Natalie, let's look at some fertility issues that could affect your chances of falling pregnant with fertility treatments...
It’s a common misconception that fertility issues are purely a female matter. In fact, causes of fertility issues are generally identified as 35% female factors, 35% male factors and 20% a combination of both. Unexplained infertility occurs in about 10% of cases.
Standard fertility testing looks for underlying reproductive conditions such PCOS, endometriosis or low sperm count that can all affect your chances of falling pregnant naturally.
If treatments for these are unsuccessful or in the case of unexplained infertility, testing reveals no obvious reasons for pregnancy delay, there are more complex investigations fertility specialists can undertake to identify the cause and help you conceive.
Sadly, miscarriages are a common occurrence with one in six pregnancies ending before week 20. The vast majority of patients will go on to achieve a healthy family so it’s important to stay positive. Recurrent miscarriage refers to when a woman experiences three or more consecutive pregnancy losses. Some of the causes of miscarriage include random chromosomal abnormalities, genetic abnormalities, uterine abnormalities, immune causes, blood clotting disorders, hormone imbalances and some medical conditions. Age is also important as the likelihood of miscarriage increases as a woman gets older. If you have experienced a miscarriage, particularly more than once, it’s important to receive specialised support in the form of investigations to test for the possible cause and specialised care during the next pregnancy.
Read more about miscarriage…
Our genetic material, or DNA, is tightly coiled into structures called chromosomes. Every cell in an embryo should have 46 chromosomes, arranged in 23 pairs. An extra or missing chromosome means the embryo is abnormal. This is called “aneuploidy” and includes conditions such as Down syndrome, where there is an extra chromosome number 21. These chromosome abnormalities or aneuploidies can affect up to 70% of early human embryos, and most cause the embryo to stopping developing resulting in failure to become pregnant or miscarriage.
Read more about chromosomal abnormalities…
During the monthly menstrual cycle of a female, the endometrium becomes thickened under the influence of the estrogen hormone. A good, thick endometrium is required to provide a site for proper implantation of a fertilised embryo and support for a growing baby. If for some reasons the lining becomes thin it becomes harder for the embryo to implant to the wall which may result in difficulties conceiving.
Thickened egg shell
The outer shell of the egg, the Zona Pellucida, usually hardens after one sperm enters the egg. It is possible for the outer shell not to allow a sperm to enter or become too thick and hard interfering with the embryo’s hatching process and preventing implantation.
High sperm DNA fragmentation
In some couples with otherwise unexplained infertility, the only problem that can be identified is a higher than usual level of fragmentation of the DNA [genetic material] in the sperm. This means that the sperm may not be able to fertilise the egg. A sperm DNA fragmentation test is sometimes suggested when, there is a history of recurrent miscarriage, the male is approaching 50 years of age, poor fertilisation rates, poor embryo quality or embryo development, history of unexplained infertility or 2 or 3 failed ART attempts.
Read more about sperm DNA fragmentation...
Optimising protein intake
Nutritionist, Melanie McGrice
Protein rich foods provide key nutrients such as iron, zinc, omega 3 and calcium which are important for your overall health. Are you getting enough protein? Melanie looks at how to optimise your protein intake.
WATCH VIDEO >
RECIPE: Sweet potato and zucchini frittata >
Get fit for fertility
Train with the BUF Girls
The BUF girls are a group of specialist female trainers committed to helping women everywhere fall in love with fitness. They’ve created this workout to make you feel unstoppable. Join Cass for a full body burner from the comfort of your own home.
START WORKOUT >
Discussing fertility issues
Relationship expert, Dr Nikki Goldstein
Sometimes one or both partners may discover they have a fertility issue that is making it more difficult to conceive. Dr Nikki Goldstein and fertility specialist Dr Juliette Koch explore the feelings of guilt and shame, how to tackle those tough conversations and better support each other along the way.
WATCH VIDEO >
Coming up next week
- Advanced scientific techniques to improve your chances of conceiving with fertility treatments
- Embracing good fats in your diet
- Get ready to strengthen & tone with another BUF Girls workout
- Nikki explores how to face challenges & overcome obstacles together
In case you missed it
Here's a link to the previous week's content:
Need a fertility friend?
Webinar with a Fertility Specialist