Monday, July 4, 2011

Ask Us Anything: What are the Signs of Infertility?

"My husband and I have been trying to conceive for three months but have not had any success. I'm wondering if infertility may be the cause.

Are there any outward signs of infertility? Or any behaviors that may be inhibiting our ability to conceive? I've heard stories of Mountain Dew limiting sperm count, but don't know if these are just rumors.

Is there anything that we can do to maximize our fertility?"

Jeanne Karnath, Certified FertilityCare™ Practitioner, Responds:

Jeanne KarnathThere is no reason at this point to believe that you have an infertility issue.

If you are under the age of 35, tests to determine possible causes of infertility are usually begun if you don’t conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse.

For women over the age of 35, tests are usually begun after 3-6 months of trying to conceive.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a woman’s fertility begins to drop in her late 20’s or early 30’s and falls more rapidly after the age of 35. Depending on your age, you may want to give it more time before you seek a diagnosis.

There are many factors involved in the fertility process, including the timing of the intercourse. In order to maximize chances of conceiving, you need to be sure you are taking advantage of your time of fertility. One way to do that is through the use of Natural Family Planning.

With professional instruction, couples are taught how to identify the natural signs of fertility and infertility that occur in each cycle, so they can use the method to plan their families, whether it be to achieve or avoid a pregnancy. If there are irregularities in the cycle, these can often be discovered fairly quickly, addressed and treated cooperatively.

Some risk factors related to infertility may be smoking, family and medical history, irregular cycles and unusual bleeding.

As for the Mountain Dew myth, there have been no studies to support the claim that Mountain Dew causes infertility. However a good diet, regular exercise and prenatal vitamins are always recommended to optimize the health of all concerned.

— Jeanne Karnath, Certified FertilityCare Practitioner

Jeanne Karnath teaches Natural Family Planning at The Catholic FertilityCare Center of WNY, located at Sisters Hospital and Mercy Hospital of Buffalo.

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