For many couples trying to get pregnant, the reality of infertility can cause a significant amount of frustration. If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that nearly 7 million women in the United States are struggling to get pregnant.
Most couples achieve pregnancy within a year of trying. When that doesn’t happen, there’s usually a fertility problem hampering pregnancy efforts. Hormonal imbalances and problems with the reproductive system can interfere with ovulation and conception.
Dr. Sepilian can perform a fertility evaluation to find out what’s preventing you from conceiving and to discuss your next steps. He shares this list of some common causes of infertility.
Diminished ovarian reserve
Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have and ovulate the most fertile eggs first. Your ovarian reserve is comprised of the eggs you have left. Some women have fewer eggs than what can be expected for their age. Factors like autoimmune conditions, genetics, and even smoking can reduce your available eggs. Having fewer eggs is a common cause of infertility, as it results in a narrow window for getting pregnant. If you’re found to have diminished ovarian reserve, Dr. Sepilian can discuss your treatment options.
Excess body weight
Carrying excess weight isn’t just about how you look in the mirror. Women who are overweight or obese may take longer to become pregnant than women with healthy body weights. Body fat is more than inactive storage tissue. It’s an active substance, and new evidence shows it behaves much like your other organs. Too much body fat can affect fertility by:
- Interfering with reproductive hormones
- Causing hormonal imbalance
- Triggering irregular menses
- Interfering with ovulation
- Reducing testosterone in men
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Hormone imbalances like that seen in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can make it more difficult to get pregnant. Women with PCOS have ovaries that produce excess male hormones (androgens). This can leave you with irregular periods and other symptoms, such as weight gain, insulin resistance, and excess body hair. These issues result in high infertility rates in women with PCOS. Treatment to reduce androgen levels improves your chances of becoming pregnant.
Around 5 million women are living with endometriosis, a condition where the tissue that lines the inside of your uterus grows on the outside. Having endometriosis impairs fertility. However, most women who have mild endometriosis can conceive on their own with additional time or with treatment. Sometimes, however, the fallopian tubes become blocked, preventing pregnancy from occurring.
Poor egg health
Age is the most important factor that influences fertility. Because women are born with a fixed number of eggs and ovulate their most fertile eggs first, fertility declines when women reach their 30s. Fertility declines even further by age 40. This makes it more difficult to become pregnant as your age and the downward slope of fertility increase together. Treatment options are available for women with age-related infertility.
Serving the Los Angeles area, Dr. Sepilian works with patients to diagnose and treat fertility issues. If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, schedule an appointment. Call one of our two convenient locations in Glendale or Santa Monica or use our online booking form.