When it comes to understanding women’s health and fertility it can quickly become a complicated subject.
There are many myths out there, and different people can give you different answers to the same questions. The truth is, it will always depend on the woman’s personal circumstances, but there are some basic things that apply to the whole of female fertility.
To help shine some light on the topic, we’ve created this helpful list of facts you may not know about fertility.
Infertility Is A Common Issue
In Australia, 1 in 9 couples experience fertility issues.
For roughly 2 in 5 couples it is due to a sperm problem, or a problem with the male partner. In another 2 in 5 couples, it is due to a problem with the woman’s reproductive system. In other cases it is a combination of causes, or there is no known cause.
Infertility is not always a commonly discussed topic, so sometimes you can feel alone in your journey. It’s important to remember that you are not alone, and there are many resources out there to help you.
Age Affects Both Partners Fertility
It is common knowledge that the older a woman gets, the lower her chances of getting pregnant are.
Beginning in a woman’s early 30s, the chance of falling pregnant begins to decline. From age 35 onwards, fertility begins to decline and by age 40 fertility has fallen by half for many women.
However, both the male and female age can have an impact on the success rates of falling pregnant.
Men who are under the age of 40 have a higher chance of successfully impregnating a woman, likely due to the fact that sperm quality can decrease with age.
Women can get pregnant during perimenopause
While women aged over 35 see a decline in their fertility, this does not mean they can’t get pregnant.
Perimenoapuse is the time leading up to menopause. It refers to the beginning of irregular menstrual cycles up until your last period. Your body gradually begins to stop producing eggs.
Many health professionals recommend you still use contraception to prevent pregnancy until you have had one year without a period if you are over 50, and two years without a period if you are under 50.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Can Affect Fertility
Fertility problems can be caused by some STIs, most commonly gonorrhoea and chlamydia. STI’s can affect your fertility by damaging your reproductive system.
They can develop into pelvic inflammatory disease from fallopian tube blockage. They can also affect sperm quality and damage the male tubes.
If you or your partner have had an STI or currently have an STI it may affect your chances of having a baby so it’s important to get a check up. Some sexually transmitted infections can go undetected with no symptoms, so it’s important to get tested even if you don’t think you have one.
You can only fall pregnant on a few days of your menstrual cycle
Timing is incredibly important when it comes to conceiving, as you can only fall pregnant on a few days of your menstrual cycle.
The menstrual cycle can differ from woman to woman, so consulting your doctor to get an more accurate overview of your own cycle can be helpful in your fertility journey.
Once the ovaries release an egg, there is a 24 hour window for it to be fertilised. Sperm can live for up to 5 days, but you have a higher chance of a successful pregnancy if you have sex on the 2 days leading up to ovulation, or the day of ovulation.
When planning your family, you want to be making informed decisions. Contacting your local gynaecologist and obstetrician can help you be proactive in your health care.
If you have existing issues with your menstrual cycle, PCOS, endometriosis or other reproductive issues, it’s important to consult your doctor.
If you are looking for help on your family planning journey, or want to assess your fertility, you can visit Dr. Kelvin Larwoods private clinics in Buderim, Sunshine Coast, and Noosa.