Fertility experts state that, of 100 couples trying to conceive naturally, 20 will conceive within a month, 85 within a year, and 95 within two years. As such, many practitioners only diagnose infertility if a couple has been unable to conceive naturally within two years - although they usually advise couples to seek medical advice after a year of trying.
A diagnosis of infertility does not mean that conceiving is out of the question permanently. It means that something is preventing natural conception at that time. This could be down to the male, the female, both, or external causes, such as the environment.
Infertility in women can be due to ovulation issues, such as polycystic ovary syndrome; problems with the womb or fallopian tubes, such as endometriosis; medicines; age; and lifestyle factors, such as weight, exposure to chemicals, stress, alcohol and smoking.
At least 25 per cent of couples will experience a period of infertility in their lives. Traditional treatment includes medication, surgeries and assisted conception processes, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Lifestyle changes, such as giving up smoking, adjusting the diet, and taking folic acid supplements are often recommended to boost fertility.
A Dr Sabina Aidarous, family doctor and women's health specialist, at Imperial Healthcare Institute (04-4393737), says:
"One of the most important, and often overlooked, factors when trying to conceive is making sure that you and your partner are in great health. A GP will advise you to maintain a healthy diet, avoid smoking, get plenty of sleep, and take pre-conception vitamins for at least three months prior to getting pregnant. This is to ensure that your body is in the best condition to conceive and nurture.
"Having intercourse around the time of ovulation can increase your chances of getting pregnant. However, most fertility experts agree that becoming too focused on timing can become a major stress, which can negatively affect your relationship and fertility. I'd advise a couple to try and conceive without reference to a calendar, by having intercourse every two or three days. In this way, most couples will become pregnant within one year.
"Stay healthy, relax, enjoy your relationship and make time for your partner. If you have been trying for a year without success (or six months if you are over 35), there may be a clinical issue, so see a doctor."
Chinese medicine practitioner
A Dr Maria Ridao Alonso, practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine at Dubai Herbal and Treatment Centre (04-3351200), says:
"Special acupuncture point combinations and techniques have been shown to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, which can increase follicle and egg health. Acupuncture also encourages the lining of the uterus to developa more hospitable environment for an embryo to implant and grow.
"Acupuncture can boost the body's immunity, which becomes important when there are underlying immunological causes for failed implantation. However, an overactive immune system can also cause unwanted inflammation in the reproductive organs, for example with endometriosis, which acupuncture can help too.
"In men, acupuncture can cause a significant improvement in the number and quality of sperm.
"For couples undergoing assisted conception, acupuncture can increase the chances dramatically and can help reduce the sideeffects from medication and the stress of theIVF experience.
"Also, diet, lifestyle and overall health all play an important role in conception and pregnancy."
A Dr Parviz Rashvand, doctor of naturopathic medicine at Synergy Integrated Medical Centre (04-3485452), says:
"Infertility is defined as the absence of conception after one year of regular intercourse without the use of any contraceptive. About 15 per cent of couples experience conception problems and men are responsible for at least 40 per cent of the cases.
"Women with a history of pelvic inflammatory diseases, ectopic pregnancy, abdominal surgery, IUD complications, fibroids and polycystic ovaries are often unable to conceive. A correct diagnosis, such as by a Quantum Analysis machine, is useful to highlight these causes, which might be hidden.
"If there is no obvious physical obstruction to fertility, methods to improve the chances of conception include correcting any blockages, which may be disturbing the free flow of energy, and boosting blood flow to the reproductive organs and the thyroid.
"A healthy and balanced diet with lots of fresh items and nuts is recommended, as are pumpkin seeds as they are a good source of zinc. Adrenal supports like vitamin C, are important as the adrenal gland produces hormones. Stress management is essential too."