Fertility Problems

Fertility problems - how do I knowHow do I know if I have fertility problems?

There are many issues that can point to a woman possibly having fertility problems. To confirm the problems you will need to visit a specialist but you should ask yourself the following questions:

Is your menstrual cycle normal?

If your periods are irregular this could be an early indicator of problems with your fertility. You should have a period once every four weeks. The time your period starts can vary and if you are calculating your period by a day of the month it could be inaccurate due to the different number of days in each month. Mark on a calendar the day that you start your period and each day until the last. If the length between each period is over thirty-five days or under twenty-four, this is not considered normal and should be discussed with a medical professional.

You should bleed for a minimum of three days and up to a maximum of seven. If your period is extremely light or very heavy there could be an underlying cause. You should also look out for changes in the blood flow, the length of time you bleed for and colour. Your periods should, in general, be consistent so if any of the aforementioned is not, you should see a doctor. Many women suffer from cramping during their period but you should seek medical advice if the pain is so extreme it regularly interferes with normal activities.  If over the counter pain killers are not effective this could also indicate a problem.

How long have you been trying for a baby?

Everyone is different, so where one person may become pregnant straight away for another it may take months.  Make sure that any medication or existing medical conditions are not causing the problem before automatically assuming it won’t ever happen for you.

What treatments are available to treat fertility problems?

Before doctors will start thinking about fertility treatment you will first need to take a fertility test. Part of this testing may involve you being tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STI).  Other tests could include ovulation tests that check for levels of estradiol or luteinizing hormone as this is subject to change during fertile times and the basal body temperature.  Also, an AMH test of ovarian activity is often checked.  If these tests indicate a problem, you may be referred for fertility treatment.

Keeping a fertitility calendar to mark your most fertile time can help greatly with conception. A fertility calendar could also help in making a diagnosis if you still don’t fall pregnant.

One option if you are diagnosed with known or unknown fertility problems is to get IVF treatment.  IVF involves a woman being given hormones to increase egg availability. The eggs are then harvested and fertilized with the man’s sperm.  The fertilized eggs are then returned to the uterus where they will hopefully implant.

This treatment can also be useful for women who have partners with a low sperm count and may increase the chances of conception so long as the sperm are healthy.

Dr Flynn can help you understand your options and discuss a fertility management plan.  Contact us for an appointment.