Why Cant I Get Pregnant? / Infertility Overview
The human reproductive system involves extremely complex processes. A basic understanding of this may be of assistance in understanding the answer to a common question: “Why cant I get pregnant?”
Testosterone stimulates production of quality sperm within the testes. An adequate erection and ejaculation are necessary to deliver sperm to the egg in order for penetration and conception to occur.
Fertilization also depends upon the sound structural integrity of the delivery systems in both the male and female partners. If there are any blockages within the sperm ducts or the fallopian tubes, chances of becoming pregnant are reduced.
WHY cant I Get Pregnant?? Really??
In 85% of couples wanting so badly to become pregnant, conception occurs within twelve months of having frequent, unprotected sex. About half of the remaining 15% conceive within 36 months. During that time of infertility, however, they may find themselves asking, “Why cant I get pregnant?”
Infertility is the result of just one misstep in this process. Studies show that in approximately 20% of infertile couples, the issue is with the male partner. In about 35%, the problem is shared by both partners. In about 45%, the woman has an infertility issue. Sometimes the reason for infertility remains undetermined.
Frequency of sexual intercourse during the woman’s highest period of fertility (ovulation) obviously increases the possibility of conception. The egg is viable for about 24 hours and sperm is viable for about 72 hours. This means there is a fertility window of five to seven days about 12 days into the woman’s menstruation cycle.
At this point, the term frequent sex needs to be defined. For purposes of becoming pregnant, daily coital contact is not recommended. Sperm count can be less than adequate for fertilization if ejaculation occurs daily. It is recommended that couples have unprotected sex every other day when conception is the goal. Conversely, having sex too infrequently (at intervals of 10 to 14 days) lowers sperm count. Use of lubricants should also be avoided for couples who are attempting to become pregnant as many contain spermicides. Even Vaseline is considered “unfriendly” to sperm.
Lifestyle Choices May Determine Why You Cant Get Pregnant
It is important to consider some lifestyle choices that may impair a couple’s fertility. General good health always contributes to the ability to conceive. Smoking, excessive alcohol use, drug use (especially marijuana in men) and possibly heavy caffeine intake in women may factor into infertility.
Men should avoid excessive heat to the scrotal area. This includes wearing tight clothing (bicycle pants, for instance) and hot tubs or saunas. The testicles are located outside the abdominal cavity specifically to decrease the temperature of the area which promotes the production of healthy sperm. So, if the male partner is exposed to higher temperatures on a regular basis, sperm count may decrease. Men should also avoid steroid use in order to maintain a normal sperm count.
When attempting to answer the question, “why cant I get pregnant?” couples should consider certain medications which can decrease fertility too. Some antibiotics and ulcer medications lessen fertility.
Always check with your physician or pharmacist to determine which supplements or prescription medications may lessen fertility.
Although there are usually no symptoms when infertility is present, there are certain circumstances under which one or both partners should see a physician. The starting point for medical care is usually a primary care physician, but a woman may wish to be examined by a gynecologist and a man may wish to see a urologist. If another specialist is necessary, the treating physician will usually be happy to refer.
If the female partner is over 30 years old and has failed to menstruate for six months or more, she should see a doctor as this indicates a hormonal imbalance and probable lack of ovulation. If she experienced painful periods, pelvic pain, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or there is a history of repeated miscarriages medical attention is indicated.
If the male partner has a history of testicular inflammation, prostate symptoms, urinary tract infections, or sexual dysfunction medical attention is needed. Premature ejaculation and other sexual dysfunction should be disclosed to the physician. Diminishing or complete absence of facial and/or body hair in males may indicate a testosterone deficiency. Having had the viral infection, mumps, after the onset of puberty can impair sperm production and should be investigated.
A history of sexually transmitted disease (STD) in either partner may indicate scar tissue and blockage of sperm ducts or fallopian tubes. Other tests will be preformed by the specialist to identify latent disease and/or treatment options for those already confirmed.