Reasons You Can’t Get Pregnant – A Fertility Checklist

Here’s a list of the most common reasons women can’t get pregnant, plus a fertility checklist. The reasons for not getting pregnant range from azoospermia (no sperm) to irregular periods. These male and female fertility checklists will help you decide if you should see a doctor or infertility specialist.

Reasons You Can’t Get PregnantDo you track your ovulation? The Clearblue Fertility Monitor is the most advanced way of tracking your fertility. It’s a non-invasive way to detect both LH and estrogen hormones, and it gives you comprehensive, personal information about your cycle to help you map out your fertility calendar.

Think about making lifestyle changes if you can’t get pregnant. “Couples who have sought specialist help and have been diagnosed with ‘unexplained fertility’ may find that making certain lifestyle changes can assist in conception,” writes Michael Dooley in Fit for Fertility. “These fertility checklists might be useful.”

Why Can’t You Get Pregnant?

The Fit for Fertility Checklist is made up of four individual checklists, for the egg, the sperm, conception, and general male and female fertility problems.


Fertility Checklist #1: The Egg (Female Fertility)

Answer yes or no to the following questions:

  1. Are you having irregular, short (less than 21 days) or long (greater than 34 days) periods?
  2. Do you bleed between your periods?
  3. Are you overweight (with a body mass index greater than 25)?
  4. Are you underweight (with a body mass index under 18.5)?
  5. Do you exercise excessively?
  6. Have you had treatment for cancer?
  7. Are you being treated for depression?
  8. Do you have diabetes?
  9. Have you ever had thyroid problems?
  10. Have you stopped having periods?

If your periods aren’t regular, read How to Know If You’re Ovulating – 3 Signs of Fertility.

Fertility Checklist #2: The Sperm (Male Fertility)

Answer yes or no to the following questions:

  1. Have you had an operation on your testicles?
  2. Have you had a hernia repair?
  3. Is there blood in your ejaculate?
  4. Have you had mumps?
  5. >Have you had an injury to your testicles?
  6. Do you have any family members with cystic fibrosis?
  7. Have you had a vasectomy?
  8. Are you overweight (with a body mass index greater than 25)?
  9. Are you taking medication for a peptic ulcer?
  10. Do you have diabetes?

If you think you can’t get pregnant because of sperm problems, read How to Increase Male Fertility and Improve Sperm Count.

Fertility Checklist #3: Getting Pregnant

Answer yes or no to the following questions:

  1. Do you have intercourse less than twice a week?
  2. Do you have a problem with intercourse?
  3. Do you have pain with intercourse?
  4. Does your partner have problems with erection?
  5. Does your partner have premature ejaculation?
  6. Have you had pelvic inflammatory disease?
  7. Have you had an operation on your abdomen (eg, a burst appendix)?
  8. Do you have discharge?
  9. Have you had an ectopic pregnancy?

Make sure you have intercourse at the right time (when you’re ovulating)! That’s one of the best tips for getting pregnant without taking fertility drugs.

Fertility Checklist #4: Male and Female Fertility Problems

Answer yes or no to the following questions:

Fertility Checklist

“Reasons You Can’t Get Pregnant – A Fertility Checklist” image by Life_takers_crayons via DeviantArt

  1. Do you have a good, healthy diet?
  2. Do you smoke or drink excessive amounts of alcohol?
  3. Have you been exposed to environmental hazards?
  4. Have you tried to conceive before without success?
  5. Are you under significant stress?
  6. Do you spend a lot of time apart?
  7. Do you drink excessive amounts of caffeine?
  8. Do you take regular medications?
  9. Do you use recreational drugs?
  10. Do you have a history of a genetic problem?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you need to talk to a doctor about why you can’t get pregnant.  Make an appointment with your family physician doctor, and consider talking to a fertility specialist.

Are you charting your ovulation and most fertile days? Read Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test vs. the Calendar Method.

If you have any thoughts on why you can’t get pregnant, please comment below. Please note that I can’t offer medical advice! I can only offer support, general education, and tips.

The internet is a fantastic source of tips about fertility checklists, getting pregnant, and infertility information, but it’s not so good at offering personal health advice. If you can’t get pregnant, talk to at least three fertility specialists. Get tested for fertility – and make sure your partner gets tested, too.

