1-7 November 2017

Join us for fertility discussions, advice & support

Making Babies, DIY

Making Babies, DIY

Planning for a family, either now or in the future?  When it comes to making babies, a little information goes a long way.  People who are armed with the knowledge contained in this section will have a better chance of falling pregnant, and having a healthy pregnancy and baby.  Couples and singles who are experiencing delays in conceiving a pregnancy, undergoing fertility treatment or considering donation or surrogacy will also benefit greatly from this information.  

Age and Fertility: a snapshot

Women: fertility declines sharply from age 35

Men: some studies show a reduction from age 40 in couples trying to become pregnant naturally, and from 50 when using IVF

Learn your mother’s age at menopause: if earlier than the average of 52, you should seek advice earlier

Have an AMH test to understand your ovarian reserve (egg numbers) compared to other women of the same age

Plan for your last child, not your first! 

For a 90% chance of reaching the desired family size, the maximum age of the woman when you start trying is:

  • 1 child: natural conception age 32, via Assisted Reproductive Technology age 35
  • 2 children: natural conception age 27, ART age 31
  • 3 children: natural conception age 23, ART age 28

Learn more about age and fertility...

Medical conditions affecting fertility

Endometriosis is a significant cause of infertility, because the woman partner is diagnosed with mild endometriosis in 10% of couples that have difficulty conceiving

Male factor infertility will be present in 30–50% of couples, either as the single major cause of their fertility problem or as part of a multi-factorial problem with both male and female factors being present

It is often not until the results of the semen analysis are revealed that the man learns that there is an issue with his sperm

Lifestyle changes can reduce the impact that medical conditions have on your fertility

Women should seek help for: pain during sex; taking time off work due to period pain; Intermittent pain or spotting/bleeding at ovulation or throughout the cycle; very heavy menstruation; cycles shorter than 3 weeks or longer than 5 weeks; no periods at all; unwanted hair growth; jawline acne; family history of menopause before the page of 50

Men should seek help for: abnormal shape and size of testicles / anatomical problem; previous genital surgery; significant STD infections in the past

Learn more about medical conditions affecting fertility...

When to seek help

Women – seek help straight away for any of the following:

  • irregular cycles (short or long)
  • getting periods less than 10 days after ovulation occurs
  • severe pain with menstruation or intermittent pain throughout the cycle
  • regular breakthrough bleeding throughout cycle
  • any unusual discharge (yellow/green, lumpy white, smelly)
  • previous sexually transmitted infections, such as Chlamydia
  • a history of early menopause (before age 50) in the family

Men – seek help straight away for any of the following:

  • previous genital surgery, including for an undescended testicle
  • previous inguinal hernia repair
  • previous significant infections such as Chlamydia or Mumps Orchitis

For a couple:

  • When you have been trying to conceive for longer than 12 months.  You can see your GP first who may be able to refer you for a funded consultation or you can book a private appointment directly with a fertility specialist.  The first step is likely to include blood tests to check ovulation and a semen analysis, which your GP can conduct.
  • If the woman is over 35 years, see your doctor after trying to conceive for 9 months
  • If the woman is over 40 years, see your doctor after trying to conceive for 6 months

Your GP can organise further testing and may be able to refer you for a funded consultation with a fertility specialist.

Making Babies DIY Webinars

Join us here for this free-of-charge webinar.  There will be presentation live on screen, followed by Q&A.  Bring your questions, ready to type into the box!  View the full Webinar schedule here

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Timing of Sex: what you need to know

Identifying ovulation is the most important knowledge you can have when trying to conceive

85% of NZ women cannot identify the fertile window

The best time to attempt conception is when a woman’s cervical mucus is wet, slippery and of egg white consistency, usually over a 2–3-day period immediately before ovulation

Timing of sex relative to ovulation is vital

As sperm can live for up to 3–5 days in good quality mucus it is best to try and have intercourse in the 2–3 days preceding and on the day of egg release (ovulation)

Couples who have intercourse every one to three days around the time of ovulation do not need to time intercourse specifically

Other tools such as temperature recording and ovulation kits can be of some use, but use with caution as they identify ovulation, and the ideal time for conception is prior to ovulation – when they give it a positive result, the fertile window is nearly over

Don’t save sperm - fresh sperm is better than aged.  Ejaculation at least every three days is recommended

Learn more about Timing of Sex...

Lifestyle

Good preconception health can improve chances of conception, a healthy pregnancy and healthy child 

Maturation of the sperm and egg takes 3–4 months, therefore preconception health should be in place for this long

Recent studies report a world-wide decline in sperm number and quality over the past 50 years, although this seems to have leveled off in NZ over the past 15-20 years

Men and women should follow a healthy, balanced diet – a Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to be ideal for fertility

Avoid (or reduce) alcohol and caffeine consumption

Women should supplement with folic acid and iodine - most women need a folic acid supplement to achieve the levels known to reduce the chance of gross abnormalities such as spina bifida

Avoid recreational drugs and nicotine

Exercise extreme caution when self-prescribing any medication or fertility device

Maintain a healthy weight

These factors are equally important for women and men

Moderate exercise – too much or too little can be detrimental to your fertility

Men should avoid increased testicular heat

Avoid environmental toxicity as far as possible – in your home and work

Proactively manage stress and prioritise self-care

These lifestyle factors can also impact success of IVF

Learn more about Lifestyle factors influencing fertility...

Nutrients for fertility

Learn about important nutrients for men's and women's fertility on this page