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Have you been TTC (trying to conceive) for more than twelve months? If you have, here are some important considerations for choosing the best way forward.

Have you been TTC (trying to conceive) for more than twelve months? If you have, here are some important considerations for choosing the best way forward.Many couples intending to conceive a child find the process very frustrating because they assumed it would just naturally happen if they did not use contraception. Even among couples who do not have any fertility issues:

  • Only 25 per cent get pregnant during the female partner's first menstrual cycle while they are trying to conceive.
  • About 60 per cent get pregnant within six months of trying to conceive.
  • About 75 per cent get pregnant within twelve months of trying to conceive.
  • And nearly 90 per cent get pregnant within eighteen months of trying to conceive.

This means that just because you don't get pregnant right away, you shouldn't assume you have a fertility problem. But it also means that if one or both partners in the relationship has issues with infertility, you may not know for a very long time--especially since doctors seldom examine couples for infertility unless they

(1) have been trying to conceive for twelve months and are both under the age of 35 or

(2) have been trying to conceive for six months and one or both partners is 35 or older.

So what should you be doing in the meantime?

The single most important thing couples who are trying to conceive can do, if they don't get pregnant right away, is to time intercourse for maximum fertility. The male partner's sperm can only survive in the female partner's body for about 3 days. The egg released approximately at the midpoint of the menstrual cycle is only viable about 3 days if it is not fertilized by a sperm. This means that the couple needs to have intercourse a day or so before ovulation up to a day or so afterwards.

The man's part is straightforward. He needs to avoid ejaculation for 1 to 4 days before having sexual intercourse for purposes of conception. Both the volume of semen and sperm count will be greater.

The woman's part is not so straightforward. Even if she has regular, 28-day menstrual periods, ovulation may occur a little earlier or a little later than expected. It's important to keep a calendar of menstrual periods to confirm that they are regular, to use an online ovulation calendar, and also to measure fertility by taking basal body temperature or by using fertility monitoring, such as the ClearBlue system.

When the couple has intercourse to conceive a child, the missionary position is best. This position forces semen further into the cervix, giving the sperm a shorter path to fertilize the egg. It's important not to celebrate with a bottle of champagne, because not only is the alcohol detrimental to the embryo, the uterus may be affected in ways that prevent the egg from ever implanting if the prospective mother drinks heavily.

Trying to conceive for just twelve months is sometimes a matter of just playing the odds. But if you are trying to conceive for more than twelve months, consider seeking professional, medical advice. In the meantime, take full advantage of every method of increasing fertility naturally.

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