What factors are crucial for a woman to achieve a pregnancy?
If the woman's menstrual cycle is extremely regular and it has not changed over time, serious hormonal problems are not very likely. However, even minor disturbances can have an unfavourable effect on the maturation of the egg cell. Previous or existing illnesses and operations (e.g. infections, hormone problems in the thyroid glands, adhesions in the Fallopian tubes, fibroids and polyps of the mucous membrane) can also affect fertility.
Various organs of the body play a vital role in the establishment of a normal pregnancy. During the course of one menstruation cycle, we therefore investigate the:
- interaction of the hormones in the blood running through the woman's veins
- ovaries (structure and function)
- Fallopian tubes (are they open?)
- uterus (the structure of the mucous membrane, malformations, changes)
We can therefore check all the important organ systems within a single month.
Basic checks in the woman
- Hormonal check at the beginning of the menstrual cycle (during menstruation)
- Vaginal ultrasound during menstruation and mid-cycle
- Checks for infections (e.g. chlamydia)
- Investigation of the Fallopian tubes (Fallopian X-rays, hysterosalpingography)
- Ultrasound following the insertion of saline solution into the uterine cavity, in order to check the cavity (hydrosonography)
- Laparoscopy and hysteroscopy for a thorough examination of the Fallopian tubes and the uterine cavity
- Hormonal tests in the event of any conspicuous findings during the basic checks
- Genetic investigations, e.g. in the event of repeated miscarriages
What factors are crucial for a man to father a pregnancy
Even if nothing conspicuous has been found in the man's medical history and he has no complaints or symptoms, the quality and composition of the sperm may still be impaired. The first step, therefore, is to carry out a basic spermiogram. The man will need to provide a sperm sample for this test, which will, for example, investigate the:
- volume of ejaculate
- overall number of sperm
- number of sperm that are moving in general
- number of sperm that are moving forwards
- form of the sperm
- number of live sperm
- presence of sperm antibodies
- indications of a chronic inflammation of the testes (prostatitis).
- Repetition of the spermiogram after 3 to 6 months
- Hormonal investigations in the man in the event of any conspicuous findings
- Check for infections
- Urological investigation, depending on the findings
- Genetic investigations in the event of severe impairments in the spermiogram or a lack of sperm (azoospermia)
What might affect you as a couple?
Personal lifestyle plays an important role in the fertility of the man and the woman.
- A ban on smoking for the man and woman: Smoking halves the chance of pregnancy and increases the risk of miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies
- Alcohol: Drink less or (even better) avoid alcohol altogether
- Drugs: Avoid all drugs
- Overweight: Being even slightly overweight increases the risk of miscarriage
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet: a lot of fruit and vegetables and not much sugar
- Get enough sleep
It is not easy to change ingrained habits, but it is worthwhile. If, for example, you succeed in giving up smoking or reducing your weight by 5%, you will increase your chance of achieving a pregnancy and reduce your risk of miscarriage. You may need professional support, and we will be happy to advise you on this aspect too.