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Search Search. Menu Sections. Becoming pregnant might seem easy for a lot of women, but for others it's not so simple. Everything from diet to niggling little health problems could be causing problems. But there are a of things you can look at to help boost your chances. Almost one-in-six couples experience problems with fertility - and age is one of the biggest factors. Here's how it works: Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, explains Dr Spyridon Chouliaras, consultant in reproductive medicine at the Create Fertility Clinic in London.
On the other hand, he says, men constantly produce sperm. Senior clinical embryologist Declan Keane, founder of the ReproMed Fertility Clinics puts it like this: "As the woman ages, her ovarian reserve, or the of her primordial egg follicles, is reducing ificantly year on year. It is estimated that after the age of After 44 the chance of conception is very slim. Assisted reproduction technology such as IVF can help older women to get pregnant, he says, but as the reserve of the eggs and their quality deteriorates, the success of IVF diminishes.
Get the best home, property and gardening stories straight to your inbox every Saturday. Enter address This field is required Up. Oocyte cryopreservation egg freezing is a technique which is now increasingly used by women who wish to preserve their fertility. Scientists believe that men's sperm deteriorate with age says Chouliaras, adding that fertility is affected for men once they are over the age of 40 - more so over 45, he explains.
Declan Keane explains: "We know from sperm DNA fragmentation research that as men age, the genetic quality of their sperm decreases.
Overall, autoimmune issues such as thyroid problems, Addison's Disease or pernicious anaemia, which target the endocrine system, affect the quality of the egg, the sperm and the hormonal environment in which the fertilisation process is taking place, resulting in problems with fertilisation, implantation and maintenance of pregnancy, says Dr David Walsh, medical director of the Sims Clinic. It is standard practice to investigate thyroid function in women experiencing difficulty in conceiving, because it is recognised that thyroid malfunction can affect female fertility. It is standard practise for clinicians to investigate thyroid function and supplement women with thyroxine where appropriate.
Equally, he says, an overactive thyroid could affect fertility by possibly affecting implantation. There is also an increasing belief that a malfunctioning of the thyroid gland can affect male fertility by altering the sperm parameters, says Chouliaras.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a common endocrine system disorder amongst women of child-bearing age. Women diagnosed with the condition may have enlarged ovaries which contain follicles, or small collections of fluid, located in each ovary. The exact cause of the condition is not known. Fibroids are growths in the muscle wall of the uterus which can affect the implantation of the embryo. They are more prevalent in certain ethnic populations, such as in women of African origin, explains Dr Spyridon Chouliaras.
However, he says that a woman may often experience no symptoms, although their presence may also be alled by heavy periods. In the majority of cases, explains Dr John Waterstone, fibroids are "innocent bystanders.
However, he says, if they are large and are distorting the uterine cavity they may be the reason why the woman is not getting pregnant. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is not a large cause of fertility problems in Ireland, says Dr John Waterstone, who explains that sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea are a cause of PID, as they can give rise to inflammation and infection in the fallopian tubes. In turn the tubes may become blocked or damaged and lead to problems with fertility.
However, he warns, the incidence of PID in Ireland is increasing in line with "more relaxed sexual behaviour amongst young people. Sometimes men who have had testicular cancer and received treatment in the form of chemotherapy or radiotherapy find that their fertility has been affected, explains Dr Waterstone. Some men will have frozen their sperm before receiving treatment as these therapies can destroy a man's ability to produce sperm.
In this case, he says, women may go down the route of using donor eggs because their own egg supply has been destroyed by the therapy. Endometriosis, explains Dr David Walsh, medical director of the Sims clinic in Dublin, is a disease of non-pregnant females. The condition can result, he explains, in a "backlog of fluid into the pelvis," which in turn can result in scarring and distortion, ultimately affecting the quality of the eggs.
What he does for a living can potentially impact on a man's fertility, say the experts. It's all to do with the temperature of the sperm and testicles, so if you spend much of your day in a sedentary position in a warm environment, it may have an impact on your fertility. This increases the scrotal temperature and can in turn affect the quality of the sperm," says Chouliaras. He explains that men seeking to start a family are also advised to avoid hot baths, saunas or steam baths for the same reason and should not sit with their laptops on their laps because of the heat generated by these devices.
