is undervalued. It’s just as important to counsel men around fertility as it is for women.
Men face fertility issues such as low rate of sperm production, absent sperm (azoospermia), genetic abnormalities and blocked vas deferens or other tubes.
As temperature affects sperm, excessive use of hot tubs and prolonged heat can affect a man’s sperm count. Even some lubricants are not fertility friendly and can reduce the chance of getting pregnant as they affect sperm quality.
Can endometriosis, adenomyosis and PCOS affect fertility? Yes, these conditions can affect a woman’s ability to conceive. Patients with PCOS produce higher levels of insulin and testosterone, which can lead to infertility, while blocked or damaged fallopian tubes may stop sperm from reaching the egg during insemination.
Endometriosis and adenomyosis are also conditions that make it harder for a woman to conceive, however we find that many patients go on to have a baby naturally once they are treated for these conditions by an experienced gynaecologist.
What other factors can affect fertility? There are a few other factors that can affect a couples chance of conceiving, including sexually transmitted diseases, weight and other lifestyle factors.
For both partners, sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, genital herpes, syphilis and HIV need to be checked and treated if possible, as they may affect the pregnancy or the baby when it’s delivered.
Definitely, smoking, inhaling second-hand smoke, alcohol consumption and drugs can also affect fertility. As well as being overweight or underweight. This can affect a woman’s hormones and their chance of conceiving, so I recommend maintaining a healthy diet and exercising.
When should a couple seek help when struggling to conceive? At Grace Private, we encourage any couple or individual to seek medical advice if they have been trying to fall pregnant for more than 12 months, or six months if the female is over 35 years of age.
While genetics do play an important role in fertility, there are many options available to assess and help improve a couple’s chance of conceiving, before you consider intervention or explore IVF treatment.
How do couples arrange an appointment with a Fertility Specialist at Grace Private ?
You will need a referral from your GP. As fertility specialists, we will consider your hormone profile and ovulation before prescribing a fertility treatment. It’s important to remember that the more information and results we receive from your GP, the faster we can get you started on your fertility journey.
For details and referrals, phone 07 5594 7632 or visit our website for more information.