Many couples dream of having a baby and starting a family. But conceiving naturally can be difficult for some people. While it may feel overwhelming, fertility issues are more common than you think. About 15% of couples in Singapore cannot get pregnant after one year of trying(1).
This article will discuss common reasons why couples have difficulty getting pregnant and 5 methods to increase your chances of a natural conception.
Possible Reasons Why You're Not Getting Pregnant
Having trouble conceiving can be upsetting. Especially if you've been trying for a long time and you're following all the tips you get from your family and friends. But let's face it, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to fertility. Each couple has its own characteristics, and we must address them holistically.
For example, years ago, women were blamed when couples couldn't conceive. But now we know, both males and females, can contribute to infertility(2).
Here are some reasons why couples have difficulty conceiving:
Women are born with a finite number of eggs, which decreases as they age. The quality of these eggs also declines with time(2).
Men over 35 are also more likely to have trouble conceiving. Although men produce sperm throughout life, the quality decreases with age(3).
b. Physiological problems
Some women don't ovulate due to conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), hormonal problems, premature menopause, Fallopian tube obstruction, endometriosis, or physical abnormalities in the uterus(2).
Male infertility can be due to a lack of sperm, sperm abnormalities, or sperm movement issues. Problems in the testicles due to an injury, cancer, surgery, blockage, or infection can also influence the semen quality. Some men may also experience ejaculation problems or don't produce enough hormones to make sperm(4).
Certain genetic conditions like Klinefelter's syndrome or Y-chromosome defects may decrease sperm production(2).
Being overweight, stressed, sleeping poorly, and overeating junk food can affect your overall health and wellbeing, including your chances of getting pregnant. Excessive drinking and smoking are other risk factors(2).
Exposure to certain medications, hormones, radiation, and environmental toxins can cause changes in your body that lead to infertility(2). Talk to your physician if you're going through any medical treatment and are having fertility concerns.
So you've been trying to conceive, and it's not working... what's next?
There are several reasons why you and your spouse may be having trouble conceiving. The first step is to try (however difficult) not to get too stressed or anxious about it. Remember that stress itself can affect fertility.
If you've been trying for more than six months with no success, it might be time to get help. But before seeing a fertility doctor, you may want to try these natural alternatives:
1. Have a healthy diet
Eating too much fast food may be a bad idea if you're trying to have a baby. One study showed that trans-fat intake is associated with lower fecundity(5).
Other studies show that a diet rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein from vegetables, whole grains, low-glycaemic carbohydrates, dairy food, and iron is associated with a higher chance of getting pregnant(5).
Men should also follow a healthy diet since some nutrients are essential for the health of the sperm, such as omega-3, vitamin E, vitamin C, β-carotene, selenium, zinc, vitamin D, and folate(5).
2. Have sex more often
The pressure to get pregnant can make a couple stressed and affect their sexual relationship. However, studies show that couples who have sex every other day have more chances of conceiving than those who have sex less often (once a week)(6). Avoid making sexual activity an obligation and make it pleasurable for both of you.
Also, do note that the peak of fertility can vary even in women with regular cycles(6). One way of predicting ovulation is through vaginal secretion analysis. When it's slippery and clear, the probability of conception is highest. Ovulation predictor kits or cycle tracking can also help(6).
3. Moderate alcohol and caffeine. Avoid tobacco
Women trying to get pregnant should avoid drinking more than two drinks a day (10 g of alcohol)(6).
High levels of caffeine consumption (more than 5 cups of coffee per day) have also been associated with decreased fertility(6).
Finally, people who smoke are more likely to have fertility issues(6).
4. Vaginal lubricants
Some water-based vaginal lubricants may decrease sperm movements due to their chemical composition. Specialists recommend using mineral oil, canola oil, or hydroxyethyl cellulose-based lubricants when necessary(6).
5. Trying out twoplus sperm guide
While many people believe that a single sperm is enough, successful fertilisation requires many sperm to prepare the way for the final 'survivor.' For that, a few million is needed to reach the uterus. However, most sperm that remain in the vaginal tract after sex can't survive in the vagina's acidic environment.
The twoplus Sperm guide aims to increase the chances of natural conception by avoiding semen leakage during intercourse. The device is made with soft silicone so you don't feel uncomfortable using it.
During intercourse, the twoplus soft flap allows the penis to glide over it effortlessly. After ejaculation, the male withdraws, and the twoplus flap springs up. This forms a seal that blocks the back-flow of semen and protects the semen from the harmful acidic lower vaginal canal.
Would you like to try it? Click here to shop twoplus sperm guide! Use the code: “ILC20” for a 20% discount on the three-pack twoplus kit.
1. Healthxchange.sg. Infertility in Women: Causes and Treatment Options – HealthXchange. [Internet] [Cited 16 August 2021]
2. Fertility. CDC [Internet]. [cited 2021 Apr 8]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/index.htm#:~:text=About 6%25 of married women, to term (impaired fecundity).
4. Public Health England N. Infertility causes [Internet]. [cited 2021 Apr 8]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/infertility/causes/
5. Carvalho BR de, Barcelos IDES, Medeiros SF de, Benetti-Pinto CL, Yela DA, Nácul AP, et al. Increasing the Chances of Natural Conception: Opinion Statement from the Brazilian Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Associations-FEBRASGO Committee of Gynecological Endocrinology. Rev Bras Ginecol e Obs. 2019;41:183–90.
6. Pfeifer S, Butts S, Fossum G, Gracia C, La Barbera A, Mersereau J, et al. Optimizing natural fertility: a committee opinion. Fertil Steril. 2017;107(1):52–8.