Answers to Sensitive Questions on Infertility
Infertility can be a sensitive topic for many people, and it is not unusual
for someone to feel embarrassed after receiving their diagnosis, although
there is no cause to be. Infertility is something that cannot be helped—there
is no reason to feel shame or stop yourself from exploring your options.
Even when working with a doctor you trust, it can be difficult asking
some of the more personal questions that you may have during this process.
Here you can find answers to some of the more sensitive questions regarding
infertility treatments from our Atlanta fertility doctors.
Can having sex too often decrease our chances for success and how often
should we have sex in the middle of my cycle?
To maximize a couple's chance of conceiving, intercourse is recommended
beginning around cycle day 9 or 10 and continuing in a pattern of every-other-day
for the next week. Using ovulation predictor kits can simplify this. Once
an ovulation predictor kit indicates the LH surge has occurred, intercourse
that day and the following two days will cover the fertile window. Beyond
that, further intercourse is not useful for conception as the egg only
survives for up to 24 hours in the fallopian tube. If a semen analysis
is normal, having intercourse every 24 hours is not a problem, but with
lower sperm counts, this may actually be too frequent. Having intercourse
more frequently than every 24 hours can decrease the number of mature
sperm that are present.
For a semen analysis, can the spouse or partner help with collection and
in what ways?
When a man is producing a semen specimen for either analysis or to use
for intrauterine insemination, a spouse or partner can help with the collection.
However, no lubricants or saliva can be used. A semen collection device
may be preferred by some couples. This is a special condom that can be
worn by the male partner. The specimen can be collected in the condom,
placed in a sterile container, and brought into the office. This sometimes
produces a less adequate sample for intrauterine insemination.
Is there any one position that is more effective than another?
There is not any one position that is more favorable for conception than another.
How could my husband be sterile? He can always get an erection so this
does not seem possible.
It is possible to achieve an erection and ejaculate even when the sperm
concentration is low or absent. The production of sperm from the testicles
and semen from the prostate and ejaculatory ducts are separate processes.
A man can ejaculate semen without sperm being present. That is why a semen
analysis is necessary to determine the true fertility potential of a male partner.
Does douching affect fertility?
It is not recommended to douche after intercourse or at any other time.
The vagina is a self-cleaning organ and does not require douching. In
fact, douching can change the normal pH of the vagina and increase a woman's
risk for contracting vaginal infections.
I have worn tampons forever. Can that negatively affect my chances for
There is no data to show us that tampon use decreases success for pregnancy.
It is still recommended that regular changing of a tampon occur in order
to prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome, but there have been no associated infections
or fertility problems with tampon use.
When I was younger, I had an abortion. Could this be the reason we have
Abortion has not been shown to lower a woman's success rate for pregnancy
in the future. However, if an infection occurred around the time of the
procedure, uterine and fallopian tube scarring can result. If no symptoms
of fever, prolonged bleeding, or pain occurred after the procedure, then
it is extremely unlikely that the past abortion will impact current attempts
Should my husband stay "in" for a period of time after we have had sex?
This should not be necessary. Once ejaculation has occurred, it is not
necessary for the penis to remain in the vagina for any length of time.
Sperm swim very quickly through the vagina and the cervical mucous into
Do I need to lie down after sex?
Many people recommend resting for a period of time after intercourse. However,
as stated previously, sperm swim very quickly and this period of rest
is not thought to be necessary. Elevation of the hips, legs, etc. is also
If I do not have orgasm, can I still get pregnant?
Absolutely. Orgasm is not essential for sperm to travel up into the uterus
or for fertilization to subsequently occur.
I have read about changes in cervical mucous at ovulation time. How is
the best way to check mine?
A woman may notice cervical mucous changes just from wiping herself at
mid-cycle around the time of ovulation. A woman may also insert a finger
into the vagina and be able to detect some cervical mucous that is closer
to the cervix. In most cases, if mucous is very favorable, some is produced
and noticed on either her underwear or on a panty liner. Favorable mucous
is very clear and abundant and stretches easily at mid-cycle. This is
referred to as 'egg white' mucous. If a woman does not notice
these cervical mucous changes, it does not necessarily mean there is a
problem. Studies have shown that women's subjective assessment of
their own cervical mucous is not always reliable.
I contracted a venereal disease when I was a teen. Could this be the cause
of my infertility?
Certain venereal diseases are associated with fallopian tube damage which
can cause infertility. These are most notably chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Other sexually transmitted diseases are not associated with infertility.
These include herpes, human papilloma virus, and trichomonas. Many women
may have been exposed to chlamydia or gonorrhea without ever knowing it.
During the body's attempt to clear the infection, the fallopian tubes
are frequently damaged. An HSG is routinely recommended for patients who
have had a known infection with gonorrhea or chlamydia, or for women who
have unexplained infertility. This helps identify damage to the fallopian tubes.
We are available to answer any further questions you may have.
Call us at 678-841-1089 or toll free 877-767-2276.