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Why Can't I Get Pregnant if I Have Regular Periods and Live a Healthy Lifestyle?

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Updated May 16, 2014

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Question: Why Can't I Get Pregnant if I Have Regular Periods and Live a Healthy Lifestyle?

A reader asks, "Why can't I get pregnant? I have regular periods, my husband and I have sex at the right time every month. We are healthy, and we eat right. We're not overweight. Why am I having trouble getting pregnant?"

Answer:

When you can't get pregnant, and things look good from the outside, it can be extremely frustrating.

The first thing to consider is how long have you been trying. About 80% of couples will get pregnant after six months of trying, and about 90% will be pregnant after 12 months of trying to get pregnant. (And that's with well-timed intercourse each and every month.)

If you haven't been trying for at least six months, or you haven't been timing sex for ovulation, then you should keep on trying.

If you have been trying for six months to a year, and you're still not pregnant, something may be wrong. Having regular menstrual cycles doesn't mean you're in the clear. There are many possible reasons for infertility.

Age

For women after age 35, and for men after age 40, it can take longer to get pregnant. Female age can affect not only the frequency of ovulation, but also the quality. You may be ovulating each month, but the eggs and your hormones could be less than ideal for fertilization.

Male Infertility

Women may carry the baby, but it takes two to tango. Twenty to thirty percent of infertile couples discover infertility factors on the man's side, and another 40% find infertility factors on both sides. Also, male infertility rarely has symptoms that are observable without a semen analysis.

Blocked Fallopian Tubes, Endometriosis or Structural Problems

Irregular ovulation accounts for 25% to 30% of female infertility cases. The other half can have problems with blocked fallopian tubes, uterine structural problems or endometriosis. You could have regular periods and never show any signs of symptoms of problems, but that doesn't guarantee fertility.

Underlying Medical Problems

An underlying medical problem can lead to infertility in both men and women. For example, problems with the thyroid or undiagnosed diabetes can all lead to infertility. An undiagnosed STD may also be the cause for infertility.

Unexplained Infertility

For 25% to 30% of infertile couples, the reason behind the infertility is never found. Some doctors say this is a lack of good diagnosis, and there is no such thing as "unexplained infertility" - there is only undiscovered or undiagnosed problems.

The fact remains, though, that some infertile couples never find out why they can't get pregnant on their own.

The Bottom Line

You and your partner may seem to be in perfect health - and you may have a textbook 28-day menstrual cycle - but that doesn't mean you're guaranteed perfect results when trying to get pregnant. The reasons for infertility aren't always observable to the lay person.

While some couples will have signs and symptoms that hint to fertility problems, many couples won't know anything is wrong until after they have tried unsuccessfully for a year.

More on getting pregnant with infertility:

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