For some people, conceiving a child is as simple as going off birth control, and “just seeing what happens.” There are people who get pregnant within one or two cycles. For others, it takes longer and can be stressful and confusing. Once several cycles have come and gone, the couple may be feeling discouraged and frustrated, like something might be wrong with one or both of them.
There are several factors in the process of procreation, and it may be helpful to examine them so that a person can be realistic about his or her timeline for conception. Some factors can be changed or altered; other factors are unalterable.
Age: This is one of the main factors when it comes to a couple’s ability to conceive. Men’s fertility remains fairly stable from puberty until they die, but women have a fertile window over the course of their lives. They are very fertile in their late teens and twenties. A woman’s fertility declines significantly when she hits 30 years old, and declines again at 35. At 40 years old, the odds are against a woman being able to conceive, and it is almost impossible by 45. The general advice is that the best window for a woman to conceive is between 25 and 35 years old—during that time, her life and career are relatively stable and her body is still fertile and strong, and she has the emotional and physical energy for raising small children. If you are outside that window, you may still be able to conceive a child, but it might be helpful for you to accept the reality of where you are in your life.
Weight: If either partner is over- or underweight, the couple’s fertility may be reduced. It is important that both people keep their weight at a healthy level in order to produce healthy sex cells (sperm and egg) and to maintain healthy hormone balance.
Diet: You can change this factor the most easily. Both partners would do best to eat a diet rich in high-quality fats and proteins. Make sure to focus on unprocessed whole foods. If possible, try to find foods that are either flash-frozen, or that are local, as these will have the highest concentration of quality nutrients.
Health: Both partners’ fertility levels benefit from overall good health. Exercise, diet, and mental and emotional well-being are all helpful in order to create the ideal opportunity for procreation. Make sure you exercise every day; even a walk around the block can be immensely helpful to your physical well-being. Your body will likely only be fertile when your body is healthy; we as humans have evolved to only be able to procreate when we are not in danger. If your body is stressed or in poor health, your fertility will suffer.
It is helpful to start trying to conceive knowing your odds of success so you can be realistic with your expectations. That said, the best advice is to keep yourself as healthy as you can in order to have the best success in conceiving.