There are many possible explanations for why it’s taking so long for you to get pregnant. The first step is proper diagnosis you so you can take action. These are some of the most common causes of infertility:
Poor Egg Quality
As women age, the quality of their eggs decline. They become damaged or develop chromosomal abnormalities that make them unable to sustain a pregnancy. It feels a little silly to describe a 36 year-old woman as of “advanced maternal age,” but when it comes to her reproductive age, it’s unfortunately quite apt. Getting pregnant in your late 30s or early 40s is definitely possible, but it may take longer. The best way to speed things up? Be a hawk about timing intercourse.
Symptoms: difficulty conceiving, or miscarrying.
Solutions: special efforts to properly time intercourse, egg or embryo donation, surrogacy, or adoption.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone imbalance that disrupts ovulation. It’s one of the most common endocrine disorders in women of reproductive age—about one in 10 women have it. Since women with PCOS may not ovulate regularly, they often have trouble conceiving.
Symptoms: irregular periods, acne, excessive hair growth, weight gain
Solutions: Lifestyle and diet changes if overweight, ovulation-inducing drugs, gonadotropins, and IVF.
Hypothalamic amenorrhea is a condition where your period stops due to increased stress—most often, from a combination of over-exercising and under-fueling.
Symptoms: absent periods, weight loss, bone loss or stress fractures
Solutions: remove factors causing physiological stress: take a break from exercise and gain weight. If these measures are not effective, ovulation-inducing drugs, gonadotropins, and IVF can help, but they are usually more successful when lifestyle changes are already under way.
Endometriosis is a condition where the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus. It can cause tubal blockages and disrupt ovulation.1
Symptoms: painful periods, pain during sex, chronic pelvic pain, and pain when pooping! Sometimes there are no other symptoms besides an inability to get pregnant.
Solutions: laparoscopic surgery to remove excess tissue. For mild endometriosis, fertility drugs with IUI can be effective. For more severe cases, IVF is often used.
- American Pregnancy Association. (2015 August). “Endometriosis.” Retrieved November 12, 2015, from http://americanpregnancy.org/womens-health/endometriosis/ ↩