I am sure most parents will say that having children is a trying experience but they would do it again without hesitation. Having children and bringing them up is one issue but actually getting pregnant is the important first step, which itself can cause great anxiety and worry.
Given that everything is ideal, both parents are perfectly healthy, and they have regular sexual intercourse when the lady is at her most fertile, what is the likely success rate of getting pregnant? It is surprisingly low at just 15-25%. This may come as a shock but there are many factors that affect the chance of pregnancy, even among those who are perfectly healthy.
Now imagine if everything isn’t perfect, that there is something affecting fertility for both the man and/or the woman. This chance drops even further and this is why many couples can struggle to have children.
Male infertility is responsible for 20% of cases of infertility and contributes to 35% of all cases. Often the exact cause cannot be found but here I give a brief overview of what can be done.
First off we may want to ensure that you are doing everything correctly to ensure the optimal chance of pregnancy. This may include making sure that you and your partner are having regular sex during the lady’s ovulation phase, ensuring that technique is adequate, and checking that no other factors are getting in the way, such as the inappropriate use of contraception.
Lifestyle factors can also play a role here. For example stopping smoking, regular exercise, and even eating more healthily can improve fertility.
For men some simple tests can be done to assess fertility as well as any potential reversible factors that may reduce fertility. Semen analysis is often the first step as this allows us to determine the quality and number of the sperm. Scrotum ultrasound can also be used to identify an physical problems with the testicles. Other important tests that can be done include STD testing to ensure that an infection isn’t causing the issue. Once this baseline has been assessed potential corrections or improvements can be made.
Pregnancy and fertility (Pre-conception) planning should start even before you consider starting a family to optimise your chances of having a healthy baby and a smooth pregnancy. Many factors including, health status and lifestyle, can affect your pregnancy and are important factors to consider.
This all depends on what is found during testing. Should sperm quality be not as good as hoped then we can use medication to try and improve this. Should an infection be active, treating that may improve fertility.