The Most Common Fertility Questions, AnsweredApr 29, 2022 11:33AM ● By Nicole Teitler
At some point in almost every woman’s life, the “children” question will undoubtably arise— whether to have them and if so, when. For some women, getting pregnant is a straightforward process. For others, however, it can feel more like a procedure. That’s when another question sets in: Is a “natural” pregnancy even an option?
Kavitha Persaud, M.D., a
local reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist with University
Reproductive Associates, joined us to answer some of the most common fertility
What does a basic fertility test include?
Kavitha Persaud: For us as humans, we need three key components to
be able to conceive. These include good working eggs, good working sperm, and a
good way for them to meet. Testing for the ovarian reserve involves performing
some blood tests and an ultrasound at the beginning of the menstrual cycle,
usually on the third day once bleeding starts. Testing for sperm involves a
semen analysis, looking at the sperm under a microscope to see the count,
movement and shape of the sperm. Testing for the anatomy of the female reproductive
tract involves performing a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), an X-ray test to
evaluate if the fallopian tubes are open, without any blockage.
At what age should a woman seek out a fertility specialist?
KP: It’s never too early to get a gauge of how well
your ovaries are functioning, what we call the ovarian reserve of each woman.
That being said, couples should start an evaluation for infertility after one
consecutive year of trying to conceive with normal menstrual cycles if the
woman is under age 35, or after six months of trying to conceive with normal
menstrual cycles if the woman is 35 years or older.
Does that mean that a woman’s fertility changes after age 35?
KP: There seems to be a significant change once a woman
reaches 35 years old. This is due to a drop in both the quality and quantity of
Do previous abortions or miscarriages affect fertility?
KP: Previous abortions or miscarriages do not
affect your fertility or ability to conceive.
Are there ways a woman can help her fertility?
KP: Women can help with their overall health by
maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Be sure not to consume
more than a moderate amount of alcohol. Smoking also has a negative effect on
the quality of the eggs inside the ovaries, so women are encouraged to stop
smoking if they already do.
What is a common fertility myth?
KP: IVF, or in-vitro fertilization, is a procedure in
attempts to overcome issues with fertility. IVF is more common than most people
think it is, and it’s quite doable, with many couples achieving great success
rates. However, IVF is not a complete cure to those who may experience
infertility. While IVF may help couples achieve a pregnancy, it cannot create
more eggs from a woman’s ovaries, nor can it increase the quality of the eggs
that are already present in a woman’s ovaries.
What advice do you have for couples trying to conceive?
KP: Knowledge is power. For women, knowing how their bodies function and the hormonal changes involved throughout the menstrual cycle are key factors in helping people achieve their goals of family building. In a couple, both males and females play an equal role in the ability or inability to conceive. Forty percent of infertility is due to a male factor component, 40 percent is due to a female component, and 20 percent is a mix or unexplained.
For more information about fertility, or to make an appointment with a fertility specialist, contact Dr. Kavitha Persaud or University Reproductive Associates, which has locations in Hasbrouck Heights, Hoboken and Wayne, New Jersey.