Fertility: What you need to know about getting pregnant if you’ve been putting off having a baby – Metro

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Do you remember that New Girls episode where Jess and Cece were shocked to find out how much their fertility decreases after 30?

Or on Rachel Greens 30th birthday in Friends, Jennifer Anistons character figures out that, to have a baby by 35, she needed to have met her future husband already according to her life plan?

Although both episodes aired years ago, their themes are just as relevant today.

Increasingly, women have been putting off childbirth until they are older, with the number of those becoming mums aged 35 and over continuing to rise.

But Mr Narendra Pisal, consultant gynaecologist at London Gynaecology, feels a lot of people may be unaware of how soon a womans fertility begins to decrease.

According to him, by just 35, a womans fertility starts to decline quite rapidly.

It seems scarily young when you consider that most of us would probably hope to be financially secure and in a happy relationship before having kids.

And dont forget dreams of travelling, a decent career, home-ownership things that get difficult, but not impossible, when you begin popping out babies.

He said: Women (and men) are taking longer to settle down in a long-term relationship.

Career has become more of a focus for women too.

Getting other priorities sorted, such as house and financial security, means that women are delaying having children.

Another reason is not being aware of the effect of age on ovarian function and fertility.

Many women are unaware that fertility starts declining after 35 quite rapidly and by 42 years of age, the chances of getting pregnant are much less.

However, this is not the same for all women and some may see a decline even before this age.

At the same time, risk of complications, such as miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities, also increases along with complex and high-risk pregnancy and delivery.

Ruth, 41, has been trying for baby number two for two years after a struggle to conceive her first daughter, who has just turned three.

She didnt meet her now husband until she was in her 30s but said she is happy to have waited instead of having a baby in an unstable relationship.

The mother of one said: We had been together 18 months before we decided we were not getting any younger so lets give it a go.

It took two years to get pregnant.

We went through all the checks after a year of trying checks on his sperm and my fertility. I was told on one of those scans that they thought they had seen something in my womb that shouldnt be there.

It was actually while on honeymoon that we got pregnant so people thought we got pregnant straight away but I was very clear to say it had taken two years.

Our fertility isnt something we discuss openly with work colleagues or strangers, and it can also be difficult to talk to close friends and relatives about the subject.

So, when are you planning on having kids? is a question many women face in one form or another but perhaps we need to be more sensitive about asking.

Not only because it is nobody elses business but also because the NHS estimates that around one in seven couples have difficulties conceiving.

I was surrounded by women getting pregnant, according to Ruth.

It felt like every week, someone else was being given the good news.

With miscarriage, there was always a stigma and people didnt talk about it. But now, people are opening up about it.

But people dont really talk about infertility.How do you talk about it?

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In one way, you dont want to say youre trying for a baby because you have more people asking questions.

But as soon as youre married, people are asking when youre planning on getting pregnant. And when you have your first, they want to know when youre having the next.

People need to show a bit of sensitivity.

And what about those who hope to have more than one child?

Ruth said: Second child infertility is talked about even less.

It seems to be Youve had your baby, you should be happy.

Yes I do, and she is beautiful and lovely, but my family doesnt feel quite complete.

Theres a big hole like something is missing.

My daughter was coming on for 18 months when we decided to try for another sooner rather than later.

We tried for a year and then went back to the doctor.

We had scans and on one of those scans, they found a polyp on my womb. I had a procedure last September to remove the polyp.

They discovered I wasnt ovulating and I was prescribed six cycles of Clomid.

On the second cycle, I was invited for a follicle scan. At that scan, they could see something else, which could be a polyp, so they stopped the drugs.

Ruth has since had the polyp removed and is remaining positive that she will soon have the baby news she hopes for.

She said: I have four cycles of Clomid left and if nothing has happened after that, we will look at IVF though we will have to pay because Im over 40 and we have a child.

We will be looking for an egg donor, which is another added complication.

I dont want to have to admit defeat though, and I want to remain positive.

We cant actually do anything but keep going and hoping.

In some ways, it would be easier if I knew I couldnt have another one so I could get on with getting over that but there is still hope and that hope might get squashed. You just dont know.

Mr Pisal offered the following advice to women to help them boost their fertility.

Physical fitness, staying slim, good nutrition, giving up smoking and reducing alcohol intake are good lifestyle choices.

If the periods are irregular or if there is any history of gynaecological issues, such as ovarian cysts, endometriosis or fibroids, it may be better to seek advice sooner rather than later.

And, like Jess and Cece in New Girl, you can also order an AMH self-test (anti-mullerian hormone), which will give you an indication of your egg supply.

For those who are facing challenges conceiving, Mr Pisal advises seeing their doctor.

First point of call should be your GP for some general advice about understanding your cycle, ovulation and fertile period.

There are several smart-phone apps, which can help you understand your cycle better.

If you have been trying for longer than a year, it may be better to seek a specialist referral through your GP.

Your GP will be able to carry out baseline tests for your hormone profile, ovulation, ultrasound scan and semen analysis for your partner.

He or she will also be able to advise you regarding your eligibility for fertility investigations and treatment on the NHS.

If you have private medical insurance, you can check with your insurance company help line if you are eligible for fertility investigations.

Most insurance companies however do not fund fertility treatment and you may have to fund this yourself if going through the private route.

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Fertility: What you need to know about getting pregnant if you've been putting off having a baby - Metro

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