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Reasons You Can't Get Pregnant - A Fertility Checklist
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The most common reasons women can't get pregnant, plus four fertility checklists. Reasons for not getting pregnant range from azoospermia (no sperm) to irregular periods.

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Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
I'm a full-time freelance writer and blogger in Vancouver, BC. I created the "Quips and Tips" blog series; my degrees are in Education, Psychology, and Social Work. I welcome your comments below, but I don't give advice. I can offer you a prayer and a blessing, though! You'd be surprised how helpful a prayer can be....

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232 Responses

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Maria,

    I’m so happy for you, that you found out why you couldn’t get pregnant – and that your unexplained infertility turned into a baby! It doesn’t even matter how you started your family, now that your dreams of having a child have come true :-)

    My prayer for all couples who are asking “Why can’t I get pregnant?” is for hope and healing. May you learn the source of your male or female fertility problems, and may you find solutions that are quick and easy. May you move forward in your attempts to start a family with peace and joy, and may you trust God to give you wisdom, patience, and guidance as you try to get pregnant. Amen.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  2. Maria says:

    Thank you for such a full list! It is really very useful information for all us who can not get pregnant. Well, in any case when one faces such a problem, the very first thing which must be done is seeing your doctor. All this info on the internet is very useful, but the doctor`s consultation is something essential in this case. Especially when all these reasons do not match with your case and you are diagnosed with unexplained infertility. That is how it was in my situation. After 5 yeas of trying to conceive I finally found out what is my problem. It was so difficult to struggle with something unknown. But we started to do it. And now we are finally done with our journey. 3 failed ivf attempts. Then 5 egg donation failed. The only option left surrogacy. Which was done in the Ukraine. And thanks God it finally worked. We are parents now. And I can say in loud, confidently that our many years, long struggle is done. The war with infertility is finally over. And we won. We managed to do it. I wish everybody would do the same =)

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Zoey,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing how you’ve been trying to get pregnant. It sounds like you really want a baby with your boyfriend – it’s very important to you! When conceiving a baby is your main motivating factor in life, of course you’re wondering “why can’t I get pregnant?”

    Have you talked to a gynecologist or a family doctor? That’s the first thing you need to do if you think you have fertility problems. And, just because your boyfriend got someone pregnant in the past doesn’t mean he doesn’t have male fertility problems now. Our bodies change over time, and our bodies are affected by our lifestyle (eg, getting enough sleep, exercise, healthy foods, etc).

    I pray that you find peace in your desire to get pregnant. May you find joy and happiness deep in your soul and spirit, and in your relationship with God. I pray that you learn the art of being content in any situation, and the fulfillment of trusting God that your life is unfolding exactly the way He planned. May you focus on getting emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthy – and may you be guided by God’s wisdom, joy, and peace in your life. May you meet wise, grounded people who can help you make good decisions about your life and health, and may you be calm and centered as you move forward in your life. Amen.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  4. Zoe says:

    Hi I’m Zoey, when I was thirteen I had a miscarriage at three months. Im now 18 years old. I’ve not tried to get pregnant since but at the same time I haven’t used protection nor has my boyfriend pulled out. I am not currently on birth control. For the last four years until five months ago I was on depressant and anxiety medications and mood stabilizers… Idk what is wrong.. my periods have never been normal. My boyfriend already has a child with a past girlfriend so I know it’s not him and since I had my miscarriage I don’t understand why I’m not conceiving. Can someone please help me? Having a child has been the main thing keeping me motivated throughout life.

  5. Laurie says:

    Yes, you can and should see a fertility specialist, even if your boyfriend or husband doesn’t want to get his sperm checked. If there is something wrong with your ovaries or eggs – or if you have a health issue such as endometriosis or fibroids – you need to learn about it as soon as possible.

    Taking care of your fertility isn’t just so you can get pregnant. It’s about your overall health and wellness, and your peace of mind!

  6. chelsea says:

    Hi I have been trying to get pregnant for nearly 3 years now. I have had one miscarriage 2 years ago. My boybriend won’t get a fertility test. Can I still see a specialist if he won’t go

  7. Stacey says:

    I was wondering if someone could give me advice on who to talk to if I do not have infertility insurance but think there may be a problem since we have been trying to concieve for a year now.

