Trying to get pregnant but fresh out of luck? You’re not alone. Up to 10% of couples have trouble conceiving in the first year and 5% do not succeed within the first two. But despite how common fertility issues are, few people really understand why they occur—or what to do about them.
For more than a decade now, I’ve been working as a urologist with a specialty in men’s health, helping countless men and women with everything from STI’s to hormone imbalances. But infertility is truly my specialty. I’ve carried out thousands of fertility tests, consulted couples from all walks of life and even earned myself the unofficial title expert “baby enabler” in Europe’s largest hospital.
I write about infertility extensively in my new book, Happy Down Below, but as a special to OptiMYz, I’m sharing some key pregnancy tips here, just for you:
Make sure you both get tested first
It may come as a surprise, but the causes of infertility are equally found in men and women. Typically; however, it is women who, in the absence of pregnancy, try to get to the bottom of the supposed infertility and visit their gynecologists. Regardless of whether you receive dependable information from your visit, a trip to an andrologist should also be obligatory: without a spermiogram, a woman’s diagnosis is only half the story.
Timing is key
Knowing when you are at your most fertile is important, but can often pose challenges. Your body is not a hormonal atomic clock permanently ticking the same beat and cycle variations of one to two weeks are not uncommon. This means that the fertile phase can also change. For a more reliable estimate, calculate from the end of your cycle and not from the beginning.
There is such a thing as too often…
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This age-old adage may hold true for many things, but not, it turns out, when it comes to getting pregnant. Why? Although ejaculation is, of course, a necessary part of conception, too many ejaculations over a short period of time can cause sperm production to overshoot.
…but not often enough can cause problems, too.
When ejaculation occurs only very infrequently, the quality of the ejaculate can suffer and the sperm produced will often be too old or too immobile for fertilization to take place. If you’re not sure how to find the right balance, try this simple rule of thumb: once every other day in the week leading up to ovulation.
Men: Avoid excess heat.
Sperm are surprisingly sensitive—and too much heat can kill them. If you and your partner are having difficulties getting pregnant, make sure he avoids taking any steaming baths and keeps visits to the sauna and hot tub to a minimum the next few months.
Check out your partner’s scrotum for thick veins above the left testicle
A varicocele—an abnormal enlargement of the network of testicular blood vessels in the scrotum—is a classic anatomical cause of male infertility. Varicoceles occur in up to 30% of men and can often be detected by touch. If you detect a soft squidgy mass above your partner’s testicles, usually to the left, it’s time to for him to see a urologist. Don’t worry, we don’t bite!
You can also check out some interesting pregnancy tips articles on Tiny Tribes where they have some great information!
Author: Dr. Oliver Gralla is the author of Happy Down Below, an informative and funny guide to men’s health. An acclaimed urologist and andrologist, he is known as “Dr. Sex” in his native Germany. He has contributed articles to Optimyz print and digital editions over the years.
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