Reviewed by Veena Angle, MBBS, MD
How to Get Pregnant: 3 Real-Life Couples Share Their Struggles and Success Stories
Published | 6 min read
Several couples share their journey to conceive and give some personal advice on how to get pregnant. Each of their stories is as unique as the rest.
One might assume that knowing how to get pregnant is easy. The reality is that many couples all over the world face many challenges in conceiving. Despite all the difficulties and obstacles, these real-life couples overcame the odds and welcomed a baby into their lives.
Each of their stories is as unique as the rest, especially when considering how each couple eventually managed to conceive through different methods and means. Their determination shows that there are always ways to get pregnant. We ask them to share their journeys with us and, in turn, provide other couples with real-life inspiration on how to get pregnant.
Read along to learn from their experiences and check out some recommended foods and therapies that could improve the chances of conceiving.
Getting Pre-Pregnancy Check-Ups
Anti and her husband Priyo (35) struggled to get pregnant in 2014. They finally visited an obstetrics and gynaecology (ob-gyn) clinic a year later. There, Priyo was diagnosed with a low sperm count and abnormal slow-moving sperms. They are the most common cause of fertility issues in men. The doctor then advised them to go through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) to conceive. In this technique, eggs are retrieved from a woman’s ovaries and fertilised with healthy sperms in a laboratory. The resulting embryo is then transplanted into the woman’s womb and allowed to grow into a healthy baby.
Talking from experience, Anti emphasised the importance of getting check-ups for early detection. “Don’t be afraid to take fertility check-ups. By consulting with doctors, we will know more details about the problems,” she says.
Similarly, Adrian (43) found out that he had a low sperm count due to smoking after visiting a doctor. At the time, he and his wife, Samantha (39), had been trying to conceive for months with no luck. This wasn’t their first attempt, as Samantha had been pregnant before. Unfortunately, it was a stillbirth. She had to wait for her womb to fully heal before they could try once more. This time, the struggle to get pregnant again was a race against a ticking clock for Samantha, who was pushing 40.
Likewise, Julia (32) waited three years after a miscarriage before she and her husband, Steven (36), could try again. Difficulties arose because Julia was diagnosed with a rare condition that caused an increase in platelets, the blood-clotting cells in her body. Having too many platelets increases the risk of forming blood clots inside the body or bleeding. This can be life-threatening to anyone, especially a pregnant woman.
Committing to Well-Timed Therapies
Anti and Priyo went along with their doctor’s suggestion and chose IVF. To ensure that the program would succeed, the couple had a to-do list that they had to complete, including a healthy diet. Anti was also required to consume the medications and supplements from their IVF doctor. Priyo had to undergo medical treatment to improve his sperm’s quality. He drank a glass of tomato juice every day, in addition to his vitamins and supplements. On top of that, Priyo also underwent chiropractic treatment.
Meanwhile, Adrian resolved to stop smoking immediately after learning that his smoking habit had caused his low sperm count. Julia, with her high level of blood platelets, ended up having to go for treatment every week until the level became normal. She also decided to eat more healthily, while her husband Steven began to smoke less.
All of these couples have successfully conceived and are now loving parents to their respective children. Like these couples, Cathy Tan (37), too, was racing against the clock to get pregnant. Her first consultation with Dr Ann Tan at the Women & Fetal Centre in Singapore led to the discovery of fibroids, ovarian cysts and polyps in her uterus. Because of this, she had to undergo surgery, which also removed her right ovary, thus decreasing her chances of conceiving.
To make matters worse, she found that even with IVF, a woman’s chances of conceiving were only 20%-30% once they passed the 38-year mark. Thus, she turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a complementary treatment for IVF. Through a recommendation from Dr Tan, she met Zhong Xi Ming, a senior TCM physician with Eu Yan Sang in Singapore. The pair then worked together to devise a plan that combined Western fertility treatment with acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
Three cycles of treatment later, Cathy gave birth to her firstborn, a son, in the same year. Then, after 2 years and 2 cycles of TCM/IVF later, she also became a mother of another son.
Taking Care of Your Body
After learning first-hand how smoking affected her husband Adrian’s fertility, Samantha has straightforward advice: “Don’t smoke and live a healthy lifestyle.”
You can boost health with a wide variety of foods and herbs that may improve fertility – thanks to their revitalising ingredients.
- Seeds, nuts & legumes: Sesame seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts and lentils.
- Fruits: Goji berry, avocado, watermelon, and pomegranates.
- Vegetables: Sprouts, seaweed, artichoke, kale, spinach, beets, sweet potatoes, and asparagus.
- Fish products: Salmon, sardines, and cod liver oil.
- Other nutritious foods: Brown rice, eggs, liver, maca, bee pollen, and Greek yoghurt.
To increase the chances of conceiving, you may combine a healthy diet with TCM treatment. TCM plays an active role in the preparatory and pre-implantation stages.
“Herbs and acupuncture can help improve the womb lining and enhance ovarian follicles. So, the patient has a stable womb lining when the embryo is transferred to it,” says physician Zhong.
Both TCM and Western medicine also agree that IVF treatment has a higher success rate when conducted together with acupuncture. A study by the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University and the Northwest Center for Reproductive Sciences in Washington shows that research subjects who did both IVF and acupuncture treatments had a higher rate of live births (50.8%) than those who only did IVF. The rate is 20% higher when the subjects complemented the treatments with traditional herbal medicine and a TCM-approved diet and lifestyle.
The journey and methods on how to get pregnant can be emotionally draining. This requires great resilience from a couple. “It’s always very difficult and stressful when one partner wants it more than the other. They must realise that it’s not a blame game. Try to make the best out of what you both are as a couple,” says Dr Tan.
The conclusion we can derive from the three couples’ experiences and the success story of Cathy is that there are many sacrifices needed to get pregnant. However, the first and most important thing that would-be parents must do is start eating and living healthier no matter how hard it is. As Julia says, “Take care of your body before trying to have a baby.” – and we couldn’t agree more.
This is an adaptation of an article, “It Takes Two“, which first appeared on Eu Yan Sang website.
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- Daily Mail Online. 2012. Traditional Chinese medicine ‘makes fertility treatments more effective’. [Accessed 16 August 2021]
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