For some couples, the journey to parenthood is a long and painful road.
Are you and your partner trying to conceive? Here are six things you should know about infertility:
- It is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive.
- If you are over the age of 35, this time is reduced to six months.
- There are two types of infertility: primary infertility, where a couple has never had a baby before, and secondary infertility, where a couple is unable to conceive after already having a child.
- For couples struggling with infertility, education and early diagnosis is vital. It’s important to see a specialist for a complete fertility work-up and diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made you’ll have all the information you need to make the best decisions going forward – you may choose fertility treatments, adoption, or to remain childless.
- About one third of infertility cases are due to female factors; one third are due to male factors and the remaining third are due to a combination of male and female issues.
- Infertility affects about one in six couples.
- Your weight can play a role when you’re struggling to conceive. Two of the main reasons overweight women may be struggling to fall pregnant, according to experts, are Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and insulin resistance. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is diagnosed when women experience irregular periods or don’t menstruate at all, have polycystic ovaries and have an imbalance in their sex hormones. These imbalances affect the woman’s ability to ovulate and symptoms include excessive body hair on the faces, chest, below the navel or on the toes. Women who have PCOS are often insulin resistant as well, which means they have higher insulin levels and are, therefore, at a higher risk of developing diabetes later on. Insulin resistance affects all your hormones and stops your menstruation cycle. This means you won’t ovulate, and so no eggs will be released for fertilisation.
It’s not all doom and gloom, there are steps you can take to give your fertility a boost:
- Unlike many fertility issues, weight-related infertility can be managed through simple lifestyle and dietary changes. In fact, a recent study showed that changes in diet, lifestyle and exercise will lead to spontaneous conception in up to 70% of men and women whose infertility was specifically due to weight disorders.
Visit www.ifaasa.co.za for more information on infertility.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day.