Jun 102011
 

Can’t conceive? Here are the most common reasons women don’t get pregnant right away. The top three barriers to pregnancy are age (both his and hers), ovulation problems, and physical problems with the Fallopian tubes that stop those little embryos from forming.

And, here’s another “sweet treat”, to depress us even more:

“The ability to conceive may be affected by exposure to various toxins or chemicals in the workplace or the surrounding environment,” say the folks at Stanford University in What Causes Female Infertility? “Substances that can cause mutations, birth defects, abortions, infertility or sterility are called reproductive toxins. Disorders of infertility, reproduction, spontaneous abortion, and teratogenesis are among the top ten work-related diseases and injuries in the U.S. today.”

Reproductive toxins may be one of the reasons women can’t get pregnant – but so far, it’s not the main reason. One way to reduce the effects of environmental toxins is to eat as many antioxidants as possible.

If you’re trying to conceive a baby, you might want to check out The Conception Chronicles: The Uncensored Truth About Sex, Love & Marriage When You’re Trying to Get Pregnant. It’s a fun, witty, entertaining look at the road to pregnancy — and it’s also full of practical tips for conceiving a baby when you’re at the end of your rope.

Most Common Reasons Women Don’t Get Pregnant Right Away

It’s really important to remember that if you’re having trouble conceiving, you may not have be dealing with female fertility problems. Your ovaries and eggs may be fine…and it could be the sperm that’s the problem.

Female infertility is a reason for not conceiving only 33% of the time. Male infertility is the cause the other 33% of the time, and unknown reasons for not getting pregnant (unexplained infertility) makes up the final 33%.

Often, we assume it’s a “female problem” that’s stopping women from getting pregnant. We forget or don’t know that men are equally responsible for conception.

Age – the older a woman is, the lower her chances of getting pregnant

After age 30, a woman’s chances of conceiving decreases by 3-5% each year, and after age 40, the rate is even faster. Yikes. I’m sorry to be a downer – I know exactly how scary it is, being a woman pushing 40 and trying to get pregnant!  But remember that women over 40 get pregnant all the time – a friend of mine is 41, and just gave birth to her second son. It’s harder and riskier, but it’s possible.

Your age isn’t the only reason you can’t get pregnant. As your male partner ages, his sperm gets old, too. Check it out:

“If your male partner is also middle-aged, his sperm is less robust and plentiful than when he was younger,” writes Dr Nieca Goldberg in The Complete Guide to Women’s Health. This directly affects your chances of getting pregnant, my friend.

Lack of ovulation – another reason women don’t get pregnant quickly

Hormonal problems, scarred ovaries, premature menopause, and follicle problems all cause ovulatory disorders. They interfere with a woman’s normal ovulation cycle, and can even stop ovulation altogether. And if you’re not ovulating, you’re not releasing eggs…and if you’re not releasing eggs, bingo! That’s the reason you can’t get pregnant.

Female fertility is affected by ovulation (or lack thereof). If you have low levels of estrogen, then you may not be getting pregnant because of lowered FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) in your body. Both of those hormones are essential for conception.

If you don’t know much about ovulation, read How to Know When You’re Ovulating.

Fallopian tubes – adhesions and tubal blockage stop zygotes from forming

Here’s some helpful information from Stanford University in “What Causes Female Infertility?”, which I summarized:

“Tubal disease affects approximately 25% of infertile couples and varies widely, ranging from mild adhesions to complete tubal blockage.  Treatment for tubal disease is most commonly surgery and, owing to the advances in microsurgery and lasers, success rates (defined as the number of women who become pregnant within one year of surgery) are as high as 30% overall, with certain procedures having success rates up to 65%.”

Fallopian tubes are damaged by infection (bacteria and viruses transmitted sexually, causing inflammation and scarring, abdominal diseases (appendicitis and colitis),  previous surgeries (alters the tubes so eggs can’t travel through), ectopic pregnancy, and congenital defects (rarely, some women are born with tubal abnormalities).

Another reason women don’t get pregnant right away is uterine fibroids — but they don’t always stop conception. I have a fibroid, but our fertility doctor said I could still carry a baby. He did recommend surgery to remove it, thought…just to increase my chances of pregnancy.

For more specific reasons, read Why Can’t I Get Pregnant? Reasons for Not Conceiving a Baby.

If you’re looking for your reason you can’t get pregnant, you have to see your doctor. Blood work, abdominal ultrasounds, and gynecological checkups will help uncover the possible problem. And don’t forget to get your guy to check his sperm!

What’s your reason for not getting pregnant right away? Comments and tips welcome below…

quips tips coping infertilityI'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Kienlen; I've been married almost a decade. My husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I'd love to hear from you below - but I can't give health advice or counseling.

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