Have you been looking at babies and hearing the faint ticking of your biological clock? Seeing strollers and wanting to push one of your own? Trying to conceive for longer than you would like and wondering if there’s a fertility aid to help things along? Everyone’s fertility health and ability to conceive is different and if you don’t get pregnant immediately, that’s ok.
Only one third of healthy couples conceive in the first month of trying and sometimes time and a fertility aid may help. Other times, if you fall within the guidelines the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends of when to see a fertility doctor, you may need some help to build your family. In this blog, we’ll discuss all your options from aids you can buy at the drugstore to medical assistance you can explore!
What Fertility Aid Is Recommended When You’ve JUST Started Trying to Conceive?
If you and your partner have only recently decided to get pregnant, there are several items you can use as a fertility aid to help try to expedite conception! There are certain fertility aid tools that pinpoint when you’re ovulating, since that is when you are at your most fertile. They are:
- Basal Body Thermometer: This is a fertility aid that is used to chart your basal body temperature daily. You should take your temperature first thing, every morning at the same time before you get out of bed and record it. When your temperature rises slightly, this likely indicates that you’re ovulating.
- Changes in Cervical Mucus: When you’re ovulating, your cervical mucus will turn as egg whites, it will be stretchy to facilitate the sperm swims through. This change is due to hormone waves which will indicate that you are likely fertile.
- Ovulation Prediction Kits or Ovulation Test Strips: This fertility aid is available at any local drug store. The test looks for a luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine, which will rise when you’re ovulating. When you get a “positive”, that means you’re in your fertile period and should have sex.
- A Pregnancy Wheel and Ovulation Calendar: While some rely on fertility apps, this fertility aid helps you keep track of your period, when you ovulate, and ideally, pregnancy testings and milestones.
When Should I Consider Using a More Advanced Fertility Aid?
The ASRM recommends that you see a fertility specialist if the female partner is under the age of 35 and has been trying for a baby for at least one year without success, or if the female partner is over 35 and you have been trying for a baby at least six months without success.
There are also reasons you may want to consider seeing a reproductive endocrinologist sooner than the guidelines stated above, such as:
- You are female and 40 years old or older
- You are unable to determine if you are ovulating
- You’ve been diagnosed with or you suspect you may have endometriosis
- You have irregular cycles
- You have been diagnosed with or suspect you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- You have a history of pelvic infection, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- There is a known male factor fertility concern
- You have had two or more miscarriages
- You have a genetic or chromosomal family history
What Fertility Aid Is Recommended When You’ve Been Trying to Conceive for a While?
Seeking the help of a doctor may seem intimidating but it can be the best first step in uncovering why you haven’t been conceiving. At your fertility consultation, the doctor will review your health history, fertility goals and run some tests. For women, they may perform a transvaginal sonogram and order blood work to look at various hormones that will provide details about your reproductive health, ovulation reserve and function. For men, a semen analysis is performed where they look at three main factors: sperm count, morphology, and the motility.
Using the results, it may be a matter of the doctor making a proper diagnosis, finding a fertility aid that entails medical intervention or exploring different forms of reproductive technology such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). If you’ve experienced several miscarriages, Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (also known as PGS) can be an incredibly powerful fertility aid. If you have had recurrent pregnancy losses, PGS can be helpful because it identifies if the correct number of chromosomes are present in embryos. Approximately half of all first trimester pregnancy losses are due to chromosomal abnormalities, so PGS can reduce the risk of pregnancy loss by providing your doctor with information to preferentially transfer embryos that are identified as chromosomally normal.
Something else to consider is your family history. If you have an autosomal dominant condition in your family history or you and your partner are both identified as a carrier of an autosomal recessive disease such as Cystic Fibrosis or Tay-Sachs, your doctor may suggest a fertility aid called PGD that will significantly reduce your risk to have an affected child. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is available for many single gene diseases.
Starting a family is an exciting time and holds so much potential. It’s completely understandable to feel a range of emotions, including being a little nervous. While there’s so much ahead to learn and experience, it’s important to remember you have so many resources and various places you can turn to, like a reproductive endocrinologist, to work out which fertility aid will best assist you in making your dream of becoming a parent a reality.