According to Declan Keane: "The biochemistry of the sperm produced in the testicles is temperature sensitive. Therefore if you are in a sedentary position for a long period of time, the testes are pushed toward the core body temperature, which is higher than the temperature the testes should be.
However, he points out, there are many men in sedentary employment who have children, so this is just one possible causal agent and will be investigated as part of the package of investigation. And it can be remedied, he points out, adding that a sedentary life is also linked to being overweight, poor eating habits and lack of exercise. The nicotine in cigarettes induces increased secretory activity within the cells of the fallopian tubes, explains Declan Keane.
Smoking has been shown to decrease the blood flow to the uterus, which can cause restriction of the growth of the foetus. Smoking affects the genetic integrity of the sperm, with the many different chemicals having a negative effect when burned. Caffeine is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, explains Dr Chouliaras. He points out that, as epidemiological studies in infertility patients can be difficult to conduct and have many limitations - especially when trying to measure lifestyle factors - any interpretation of the should be very careful.
His advice, generally, to patients is moderation. This effect appears to be dose-related and only heavy caffeine consumption appears to be ificant. It showed that consumption by both partners of more than two cups of coffee a day may increase the chances of pregnancy loss. Remember, he warns - caffeine is not only found in tea and coffee but also in energy drinks, chocolate, cola Ever wanted to punch or irish amature womens some balls as well as cough syrups and many supplements that can be bought over the counter.
Caffeine can also affect male fertility - a US study in reported that two shots of espresso more than mg of caffeine can reduce a man's fertility. The study found that men who drank two more cups of strong coffee a day had a one-in-five chance of becoming fathers through IVF - whereas the chances for those who drank less than one cup a day was nearly 52pc. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston believe caffeine may harm sperm at a molecular level.
This he said, could help shed some light on why a couple or individual may be experiencing problems getting pregnant.
Endometriosis is a painful disorder that can take years to diagnosis - causing many to suffer a life of pain and debilitation and sometimes infertility. Some statistics suggest it afflicts about 10pc of women, most of which are diagnosed between 25 and 40 years. Unfortunately there is no cure and symptoms are traditionally treated with pain medication, hormone drugs or surgery.
As a dietitian it's incredibly frustrating how little attention is given to nutrition in the pursuit of fertility. Fertility and all our hormones are interlinked. Your diet can help improve metabolic and reproductive health. After all, food feeds not just you as a whole but every single system within the body. You need to provide each system with the appropriate food to ensure it's fuelled optimally. The ability to have children is something which many of us take for granted, until of course we are faced with fertility issues. This was certainly the case for Alison Reede 43who admits that she simply assumed that, aged 35, she would have a honeymoon baby just like her mother did before her.
Going to bed in your underwear could end up being responsible for a of health problems, experts have suggested. There are various steps couples can take to improve their chances of conceiving, such as tweaking their diet, practising gentle stress-busting exercise, and taking supplements.
People who say they have experienced "fireworks" in the bedroom may not be completely exaggerating. Close There are a of things you can look at to help boost your chances of conceiving. Facebook Twitter Whatsapp. Facebook Twitter. Fuelling fertility - the food tips to enhance your chances of conception.
Endometriosis: can your diet help? Health Features Wearing underwear in bed is terrible for your health, suggest Irish experts Going to bed in your underwear could end up being responsible for a of health problems, experts have suggested. Health Features I've tried the app that's 'as reliable' as the contraceptive pill - and I'm not pregnant yet I was 17 when I started taking the Pill.
Health Features How to balance hormones naturally There are various steps couples can take to improve their chances of conceiving, such as tweaking their diet, practising gentle stress-busting exercise, and taking supplements. And Finally Bedroom 'fireworks' discovery could help boost IVF process People who say they have experienced "fireworks" in the bedroom may not be completely exaggerating.
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