Getting pregnant becomes steadily more difficult after the age of 35. Don't leave it too late start trying.
With regular intercourse, a normal healthy couple takes about six months on average to conceive. However, about ten percent will still be having some difficulty after one year (infertility).
How to improve your chances
- Have intercourse two or three times per week, around the middle of the cycle.
- Stop smoking. Smoking by both men and women decreases fertility.
- Losing weight if overweight and getting regular exercise can improve fertility
- Reduce alcohol.
- Don't wait too long. Fertility gradually declines after 35 years of age.
Other important advice for women trying to get pregnant includes taking folic acid daily (0.5mg), checking your rubella and chicken pox immunity and making sure your pap test is up to date (every two years).
When to seek help
See your doctor after 12 months of trying to get pregnant, or earlier if you have irregular periods or a history of pelvic infection. Women over 35 are advised to seek help after six months.
Investigation of infertility
Your doctor may do some of these tests:
- Sperm count. The partner's sperm is examined under the microscope. About 35% of cases are due to the male partner.
- Daily temperature chart and a day 21 hormone test. These check that the eggs (ova) are being released from the ovary
- Hysterosalpingogram. Dye is inserted into the uterus and X-rays are taken to detect fallopian tube and uterus problems.
- Ultrasound test. This checks for problems with the ovaries and uterus.
- Examination with a telescope under an anaesthetic to look in the pelvis (laparoscopy) or inside the uterus (hysteroscopy).
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.