Parenting Lesson 2 - Difficulty in conceiving

Topics covered in this learning session

  1. Female fertility and how to improve it?

  2. Male Fertility: Sperm count and motility

  3. Food and Diet to conceive a baby

  4. IVF process for conceiving

Female fertility and how to improve it?

Female fertility is a woman's ability to conceive a biological child. There are two way female fertility can be affected-

1. Ovary production in body is not happening

2. Ovaries’ quality is not good enough to result in a pregnancy

What causes female fertility problems?

Various medical issues can contribute to female fertility problems, including:

Ovulation disorders, which affect the release of eggs from the ovaries. These include hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome, hyperprolactinemia and thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism).

Uterine or cervical abnormalities, such as polyps or fibroids in the uterus.

Fallopian tube damage or blockage, which is often caused by pelvic inflammatory disease.

Endometriosis, which occurs when tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus.

Primary ovarian insufficiency (early menopause), which occurs when the ovaries stop working and menstruation ends before age 40.

Pelvic adhesions — bands of scar tissue that bind organs after pelvic infection, appendicitis, or abdominal or pelvic surgery.

Medical conditions associated with the absence of menstruation, such as poorly controlled diabetes, celiac disease and some autoimmune diseases such as lupus.

Age also plays a role. Delaying pregnancy can decrease the likelihood that you'll be able to conceive. A decline in the quantity and quality of your eggs with age makes it harder to conceive.

What can I do to promote female fertility?

Healthy lifestyle choices can help you promote fertility. Take steps to:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or significantly underweight can inhibit normal ovulation.

  2. Prevent sexually transmitted infections. Infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are a leading cause of infertility for women.

  3. Avoid the night shift, if possible. Regularly working the night shift might put you at higher risk of infertility, possibly by affecting hormone production. If you do work the night shift, try to get enough sleep when you're not working.

  4. While stress won't keep you from getting pregnant, consider minimizing stress and practicing healthy coping methods — such as relaxation techniques — when you're trying to conceive.

What's off-limits?

Healthy lifestyle choices count here, too. To protect your fertility:

  1. Don't smoke. Tobacco use is associated with lower fertility. Smoking ages your ovaries and depletes your eggs prematurely. If you smoke, ask your health care provider to help you quit.

  2. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk of ovulation disorders. If you'd like to get pregnant, consider avoiding alcohol completely. Abstinence at conception and during pregnancy is generally recommended because a safe level of fetal alcohol consumption hasn't been established.

  3. Curb caffeine. Female fertility doesn't seem to be affected by caffeine intake below 200 milligrams a day. Consider limiting your caffeine intake to one or two 6- to 8-ounce cups of coffee a day.

  4. Be wary of over exercise. Too much vigorous physical activity can inhibit ovulation and reduce production of the hormone progesterone. If you have a healthy weight and you're thinking of becoming pregnant soon, consider limiting vigorous physical activity to less than five hours a week.

  5. Avoid exposure to toxins. Environmental pollutants and toxins — such as pesticides, dry-cleaning solvents and lead — can adversely affect fertility.

Male Fertility: Sperm count and motility and Ways to improve sperm count in males.

Male fertility is measured on two aspects

1. Quantity of sperms in male semen

2. Quality of those sperms and their ability to fertilize a female egg (ovary)

Sperm count can be important if you’re trying to conceive. An abnormal sperm count may also indicate an underlying health condition.

A normal sperm count ranges from 15 million sperm to more than 200 million sperm per milliliter (mL) of semen. Anything less than 15 million sperm per milliliter, or 39 million sperm per ejaculate, is considered low.

Low sperm count may be caused by a number of factors, including:

● Genetics

● Past surgeries

● General health

● Sexually transmitted diseases

Your doctor can assess your sperm count and recommend treatment. If you’re trying to conceive naturally, a healthy sperm count is often necessary. Even though it only takes one sperm and one egg to get pregnant, healthier sperm will increase your chances of pregnancy each month.

Sperm motility is the ability of sperm to move efficiently. This is important in fertility because sperm need to move through the woman's reproductive tract to reach and fertilize her egg. Poor sperm motility can be a cause of male factor infertility.

Common causes of low motility may include:

● Infection

● Testicular cancer

● Testicular surgery

● Injury

There are many ways to Improve Sperm Count naturally and some of them are,

• Exercising

• Taking vitamin supplements

• Stop smoking

• Avoid alcohol

• Maintain a healthy weight

• Manage stress

• Avoid wearing tight clothes (use boxers instead of briefs)

• Avoid exposure to pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxins

• Reduce heat exposure to your testicles

Food and Diet to conceive a baby

You don’t have to wait until you’re pregnant to start eating well. In fact, following a healthy diet before you conceive can help boost your fertility, lower the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida and even reduce your chances of developing preeclampsia during pregnancy.

In general there is no special diet to help you conceive a baby, you need to eat healthy to get all essential nutrients in your body. Below are some tips to keep in mind when you want to eat healthy to get pregnant.

• Eat more fruits and veggies

• Limit your sugar intake

• Don’t skip meals

• Cut back on caffeine

• Don’t smoke and limit alcohol

• Eat hygienic and avoid any contaminant

• Take a folic acid supplement (400mcg to 600mcg per day)

• Take more protein, fibre, iron, calcium if your regular diet is deficient in those nutrients

IVF process for conceiving.

Couples who cannot conceive naturally are often suggested to go for a medical process called IVF or In vitro fertilization, which literally means fertilization in a lab.

IVF is a complex series of procedures used to help with fertility or prevent genetic problems and assist with the conception of a child.

During IVF, mature eggs are collected from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Then the fertilized egg or eggs are transferred to a uterus. One full cycle of IVF takes about three weeks. Sometimes these steps are split into different parts and the process can take longer.

IVF is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology. The procedure can be done using your own eggs and your partner's sperm. Or IVF may involve eggs, sperm, or embryos from a known or anonymous donor.

IVF is offered as a primary treatment for infertility in women over age 40. It can also be done if you have certain health conditions. For example, IVF may be an option if you or your partner has:

● Fallopian tube damage or blockage

● Ovulation disorders

● Endometriosis

● Uterine fibroids

● Previous tubal sterilization or removal

● Impaired sperm production or function

● Unexplained infertility

● A genetic disorder

● Fertility preservation for cancer or other health conditions

● Women who don't have a functional uterus or for whom pregnancy poses a serious health risk

Your chances of having a healthy baby using IVF depend on many factors, such as your age and the cause of infertility.

Very often more than one embryo is transferred to your uterus, IVF can result in a pregnancy with more than one fetus or multiple pregnancies. Your doctor can help you understand how IVF works, the potential risks, and whether this method of treating infertility is right for you.

IVF is an expensive and time consuming process, with failures happening during the process. You should always study carefully all options for IVF facility selection.