According to Lorraine's exclusive survey more than 7 in 10 of you know someone who is affected by fertility problems and more than 1 in 4 of you say it took you more than a year to get pregnant.
Baby making expert Zita West joins us to discuss the issues around fertility and offers us some tips. We're also joined by our resident doctor Hilary Jones.
Tips to increase your fertility
Change your eating habits for the better. This is not about dieting but about good nutrition. We all struggle with sweet cravings (new reports state that on average someone eats 10kg of choclate a year) and this affects our blood sugar balance - we need balanced blood sugars for balanced hormones which in turn contribute to quality egg health.
What women can do to help themselves is to ensure their diet has plenty of protein, which is the building blocks for egg quality and health. Their diet should also include essential fats which they can get from fish, nuts, seeds etc and include plenty of fruit and vegetables (ideally they should be multi coloured) which are full of antioxidants which will in turn protect the eggs from free radical damage.
Kick your bad habits, including smoking and drinking caffeine ans alcohol. Studies show that you will get pregnant quicker if you give up alcohol. Excess booze causes increased free radicals in the body and is damaging to both eggs and sperm. If you simply can't cut it out altogether then radically reduce your intake.
It is also advisable to limit your caffeine as it has been linked to miscarriage. A recent study found that women who drank more than 200mg of caffeine a day doubled their risk of miscarriage, compared with women who drank no caffeine at all. (This includes fizzy drinks and coffee and tea).
Smoking is an absolute no no!
Fertility window - have more sex!
Know your ovulation window. Knowing when you are likely to get pregnant is one of the biggest pressures for couples. The fertile window is fivr days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation, but don't forget about the sperm. If a couple is having sex at least three times a week they are ensuring a constant flow of sperm into the fallopian tubes ready for ovulation. Common mistakes couples make is to save up the sperm as they think it will be stronger, which is not the case, and also not having any sex in the second half of their cycle. So by the time they gear up to have sex again (if the sperm has not been turned over) most of it will be dead.
Dr Hilary says:
If a couple has done all they can do to improve their fertility chances through the lifestyle changes Zita mentioned, and they still havent conceived after a year, then they should visit their GP. 85 per cent of couples conceive within the first year. 95 per cent of young couples conceive after two years.
However, if they are over 36 years old then maybe they should visit their GP sooner. The GP can do some early tests and discuss any outstanding lifestyle issues, like weight reduction, reducing their alcohol intake and of course stopping smoking. They will ask about previous medical history such as have the had children before; did they suffer any miscarriages; have they had any sexually transmitted diseases? They would also normally do a pelvic examination on the woman, test for Chlamydia and do a blood test on the man and the woman to check their hormone levels.
If they cant see what's wrong with the couple they will be referred to an infertility clinic at the hospital. Most people under 42 years of age are entitled to one or two courses of fertility treatment on the NHS. After that they would probably need to go private.