There has been a lot in the media this week about fertility - particularly the fact that women worry about their ability to get pregnant.
Health care professionals (me included) don’t help much - with our constant emphasis on the need to use contraception consistently and correctly to avoid the risk of unplanned pregnancy. This is obviously important but it sometimes means that people who are trying to become pregnant and don’t get pregnant immediately become concerned.
Claire Murphy, Director of External Affairs at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service says ‘Sometimes in our haste to protect women from unplanned pregnancy and to ensure that they use protection at every encounter we don’t always explain well that, actually, it can take time to get pregnant even when you are trying’.
Claire has written a really interesting and useful article about this here: https://inews.co.uk/opinion/comment/chlamydia-infertility-risk-contraception/
There have been useful discussions on this forum on whether contraceptive methods can affect your fertility after you stop them and we have discussed the evidence that they do not… @amyl raised some important issues about this here The mini pill advice
If you are concerned about your fertility in general - you are not alone. Data from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists suggests that half of women are concerned about their fertility. You can see more here: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/freeze-eggs-young-women-fertility-ivf-a8821351.html
So what to do?
To be honest I am not sure.
If you are having a regular period then the chances are that you are ovulating regularly and that is clearly reassuring. Even if you don’t have regular periods you can still get pregnant. The problem is that the only way to find out if you can get pregnant is to try. There are so many different factors that affect fertility (in both women and men) that it is very difficult to predict what will happen until you do try.
But of course, there is not much point in trying until it is the right time for you and you actually want to be pregnant…
Claire Murphy says 'In a climate of anxiety and one where womanhood is still closely bound up with fertility, it is not unusual to see younger women who, when they haven’t become pregnant after an episode or two of unintended unprotected sex, become convinced they’re unable to conceive, or who worry staying too long on the pill will harm their fertility, come off it and get pregnant. Some women avoid using emergency contraception when they need it because of fears it can damage fertility. At the British Pregnancy Advisory Service we also see women who believed an episode of chlamydia left them infertile, and who experience unplanned pregnancy (and had an abortion) as a result.
This is a difficult issue.
What do others think?