‘If you are over 35 and have been trying for a baby for more than a year without any results, it is best to contact a fertility expert,’ says Dr Shobha Gupta, Medical Director and IVF Specialist from Mother’s Lap IVF Centre, Delhi.

Here are few signs that could indicate that there can be problems in conception:

1. Abnormal periods
Abnormal or irregular periods is one sign that can point towards a woman’s infertility. A menstrual cycle that is too long (35 days or more) or too short (21 days or less) could indicate problems with ovulation. Sometimes a healthy diet, exercise and medication can regularize your periods and help you conceive.

2. Medical conditions
There are various medical conditions like endometriosis, and tubal blockage that can reduce one’s chances of conception drastically. With a condition like endometriosis, where the endometrial walls start to grow outside the uterus rather than inside, it leads to painful menstruation. The cells grow, thicken and break down during every menstrual cycle. Since these disposed tissues have nowhere to go, over a period they get accumulated and form cysts that could obstruct normal function of the ovaries, leading to scarring and adhesions.

Tubal blockage or fallopian tube obstruction is again a prime cause of female infertility. Blocked fallopian tubes are unable to deliver the sperm and ova to the uterus for implantation and so conception becomes difficult. While most of these conditions can be rectified with help of a doctor, the sooner you meet a fertility expert, the better.

3. Pelvic inflammatory diseases
These are infections caused due to sexually transmitted diseases that affect the female reproductive organs and affect conception. It can lead to irreversible damages to the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes and other female reproductive organs. It is better to get tested if you had unprotected sex or experience any unusual symptoms like painful urination, pain during sex, itching and burning sensation.

4. Thyroid dysfunctions
According to Indian Thyroid Society, about 70% of women with PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) have thyroid dysfunction and possibly results in infertility. Since the thyroid hormones regulate cellular functions, abnormal thyroid function affects ovulation and fertility as well. So get your thyroid checked while you are planning a baby.

5. Age

Women are born with a specific number of eggs, which declines with age – one reason doctors urge women to plan pregnancy early on. After a certain age, it becomes difficult for one to plan pregnancy naturally and might require the help of a fertility expert to get pregnant.

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