Infertility is a reproductive system condition that may affect men and women. It is defined as an inability to get pregnant after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.
Infertility affects millions of people of reproductive age worldwide, and it has a significant impact on their lives: financially, psychologically, physically, mentally.
Although it happens to many people and there is a lot of information about it, some questions are left unanswered. For that reason, we compiled a few common questions and simplified their answers.
1. How do I know if I am infertile?
Infertility manifests itself through different signs. However, the main symptom of infertility is not getting pregnant. Mostly, female infertility is a consequence of ovulation issues. If a woman is not ovulating, there are no eggs to fertilize. A sign of ovulation problems includes irregular or absent menstrual periods.
Nevertheless, you can experience other signs or symptoms because they depend on the cause of your infertility. Be on the lookout for the following signs:
Irregular periods: the average woman’s cycle is 28 days long. However, if you have 31-days or 35-days cycles, you may also have a regular period. Otherwise, if your cycles vary so much that you can’t even estimate when your period will arrive, you are probably experiencing irregular periods. Hormone issues or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can be the cause, which can contribute to women’s infertility.
Painful menstruations: most women experience pain during the first days of their period. But if this pain is unbearable and interferes with your daily life, it may be a symptom of endometriosis, which affects a woman’s fertility.
No periods: if your period disappears for a month, it is nothing to worry about. Stress or heavy workouts can cause an absence of periods for a short time. However, if you haven’t had a period in months, it is best to check your fertility.
Hormonal irregularity: some hormonal abnormalities may indicate potential issues with fertility, such as weight gain or loss, facial hair growth, skin problems, etc.
Pain during sex: feeling pain during sex is not normal. It could be related to hormone issues, endometriosis, or other issues that contribute to infertility.
2. How does infertility affect someone’s life?
Infertility is not a disease, but it impacts your life with a wide range of socio-cultural, emotional, physical and financial problems. Stress, anxiety and depression are described as common consequences of infertility.
For some individuals or couples, having a baby represents a highlight of their lives. It is a dream, a plan, or a life goal. However, when they notice that that process may be harder than expected, people can experience significant anxiety and emotional distress. Thus, infertility may have a huge impact in terms of mental health. See this article to know more about it: https://monicabivas.com/infertility-and-women-mental-health/.
Yet, it is not just infertility itself that can cause distress. Socio-cultural patterns influence your emotional health. Generally, people tend to judge when you tell them you are infertile, which will make you feel ashamed, sad and frustrated.
Naturally, once you notice that you are infertile, you will find treatments to conceive. These treatments can give you back hope and a balance in emotional and psychological terms. However, these treatments are quite expensive, which can be strenuous for your financial sustainability.
3. How can I become fertile?
In most cases, it is possible to increase fertility and conceiving. However, you must bear in mind that getting pregnant can take time.
There are some treatments and natural methods to help you increase your fertility:
Monitor ovulation: it is easier to control the ovulation cycle for women with regular periods. However, women with irregular menstruation can also have a planner or other tools to help monitor ovulation. Having sex during the fertile window may increase your chances of getting pregnant. Nevertheless, please don’t obsess about this. Sex mustn’t be just a synonym of conception.
Take time to relax: give yourself time to relax. Infertility may cause stress, frustration or depression. Take time to take your mind out of this issue. The more you think about it, the more stressed and anxious you get, which doesn’t help conception.
Have a healthy lifestyle: having a healthy daily life will help you increase fertility: this includes stopping smoking, drinking alcohol, and having a healthy diet rich in proteins, vitamins, nutrients, and carbohydrates.
Get active: exercise helps you feel better, reduce stress, and regulate hormone production. For example, walking for 30 minutes or riding a bike is essential to boost your fertility level.
Foster romantic time with your partner: stress, pressure, and failed attempts to get pregnant may strain the relationship between couples experiencing infertility. So, dedicate some time together to relax and have passionate sex without worrying about conceiving.
Seek fertility treatments: some treatments for fertility problems can help you become fertile. It includes medications or reproductive assistance, such as Intrauterine insemination and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). See your doctor to know when you should opt for these treatments.
4. What if the fertility treatment doesn’t work?
Undergoing fertility treatment and, in the end, knowing that it didn’t work can be devastating. The most important thing to remember is that it is not your fault! None of these situations are your fault. And you are doing the possible (and impossible, sometimes) to conceive.
Take some time off to allow your body to recover and talk to your partner to decide the path to follow from then on. You have several options: try again with the same treatment, try a different one, or you may decide you don’t want to make any more treatment. If you choose the latter, talk to your doctor to get suggestions on other options for maximizing your chances of conception.
There’s no right or wrong path. It is your life and your partner life. Only you know your particular situation and what’s best for you.
Don’t forget that infertility is not your fault or your partner’s fault. So, don’t judge yourself, don’t feel ashamed or guilty. Again, you have several options to increase your fertility and treatments to help you conceive – don’t lose hope!