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Fertility Q&A

Fertility Q&A

Fertility Q&A

Dr Vicky O'Dwyer recently did a Q&A with the followers from Thought Tots and Tea and there were some really interesting questions about fertility that we wanted to share with you.

What's a normal period or cycle?

A normal cycle is regular and usually 28 days but may be anything from 21 to 35 days. If you are looking to get pregnant and time sex you will ovulate 14 days before your period is due so day 14 of a 28-day cycle (+ or - 3 days either side) or day 21 of a 35-day cycle (again + or - 3 days either side).

Irregular periods are they an indicator of one’s fertility?

Irregular periods are those that are not the same each month so for example 21 days one month 35 another or even longer between periods. If you have long cycles, more than 35 days, it is more likely that you are not ovulating and this can be a cause of infertility. The commonest cause of infertility among young women is polycystic ovarian syndrome but there are many other causes.

Age the ever looming query! 35 was the magic number being peppered about when I went through fertility treatment? What is the magic number or is there one in relation to fertility?

Ideally you should have your first baby in your 20s but the average age of a first time mother in Ireland is now 32. Miscarriage risk increases with age as does the risk of genetic/ chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome. So yes 35 is an important number. Fertility also declines after 35 and rapidly after 40 with spontaneous conception and IVF less successful after the age of 42.

How long should we try to get pregnant for before seeking a professional opinion?

Most people are recommended to try to conceive for 2 years prior to seeking medical advice. However, if you are approaching 40, have endometriosis or you or your partner have medical issues it might be worth seeking medical advice after 1 year of trying to conceive. Remember that trying to conceive involves regular sexual intercourse at the right time of the month.

Should I invest in an ovulation fertility calculator?

There is no evidence that this is beneficial but it’s totally a personal choice.

I'm ready to start trying for my second child. Because I conceived easily the first time and had a healthy pregnancy, should I be worried about conceiving again?

Don’t be worried; you should be fine.

Do infertility and miscarriage go hand inhand?

No they are completely different issues. See my article on Miscarriages on my Stork Column. 

I had an std when I was in my twenties does this effect my fertility?

Yes, it can cause infertility. It can also increase your risk of ectopic pregnancy) where the pregnancy is located in the fallopian tube rather than in the uterus). Certain infections like chlamydia or gonorrhoea may scar your fallopian tubes but many women who have had a std will conceive and have no pregnancy problems.

I am on the pill and want to come off to start trying for a baby, when am I most fertile after coming off the pill?

The pill works by stopping ovulation. You should start to ovulate the month after you stop the pill however some women may not ovulate for a few months after stopping it. Start trying immediately.

Coming off contraception to start trying, is it the same approach for pill, coil, bar etc.?

No the coil works by blocking implantation in the womb and keep the lining of the womb thin due to progesterone. The implanon (bar) and depoprovera injection also keep the lining of the womb thin and change the cervical mucus to stop you getting pregnant. The combined oral contraceptive pill stops ovulation. You can start it may take ovulation to come back

Does having a baby cure my pcos? (It absolutely amazed me how many family/friends thought I was "fixed" pcos gone because I had a baby in fact my eggs were back in pcos  line up by week six of the pregnancy)

No it will not cure your PCOS.

Does my mother or sisters fertility have any bearing on mine, they all conceived easily, so should I right?

Your family’s history does not determine yours so you may not have the same as your sister or mother.

I got pregnant quiet quickly but sadly had a miscarriage, does this make conceiving now more difficult? Am I prone to miscarriage?

See my article on Miscarriages 

When having fertility treatment why are your chances of twins increased?

Most centres in Ireland recommend single embryo transfer. Your risk of multiple pregnancy will increase if you have more than one embryo put back.

I have had cysts and/or fibroids removed from my ovaries and/or womb howdoes that effect my fertility?

Ovarian cysts should not affect your fertility even if you have had them removed. If you had part of your ovary removed this may reduce your fertility. Depending on where the fibroids were on the womb removing them may improve your fertility. However, they have implications for the type of delivery you will have. If you had open surgery and fibroids removed, you may be told that you will need a caesarean section.

I'm going to see a doctor in a fertility clinic? My husband doesn't really need to come does he?

Yes 100% he does need to attend.

How much does my husband fertility or health really effect or chances?

1/3 of infertility is due to male factor problems

Does diet and lifestyle effect my fertility? 

Yes, a healthy lifestyle and diet will help fertility. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol.

We want to start trying to get pregnant what's the best way to approach "trying"?

See my article on Top 10 tips for getting pregnant on our website


For all Vicky's articles related to Fertility, Pregnancy, Labour and Post Natal Care visit her Pregnancy Unboxed Advice Column on The Stork For any other questions please send us a message HERE