• Rose Unwin

Why can getting pregnant be so difficult?

Updated: Sep 11, 2021

Historically, it was assumed fertility challenges lay with the woman. Women provide the eggs and act as the host during pregnancy however, it takes two to tango and there's more to this story. Male sperm quality has halved in the last few decades and now men account for 50% of infertility cases. There are a myriad of reasons behind this. Reasons include increased exposure to toxicity, increasingly stressful lives, alcohol consumption, increasing testicular temperatures, and a diet made up of too much ultra-processed food and lacking in nutrition. The taboo around male infertility needs shaking off because this is affecting a significant amount of the population. Comedian Rhod Gilbert is speaking out about his own infertility to pave the way for other men to seek help.​

There are still fertility clinics out there that focus too much on the woman. I urge you to advocate for yourselves and to request the crucial male tests from the outset of fertility explorations. It may prevent the need for unnecessary intrusive explorations for the woman.

For women there are a host of factors that influence fertility and the chance of conceiving. I don't think most women know their monthly cycle well enough and subsequently they're not sure when they ovulate. Textbooks mention day 14 ovulation within a 28 day cycle but only a fraction of women have this textbook cycle. For instance I have a 31 day cycle and I typically ovulate around day 16 or day 17. I know this from tracking my cycle for several months - see my blog on cycle tracking to learn more. If you don't have sex at the right time then you won't get pregnant, even if both partners are very fertile. An egg only lives for up to 12 hours so timing is key.

A baby girl is born with all the eggs she'll ever have and they're in a suspended state of development until puberty when the menstrual cycle and ovulation start. Science tells us chromosomal abnormalities occur in the two weeks prior to ovulation and this is heavily linked to lifestyle factors. High exposure to BPA is a lead cause for chromosomal abnormalities in eggs so this is one area you should absolutely look at when trying to get pregnant.

More women suffer from PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), endometriosis and anovulation in modern life and these conditions can impact our fertility. If you have one of those conditions, don't let this hold you back. I can help you with advice tailored to your individual needs. Don't suffer in silence.

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