What are my chances of conception and pregnancy?
This article has been contributed by Dr Parijat Bhattacharjee for IVF London – a specialist fertility clinic based in Elstree, London.
If you are wondering what your chances of pregnancy are, do remember that conception is a unique process for each person. It is important not to compare yourself to other couples because each individual is different when it comes to fertility.
Time to conceive – each and every couple is different
The average chance of a couple conceiving naturally in each cycle is about 1 in 6 (15%). It can vary from 1 in 20 (5%) in relatively infertile couples to 1 in 3 (33%) in very fertile couples. Whilst each person is unique, there are couple of key factors and fertility issues to consider which we will be covering in this blog post.
Irregular periods can be caused by several factors
A woman having regular monthly periods is almost certainly ovulating. This means she is producing and releasing eggs. Therefore she should be able to get pregnant. If the periods are very irregular, it may be due to several factors. These range from emotional or physical stress to excessive weight loss. Weight loss can cause a disturbance of hormones from the hypothalamus gland (a gland deep inside the brain that is the prime controller of most other hormones) which can have a knock on effect.
Infrequent periods can be due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
If the periods become infrequent, particularly associated with a gain in weight, it is likely to be due to PCOS. This is primarily a condition that is associated with insulin resistance (as found in Type 2 diabetes), leading to increased insulin. This in turn leads to a hormonal imbalance. The treatment recommended is usually weight loss, followed by stimulation of the ovaries. If you are concerned that you may have PCOS, please do get in touch with your doctor.
Timing of intercourse during ovulation is important
Correct timing of intercourse during ovulation can give a couple the best chance of conception. For a woman having regular periods, ovulation generally occurs 14 days before the next expected period. Ovulation kits are used by many couples but the success rates of these vary, they can be costly and cause more stress! Generally speaking, intercourse every 2-3 days gives the best chances of conception. Frequent intercourse does not decrease the sperm count or quality of semen.
If you have been trying to get pregnant for over a year or are aware of any risk factors, we recommend getting in touch with an expert. Remember, there are a range of fertility tests and treatments available.