  8. Laurie says:

    Dear Meah,

    I can’t predict what your chances are of getting pregnant, but it sounds like you’re doing everything right! You’re in touch with your doctor, and getting your hormone levels tested. Have you talked to a fertility specialist? GPs know a little about alot of medical issues, but fertility doctors know alot about fertility and getting pregnant!

    Today I wrote an article called 13 Tips for Getting Pregnant Without Taking Fertility Drugs: http://theadventurouswriter.com/blogbaby/getting-pregnant-without-taking-fertility-drugs/ . It may help you if you aren’t already pregnant. I hope you are pregnant – I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  9. meah says:

    Hi everyone, I’m 20, I was on the birth control patch in September 2013 for only 3 days before I stopped because it was way to strong for my body. After I stopped I began to have irregular periods for 3 months. My body seemed to be going back to normal a little starting January of 2014. Since march my fiance and I have been having unprotected sex to try for another baby but sadly no luck. I’ve gotten my hormone levels tested and everything came back fine and so did his. My gp gave me clomid and I began on the 5th day of my period this month (may) I took it days 5-9 I used opk test strips and got 2 dark lines indicating positive results for 5 days and was also checking my cervical mucus what could be my chances of pregnancy this month please help! Thanks in advance

  10. Tara says:

    We can’t get pregnant because my husband has a sperm count that goes up and down, and also has low motility and morphology. I’m perfectly healthy.

  11. Laurie says:

    Seeing a gynecologist, urologist, or fertility doctor is the best way to determine why you can’t get pregnant. It can be scary to think of the possibilities, but it’s better to face the unknown than live in uncertainty!

  12. Neijohn says:

    Hi my name is Neijohn and i’m dying to know what should i do when i have irregular period and cant get pregnant..i have a year old daughter and cant get pregnant after..

  13. Emily @ Why Can't I Get Pregnant Blog says:

    These are great checklists for both men and women. It does take an effort on both parts to make it happen. Unfortunately for some couples, they get pregnant so easily and some try for years. Wonderful article and great information on this site :)

    Thank you

  14. Laurie says:

    Hi Cassandra, yes, it’s probably a good idea to take a home pregnancy test if you think you’re pregnant. Sometimes women do have a light period after conceiving – it really depends on the woman!

    Hi Debzi-anne, have you tried an ovulation predictor kit? That’s a good way to start tracking your periods, even if you’re not as regular as you were before.

  15. Cassandra says:

    I’m 33 years old and my periods have never been regular but this month’s when it can on it stay on for 3 days and it was light pink so do I need to go take a home pregnant test to see what going on.

  16. debzi-anne says:

    Hi don’t know whether you can give me any help have been tryin for baby for 4 months now. before we started tryin to conceive i did have mostly regular periods since we have started tryin my periods have got so irregular ? Help x

  17. Laurie says:

    Have you been trying to get pregnant for 3 months? It actually takes a year on average for women to get pregnant, so you are not actually having problems yet!

    I know it is frustrating and difficult to keep trying to conceive, and keep being disappointed…but you have to remember that getting pregnant takes most couples several months. Try to be patient — and track your ovulation.

    Keep the faith, my friend. Come back and tell me when you are pregnant!

  18. Tessa says:

    Got pregnant in June 2006 had miscarriage at 6 weeks. Waited 2 1/2 years got pregnant in January 2009 had son in November. Started trying again for baby number two this December 2012 still not pregnant. Went to doctor he say’s I’m healthy.

  19. Laurie says:

    I wish I could tell you why you can’t get pregnant, but I can’t. If your gynecologist or family doctor hasn’t given you any fertility tests (or test results), then you need to get a second opinion.

    It’s important to start figuring out what your problem is as soon as the year-mark has passed. That is, if you’ve been trying to get pregnant for at least a year, then it’s time to get some serious tests to figure out what’s holding the egg or sperm up.

    Be careful about getting pregnancy advice on the internet! It can be good to hear other people’s stories and tips for getting pregnant, but you also have to remember that your body (and your partner’s) is different than other people’s. You need to get your own tests and keep trying until you find the right fertility doctor.

  20. carol says:

    Hi, I’m 42 years old. I’ll be 43 years old next month.
    I had two miscarriages back to back.My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant now for some time but no luck.
    I was told that my overies look like chocolate chip cookies and that my HCG level is low.I made an appointment with a doctor and had test done but never got the results back.My husband and I have been trying but like I said no luck,We can’t get any one to tell us why we can or can’t get pregnant.If any one could help please help.I to want a baby.

