Make 2017 the year of the baby bump: Conception tips from a pro

Couples wanting to conceive may have a New Year’s Resolution to fall pregnant in 2017. However, when conceiving naturally just isn’t happening, it can be frustrating, stressful and upsetting.

New Year could be the perfect time to reconsider options, if naturally conceiving has been unsuccessful so far. Give yourself the best chance at having a baby in 2017, explains Dr Sonya Jessup from Demeter Fertility.

Many factors lead to infertility and there is no one cause as to why some couples have difficulties conceiving. Couples generally are leaving having a baby until a lot later than they used to and that is having an impact on overall fertility, as fertility declines with age.

There are reasons to delay

Today a large proportion of the young population, don’t even feel ready to have and look after a child until well into their 30’s or even 40’s. After years of taking contraception, there is an expectation that falling pregnant will happen quickly which often that is not the case.

There are many good reasons for delaying starting a family but the downside is that with increasing age comes decreasing fertility. This is due to a range of reasons but mainly because of the decreasing quality of the eggs. Women over 40 have a 1 in 20 chance of falling pregnant naturally each month, and this declines even further with increasing age. IVF can improve the chances of conceiving each month considerably.

Infertility affects men too. Sperm count and motility decrease as males get older, so their chance of fertility also declines. Studies show that around 1 in 10 men with no previous history of illness or trauma often have a very low sperm count.




Dr. Jessup’s top tips to conceiving naturally:

Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Consume a balanced diet (rich in fibre, folate, lycopene and fruits and vegetables), while minimising the consumption of highly processed foods.

Stay positive: maintain a positive mindset.

Exercise: Moderate physical activity can increase the ability to conceive.

Develop a fertility management plan: Having a plan in place allows for maximising natural fertility, and gives yourself the best chance of falling pregnant on your own.

Go easy on yourself: Don’t be too strict on yourself or make such dramatic lifestyle changes that the quest to fall pregnant takes the joy out of sex, work, socialising and everyday pleasures.

See a fertility specialist: Get on to it early on to check there are no other health issues that you should address prior to conceiving. Not only will this help you conceive sooner, but may help maximise the long-term health of your future child.




When to seek further advice:

“Many couples think that they will conceive naturally within about 3-6 months of trying and are surprised when it doesn’t happen. Anyone who is concerned about a delay in conceiving is encouraged to seek specialist fertility advice promptly.

There is no longer a “length of time” that any person or couple should wait for assessment, advice and treatment if it is required. Often just seeking professional advice, regardless of age or length of time trying, makes couples feel more positive about the whole experience and gives some clarity around what might be happening,” says Dr Jessup.

For couples who have been trying to fall pregnant naturally, the festive season can be a difficult time. The New Year is a fantastic time to start fresh and consider different options. Dr Jessup advises people in this situation to ask their GP for a referral to see a Fertility Specialist, as often there are many factors that can be addressed and improved without needing IVF treatments.

“Remember that everyone’s fertility journeys are different, and no two couples are the same” says Dr Jessup. Adding, “IVF need not be the long and difficult process it was in the past.”




Stick to your usual routine

“I advise my patients to lead a completely normal life during an IVF cycle. That means working as usual, coffee in the morning, a glass of wine when catching up with friends and family and the return to a completely normal sex life, where sex is fun again, and not just aimed at “conceiving”. If a woman is older, not every egg is normal, and a number of IVF cycles may be needed to find a good quality embryo that grows into a baby. The ability to lead a normal life during this time is just so important. If IVF becoming too overwhelming, couples stop IVF when often, if they had the stamina to continue, they would get the baby they wanted.”

She adds, “The New Year is a perfect time to consider maximising your natural fertility, or to consider the options are available to you if you have struggled to fall pregnant this year.”

Dr Jessup suggests answering the below questions. If any of these apply to you, seek the advice of a Fertility Specialist by asking your GP for a referral to see a specialist as a starting point, rather than as a last resort. Delaying too long is one of the main problems that lead to long term infertility.

  • Do you want to have a baby or a family?
  • Are you concerned about the time it has taken you to conceive?
  • Do you already know of a medical reason why you or your partner may have fertility problems?
  • Do you suspect there may be a reason based on you and your partners’ past?
  • Are you single and wanting a baby?

For more information, visit