By Fertility Advocate Jennifer Jay Palumbo
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?
Of course, everyone’s fertility health and ability to conceive are different, and if you don’t get pregnant immediately, that’s ok. However, 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. Below, 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! First, certain fertility aid tools pinpoint when you’re ovulating since that is when you are at your most fertile. They are:
Basal Body Thermometer: This fertility aid is used to chart your basal body temperature daily. You should take your temperature first thing, every morning simultaneously before you get out of bed and record it. When your temperature rises slightly, this likely indicates that you’re ovulating.
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,” 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.
Also, a potentially overlooked but smart fertility aid is to take a Prenatal vitamin. Again, you can ask your doctor if there is a particular brand they recommend. Prenatal Vitamins have folic acid and several other vitamins that support a healthy pregnancy.
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 35 and has been trying for a baby for at least one year without success or if the female partner is over 35. In addition, you have been trying for a baby for 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)
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. The doctor will review your health history and fertility goals at your fertility consultation and run some tests. For example, women may perform a transvaginal sonogram and order blood work to look at various hormones to provide details about their reproductive health, ovulation reserve, and function. A semen analysis is performed for men to look at three main factors: sperm count, morphology, and motility.
Using the results 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 can be an incredibly powerful fertility aid. If you have had recurrent pregnancy losses, PGT-A 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 PGT-A can reduce the risk of pregnancy loss by providing your doctor with information to transfer embryos that are identified as chromosomally normal preferentially.
Something else to consider is your family history. For example, suppose you have an autosomal dominant condition in your family history. However, you and your partner are carriers of an autosomal recessive disease such as Cystic Fibrosis or Tay-Sachs. In that case, your doctor may suggest a fertility aid called preimplantation genetic testing for monogenic. This test can significantly reduce your risk of having an affected child. Preimplantation Genetic 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.
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