Trying to Conceive: Getting Help

WebMD Live Events Transcript

If you have been trying to get pregnant but haven't been successful, when do you look for professional help? What questions do you need answered to determine what's wrong? Amos Grunebaum, MD, medical director of the WebMD Fertility Center, joined us on Oct. 25, 2004, to talk about it.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

MEMBER QUESTION:
I went off the pill in January and cycles and ovulation had been regular. Then in September we started TTC and no period. So my last period was in August. I think I may have ovulated on Wednesday, but then on Friday and part of Saturday I had a brownish discharge. What is that from?

DR. AMOS:
The most important information to gather when you TTC is whether you ovulate or not. So you need to be clear if it happened, because everything in your cycle points towards whether and when you ovulated. Keeping a temperature chart helps you identifying this all-important information, and it will help you find out why you are spotting or missing a period.

Spotting generally can have many different reasons. They include hormonal issues, polyps, or infections, to just name a few. Having a temperature chart will help you find out more whether it's hormonal or not. And having your doctor examine you will help you find out if it's an infection or something else.

MEMBER QUESTION:
I'm almost certain I did ovulate. I had midcycle pain and clear egg white cervical mucous.

DR. AMOS:
I understand, but the temperature chart is a little more precise. Just pain or EWCM point in the right direction, but a biphasic curve is better.

MEMBER QUESTION:
How does Clomid work for low sperm count on men?

DR. AMOS:
There is a lot of controversy about Clomid for men. Instead of asking, "How does it work" you may first want to ask, "Does it work?" And the simple answer is that there is no sufficient evidence that Clomid works to improve the sperm count. There are no good studies showing it's effective.

MEMBER QUESTION:
I was on Depo-Provera for seven years (since I was 15) and I've been off it now for 18 months. My cycles are irregular, every 17 to 21 days apart, lasting 7 to 10 days with dark to brown blood. Is this normal? And can I still conceive? I'm only 22 years old.

DR. AMOS:
Your cycles are clearly not normal. Normal cycles last around 21 days, and there is normally ovulation with each cycle. So the first thing to do is find out whether and when you ovulate. You can do this (see above) by keeping a temperature chart.

Once you have charted and found out that there is a problem with ovulation, you should see your doctor, do some tests, and find out why you don't ovulate. Once the reason is found you can get treated to make you ovulate and help you get pregnant.

"Once you have charted and found out that there is a problem with ovulation, you should see your doctor, do some tests, and find out why you don't ovulate."

MEMBER QUESTION:
What are some supplements that my husband and I can take in order to increase sperm count and mobility for my husband, and also help with my hormone levels, etc.?

DR. AMOS:
First you should make sure his diet is OK, no alcohol, no smoking, and he is at the best weight. Then there are generally multivitamins and zinc, which can be helpful, and then there are some herbal supplements like FertilAid, which has a product for men and women. This herbal supplement includes all essential vitamins as well as some natural herbs that support fertility.

MEMBER QUESTION:
What about Ovulex and Amberoz?
MEMBER QUESTION:
I just turned 35. I've been trying to have a second child since 1999 with no luck, I've tried Clomid; my husband and I have been tested. We already have an 11-year-old so I know we could make babies. I just don't get what's happening. What are my chances now that I've turned 35?

DR. AMOS:
The first question to answer is, "What's the reason?"
  • Are you ovulating normally (Y/N)?
  • Is his sperm count OK (Y/N)?
  • Are your tubes open (Y/N)?
MEMBER:
It's unexplained infertility, and yes I'm ovulating. I do the temp thing. And yes to those questions.

DR. AMOS:
OK (should have said that right away). Unexplained infertility is diagnosed when everything seems OK; all tests are OK, and still no reason. Women with unexplained infertility can still get pregnant, but it takes longer. The fastest way to get pregnant with unexplained infertility is IVF. With IVF your chances are over 50% having a baby.

MEMBER QUESTION:
It was so easy with our first on our wedding night while on birth control!

DR. AMOS:
I understand. But all of our bodies change over time and, unfortunately, not always for the better. Good luck!


DR. AMOS:
As far as I know neither of these include a full vitamin supplement. The vitamin supplement helps you replenish you body if it's missing the essential nutrition.