Seems like something we should all know as we’re doing treatment, right? But it isn’t as easy as it seems because several factors affect our ability to conceive. Many patients of mine have a “gut feeling” about what is going on with them and they are usually right.
It isn’t uncommon for couples to come see me after several treatment cycles with their ObGyn doctors and not really understand what factors are affecting their ability to conceive. If this sounds like it could be you, this is what you should do:
Make an appointment with your fertility specialist and simply ask: Please explain to me what factors are affecting my ability to conceive.
I wish all patients took the time to do this with their doctors. Knowledge is power. If you understand the factors that could be playing a role, then you can then take that information and do what you can at home to increase your chances and be well-informed about choosing the best treatment plan for yourself.
Consider the following factors:
1. If you’re a woman over the age of 35 your egg quality may be a factor. Egg quality is something that changes over time. Women under 35 may also have an issue with the quality of their eggs so make sure your egg quality has been evaluated.
2. Sperm: It’s not just about having moving sperm and lots of them. The problem with testing sperm is that all we can do is look at them under a microscope and tell patients information like the sperm count and motility. We can’t necessarily tell for sure what the fertilization potential of a sperm cell is. The morphology (sperm shape) can give us that info. Talk to your doctor about what things you can do to improve your sperm quality.
3. Timing: Is timing possibly a factor? Talk to your doctor about her best recommendations for you and what you can do to make sure you are optimizing the timing of your ovulation with your insemination or intercourse.
As you’re going through treatment your doctor will learn more about your body. Talk to your doctor after each treatment. Sit down with your doctor and ask the most important question: Now that you’ve seen how my body has responded, what do you think is our fertility diagnosis?
As always, I hope this helps.