By: Amy Divaraniya, PhD
If your journey towards motherhood has only just begun, you may not have thought about the fact that while it’s easy for some women to get pregnant, for many it can be quite difficult. We don’t talk about it all that often, even when it can take unexpected years or worse, be very expensive.
So why is it difficult to get pregnant?
This first one is pretty obvious - if you're in a long-distance relationship, getting pregnant can be difficult because you will need to organize your visits to match your ovulation schedule. We all know that’s not quite how life works. Adding to this challenge, current ovulation kits are not accurate enough to clearly indicate the right time to conceive*.
NOTE: Ovulation Kits can range from $10 - $200 and are used to measure your luteinizing hormone (LH), which surges prior to ovulation. While it can be accurate in measuring the hormone, many women can have a surge in LH without releasing an egg. And for women with PCOS it will be difficult to provide you with the information needed to get pregnant. *https://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/ovulation-kits/ OOVA is changing this game with a new product available this fall.
2) Male Factor
So much is on women when it comes to fertility that we often forget that men also can contribute to this challenge. Anything from a low sperm count to a reduced or blocked flow of your partner's swimmers, is known as the “male factor” making up 30-40% of infertility problems. According to Resolve.org, a recent study showed that only 41% of Ob/Gyn physicians even considered a urological evaluation of the male partner and only 24% would routinely refer men to the urologist before ordering a semen analysis.
According to the Office on Women’s Health, affecting more than 11% of American women between 15 and 44, endometriosis is especially common among women in their 30s and 40s, making it harder to get pregnant. To put it simply, it is a disorder of the reproductive system where cells from the uterine wall start growing where they are not supposed to. Cells growing outside the uterine cavity can block the egg from being released and meeting the sperm. It is not impossible to conceive if you have endometriosis, but you should talk to your doctor for recommended treatments.
4) Inconsistent Ovulation
Just like menstruation, ovulation can be inconsistent. It is is the single most common cause of infertility in women. Anything from excessive exercise to poor diet or hormonal imbalances can cause irregular ovulation. Some women may ovulate every month or completely without a schedule. Many women find themselves ovulating every month for a few months and then not again for four or five months, making it even more difficult to successfully conceive.
Many modern women choose career and financial independence before child rearing (rightly so). Unfortunately, biology is not very forgiving when it comes to making these difficult decisions. As a woman ages, her egg count decreases in quantity and quality. This can make conceiving harder from her mid-30s onwards. This is proving to be a major contributor to why infertility is becoming more common.
Don't give up!
While being on this journey to become a parent may seem daunting, don’t be discouraged. You are not alone. There are plenty of solutions available to overcome the barriers we’ve listed here and communities for added support including the OOVA community on Facebook. Join us!