  21. gita k bendre says:

    hi i am 25yrs and 3yrs for merriege i am not concieving my all test are normal n my hsbnds too.i’ve tried homeopathy also it does not work m really scared whether i will concieve or not i really dont know what to do pls help me.

  22. Aisha says:

    Try taking Clomid

  23. Brenda Rogers says:

    Sorry to hear that Shini. Have you tried Pregnancy Miracle? There have been some incredible success stories, maybe it can help you too?

  24. Bella says:

    We have been TTC now for over 2 years and still nothing. This month I had hope because my period was 2 days late and… there it was. I didn’t want to buy a HPT because something in me tolod me that it was false hope. My period has always been on time (28 day cycle, this is the first time that it’s late), my ovulation is always on time, but still nothing. I am tired of friends telling me not to worry. I haven’t been worrying up untill 6 mos ago, when I realized this was not going to be easy if at all. Not stressing hasn’t helped. So, I’m ready to just give up. Sorry, I’m not trying to bring others down.

  25. rajitha says:

    Hi, iam rajitha,
    my marriage on june 2002,ihad my first pregnany on 2003,that time i delivered by baby girl on jan 2004,after 3 years i had second pregnancy but that time i got oberson for 3months,till now 2012 iam trying to get pregnancy but idont have, we feel so sad,
    we went infertility center last year ago,the doctor do all the tests for me&my husband, she said no problems in your definatly you get pregnant, we feel very happy ,but i dont hava pregnancy

    please,reply for my problem,iam in very stress.
    thanks

  26. NICOLE ELLIS says:

    HY IM 20 1/2 GOING ON 21 ME AND MY HUZBND BEEN TOGETHER FOR 3 1/2 YEARS AND FOR SOMWHAT WE’RE NOT CONCIEVING LIKE WE SHOULD BUT IN MY HEART I BELIEVE I CAN BECAUSE I HAVE NO HEALTH PROBLEMS AT ALL. BUT EVERYTIME WE TRY MY CYCLE COMES ON THE NEXT DAY. COULD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHATS GOING ON AND WHY THE EGGS NOT GETTING FERTILLIZED

  27. TheNarcissist says:

    Ladies, I know it’s stressful and sometimes even painful when you hear about others getting pregnant without even trying. But our time will come. We need to just take a deep soothing breath, and stay relaxed. Stressing is a big contributing factor to having trouble conceiving, as well as meds, menstrational issues, etc. I wish us all the best of luck, and I think we will make fantastic mommies because we spent time wishing, hoping and trying. =) so keep trying. I’ve been trying for five years, had two miscarriages and I still have hope. Wish me luck as well please!

  28. Joy says:

    Doc said i’m diabetic abt4yrs ago bt av bin married sins then and i av a daughter of3yrs after my marriage.I’v bin trying to get pregnant since my daughter clockd a yr and half,bt nothin is happening,cld it b d diabetes?wot shld i do,i nid anoda child

  29. Mandy says:

    I’m 26, my husband and I have been ttc for 2 1/2 years, we’ve seen an re and all the tests have came back normal, hsg looked great, lots of follicles, ovulate regular, cycles 28 days exact, sperm normal, tried clomid twice, I am 5’2 and 100 lbs, will we eventually conceive since everything has been normal? Could I be stressing about it too much? Any help would be appreciated

  30. stace says:

    me and my fiancee have been together a year and 2 months and we been trying to have a baby but i think i cant after having a cist removed last year can someone tell me can i recieve because im not getting preg :( need help pleaseeee xx

  31. shini says:

    hi iam 26 year old. i got hormonal and poly-cystic problem,i went doctor
    (DGO.then she gave my tablets and cured my problems.8months passed after my treatment,still i didnt become pregnant plz help me.i was married before 5 years.i need baby what to do?plz give me suggestion and help me.

  1. November 26, 2013

    […] Not getting pregnant or inability to conceive is extremely stressful for women who want to have a family. This notion is shown by a study published in the Human Reproduction journal on patients in four countries with the highest number of cases of assisted reproduction cycles (infertility treatments) in Europe: France, Germany, Italy and Spain. If you’re having trouble conceiving a baby, read 4 Most Common Reasons You Can’t Get Pregnant. […]

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