Maximize Your Chances of a Baby Later
If you’re in your 20s or early 30s, you may not be ready to have a family yet or concerned about getting pregnant down the road. However, there are steps you can take now which may help prevent fertility problems when you are ready to build your family.
Maintain Your Health and Wellness Now
It can be fun to indulge in things you know aren’t healthy for you, but anything which helps you maintain good health will also help fortify your future fertility. For example, developing a healthy exercise and nutrition plan can optimize your current health while allowing you to set up habits to maintain overall health down the road. Additionally, avoiding recreational drugs, smoking and excessive drinking can improve both current and future health and fertility.
Sexual health can also have an impact on fertility. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend annual screenings for chlamydia and gonorrhea for all sexually active women younger than 25, and for older women at higher risk, including women with multiple sex partners or a partner who has an STI. STIs can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and “silent” infection which can lead to infertility.
Be Aware of Your Family History and Personal Health
If you have been diagnosed with, or have a family history of, health issues such as hormonal disorders, premature menopause, PCOS or endometriosis, you can start a dialogue with your health care provider sooner rather than later to better support your family building goals. For instance, diabetes can affect the fertility of both men and women, causing reduced sperm quality in men and increasing the risk of miscarriage and gestational diabetes in women.
Evaluating your current personal health status can also help you assess and resolve potential issues that may negative impact fertility in the future. Do you or your partner have irregular periods, light or heavy periods, or difficulty getting or maintaining an erection? These can be signs of potential fertility problems, and you may want to seek a fertility evaluation sooner than later in order to give yourself plenty of time to resolve such issues before you want to start a family.
Understanding Your Options
If you were assigned female at birth, you were born with all the eggs you will ever have. By age 30 your fertility begins to decline, and the decline accelerates in your mid-30s. By the time you are 45 it is almost impossible to get pregnant with your own eggs. If you know you don’t want to get pregnant any time soon, you may want to consider oocyte cryopreservation, known as egg freezing. Egg freezing preserves the age and quality of the egg, which can improve your chances of getting pregnant despite your own aging. Freezing your eggs can allow you to wait for “the right one,” focus on your career or pursue other options while maintaining your ability to have a biological child later.
Fertility preservation is available for those assigned male at birth, too. Sperm testing and freezing allows men to better understand their fertility before trying to conceive. Sperm freezing is also an option for men undergoing military deployment, in order to be sure they have healthy sperm preserved before exposure to potential toxins in war zones. WIN for HIM, WIN’s clinical advocacy program specifically tailored to men on their family-building journey, includes an at home semen analysis kit, along with education and support.