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Where to begin with fertility

Your situation is unique. Gundersen Fertility Services will create a personalized plan for you and your partner if you are trying to get pregnant or if your situation requires our specialists' help.

Lifestyle choices can impact fertility. Age is another important factor. A woman's fertility begins to decrease after age 30. A more drastic decline occurs between ages 35 and 40. After age 40, getting pregnant is challenging, with or without assistance. Men's fertility also decreases as they get older, but not as much. 

Simple things you can try to help improve your chances of getting pregnant:

When to conceive

Ovulation is about two weeks before the next period. Fertile time is several days before ovulation and the day of ovulation. If a woman notices a clear, egg-white discharge, it indicates the fertile time. Most lubricants are sperm-toxic and should be avoided.

Some methods help a woman understand her body better and determine the signs that indicate it is a fertile time. They include:

  • Basal Body Temperature: Temperature when you're at rest; Ovulation may cause a slight increase in basal body temperature.
  • Ovulation Calendar: Tracking your menstrual cycle can tell you when you're most likely to be fertile.

Lifestyle changes

  • Eat a healthy diet with protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
  • Keep a healthy weight. Underweight or overweight women can have trouble conceiving. Overweight men could have lower sperm counts.
  • Exercise in moderation. For example, marathon-level training inhibits ovulation for women, even if they are not underweight. Certain bike seats can cause temporary fertility problems for men who are avid bicyclists.
  • Drink in moderation. For men, that means 0-1 drink daily. Significant daily drinking can lower testosterone and affect sperm production, among other things. Women should only drink occasionally, at least after ovulation. The biggest concern is the effects on the fetus.
  • Avoid tobacco use. It affects the fertility in both partners. For women, it can also slow the time to conception, increase miscarriage rates and is associated with earlier menopause.
  • Drink caffeinated beverages in moderation. Women should drink less than two caffeinated beverages a day. Men can drink a little more, but more than six caffeinated beverages daily can have health effects.
  • Avoid very hot baths or saunas. Very hot working conditions can also affect fertility.
  • Boxers or briefs? Your choice... it doesn't matter.
  • Try not to stress about getting pregnant. Find a healthy way to deal with stress such as couple time or time for yourself.

Prescription and over-the-counter medications

Talk to your primary care provider if you are taking a prescription or over-the-counter medication and are thinking about starting a family. Some medications can affect fertility and some may even be harmful to the baby.

Some supplements and herbal remedies can also affect fertility. Your provider can help determine which supplements and remedies can be harmful. These supplements are recommended:

  • A multivitamin with minerals for men. B vitamins, vitamins C and E, copper and zinc are all involved with sperm production.
  • A multivitamin that contains folic acid for women. Prenatal vitamins are fine, but not necessary.

Emotional support

Trying to get pregnant and infertility can be emotional and have an impact on your time, your relationships, your finances and your emotions. We are committed to offering you the support and resources you may need to cope with these challenges.

Gundersen Behavioral Health has a professional team that specializes in women's health and are available for comprehensive assessment and treatment of a variety of mental health issues specific to women, including infertility.

Some of your feelings may include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Helpless
  • A sense of loss
  • Fearful and ashamed
  • Resentful and jealous
  • Alone
  • Preoccupied
  • Frustrated
  • Hopeless

These feelings can lead to:

  • Strained relationships with your partner, family or friends
  • Difficulties at work
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of interest in your regular activities
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Difficulty making decisions

If you've tried these recommendations without success, you may benefit from a personalized fertility evaluation.

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