Pregnancy and Fertility Issues.
Are you trying to get pregnant?
The decision to become pregnant is one of the biggest decisions in life. Thoughtful preparation by both men and women can contribute to the development of a healthy pregnancy and nurturing family. For pregnancies to be successful a lot of things need to go right, so doing things that enhance a positive environment, both physical and emotional, can make the experience better for the developing baby as well as the parents. By preparing our bodies, eating nutritious foods, avoiding alcohol, and getting the right kinds of exercise and rest, we can prepare a strong foundation.
Pregnancy is the result of a number of natural occurrences. A healthy sperm fertilizes the mature egg, which attaches to the nourishing uterine wall, and the baby grows and develops until birth. Timing is an important part of this. Sperm can be active for up to 5 days, and eggs can be fertilized for around 48 hours after release. For pregnancy to occur, sexual intercourse must take place within about a 5 day window, just before or during ovulation.
Generally speaking, “Fertility” refers to a person’s ability to have babies. For a man it means healthy sperm, enough of them, and the ability to have sexual intercourse. For a woman it means healthy eggs, healthy reproductive organs, and strong communications among all the systems of her body related to menstrual and ovulation cycles and pregnancy.
The term “Infertility” refers to people who have been trying for awhile to have a baby but have not yet been successful. If a younger woman has been trying for 2 years, or a woman over age 35 has been trying for 6 months, then there is the possibility that there is something irregular going on, and it may be time to get some assistance.
There are many reasons pregnancy may not be occurring, and many ways problems are being addressed. Common problems for men are low sperm count and testicular abnormalities. For women common causes are endometriosis, tubal blockage, and polycystic ….PCOS. Also, after age 27 women’s egg production begins to decline, in quantity and quality. Medications and illnesses can also be a factor.
Research is showing that roughly 1/3 of the cause of infertility is related to the man, 1/3 is related to the woman, and 1/3 is related to both or is unknown. 25% of infertile couples have more than one cause of infertility, and 20% of infertility is from unknown causes.
About 85-90% of couples can be successfully treated with conventional therapies, such as drugs and surgery. There are also several assisted reproduction treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT). All these procedures involve harvesting a number of eggs in the hope of fertilizing at least one egg, and then insert the fertilized egg(s) into the uterus.
Infertility is a growing issue for many couples. It affects 6.1 million American couples (approximately 10% of American couples of childbearing age). (www.americanpregnancy.org)