Why Am I Not Getting Pregnant?

7 Possible Reasons You Can't Conceive Besides Irregular Ovulation

Couple relaxing on a couch, wondering why they can't get pregnant
When you can't get pregnant, but otherwise feel healthy, it can be very frustrating. Infertility doesn't always come with obvious symptoms. Cavan Images/Iconica/Getty Images

So, you've been trying to get pregnant for awhile, but nothing is happening. You have regular periods and no obvious symptoms of a fertility or health problem. What could possibly be the issue?

While irregular ovulation is a common cause of infertility, the truth is that most causes of infertility are silent.

Here are 7 possible reasons you haven't conceived yet, despite having regular menstrual cycles.

You Haven't Been Trying for Long Enough

The first thing to consider is how long have you been trying

I know you feel like you've been trying forever -- and maybe you have! But it's important to know that many couples won't conceive right away. 

About 80% of couples conceive after six months of trying. Approximately 90% will be pregnant after 12 months of trying to get pregnant. (This assumes you're having well-timed intercourse every month.)

Doctors recommend that you see a doctor about your fertility if...

  • You're 35 years or older and have been trying for at least six months.
  • You're younger than 35 and have been trying for at least one year.

If either of these fit your situation, then see a doctor. Even if you have no symptoms of a fertility problem.

Age-Related Infertility Is Causing a Problem

For women after age 35, and for men after age 40, it can take longer to get pregnant.

Some women assume if they still get regular periods, their fertility is fine.

But this isn't true!

Age impacts egg quality as well as quantity. 

Also, if your partner is five or more years older than you are, this can further increase your risk of fertility problems after age 35.

The Problem Is With Him, Not You

Women may carry the baby, but it takes two to tango.

Twenty to thirty percent of infertile couples discover fertility factors on the man's side. Another 40% find infertility factors on both sides.

Another thing you need to know: male infertility rarely has symptoms that are observable without a semen analysis -- which is a test that measures the health of the semen and sperm.

When you do see the doctor, make sure you are both tested. 

Your Fallopian Tubes Are Blocked

Irregular ovulation accounts for 25% to 30% of female infertility cases. The rest can have problems with blocked fallopian tubes, uterine structural problems or endometriosis.

In case you don't know, the fallopian tubes are the pathway between your ovaries and the uterus. The fallopian tubes do not directly attach to the ovaries. 

Sperm must swim up from the cervix, through the uterus, and into the fallopian tubes. When an egg is released from the ovaries, hair-like projections from the fallopian tube draw the egg inside.

Conception takes place inside the fallopian tube, where the sperm and egg finally meet.

 

If anything prevents the fallopian tubes from working properly, or if scarring blocks the sperm or egg from meeting, you won't be able to get pregnant.

There are many possible causes of blocked fallopian tubes. While some women with blocked tubes experience pelvic pain, many others have no symptoms. 

Only fertility testing can determine if your tubes are open.

You Have Endometriosis

Endometriosis is when endometrium (which is the tissue that lines the uterus) grows in places outside of the uterus. It's estimated that up to 50% women with endometriosis will have difficulty getting pregnant. 

The most common symptoms of endometriosis include painful periods and pelvic pain at times besides menstruation. However, many women with endometriosis will have no obvious symptoms.

Endometriosis is commonly misdiagnosed or simply just missed. Endometriosis can't be diagnosed with a blood test or ultrasound. It requires diagnostic laparoscopic surgery

Because of this, proper diagnosis takes an average of 7.5 years.

Underlying Medical Problems

Underlying medical problems can lead to infertility in both men and women.

For example, problems with the thyroid or undiagnosed diabetes can lead to infertility. While it's not well understood, depression is associated with infertility

Some autoimmune diseases, like lupus or undiagnosed celiac disease, can cause infertility. 

Some prescribed medications impact fertility. Never stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first. Make sure both your doctor and your partner's doctor know you're trying to get pregnant. 

Also, an undiagnosed sexually transmitted illness can cause infertility. You may not have any symptoms of the illness.

Unexplained Infertility

Between 25% to 30% of infertile couples never find out why they can't get pregnant. 

Some doctors say this is a lack of good diagnosis. They say is no such thing as unexplained infertility but only undiscovered or undiagnosed problems.

The fact remains, though, that some couples don't get answers. 

What Should You Do if You Can't Get Pregnant?

You and your partner may seem to be in perfect health. 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.

For this reason, if you've been trying to conceive for one year (or six months if you're 35 years or older), please get help. 

Don't wait.

Some causes of infertility worsen with time.

The sooner you get help, the more likely fertility treatments will work for you.

More on getting pregnant with infertility:

Continue Reading