Trying to conceive (TTC)

Trying to conceive (TTC) is a term commonly used to describe couples or individuals actively attempting to get pregnant. "TTC" often refers to the entire journey involved with achieving pregnancy, in addition to the act of unprotected sexual intercourse itself. This can include tracking menstrual cycles and ovulation, testing sperm quality, researching diets, and fertility treatments.

What is trying to conceive?

When one or two people are trying to conceive, they’re attempting to become pregnant to have a child. Trying to conceive is often abbreviated in fertility circles as TTC.

The process of trying to conceive

Having sexual intercourse without birth control may result in a pregnancy at certain times of the month. People with ovaries can track their menstrual cycle to determine their fertile window, the point each month when they have the highest chance of getting pregnant.

On average, the menstrual cycle lasts for 28 days, though it varies for different people. During this cycle, a person or couple is most likely to conceive if they have sex or attempt pregnancy during the 6 days (approximately) before ovulation (when an egg is released from an ovary and can be fertilized by sperm). Ovulation occurs around two weeks before the start of the person’s period.

Trying to conceive and male fertility

In couples that are unable to conceive, male fertility issues are the cause around one-third to one-half of the time. Male fertility can be assessed with a semen analysis, which examines the number of sperm, their morphology (standard shape), and their motility (movement). If male infertility is present, it may be able to be treated, or you may use options like assisted reproductive technology to help you conceive.

When to see a specialist while trying to conceive

In general, if the partner with ovaries is under age 35, they should see a fertility specialist after 1 year of trying to conceive. If they’re aged 35 and above, they should only wait 6 months before talking to a specialist.

It’s recommended to see a specialist right away if male factor infertility appears to be the issue, or if the birthing person has experienced any of the following:

  • endometriosis
  • painful, irregular, or no menstrual periods
  • pelvic inflammatory disease

history of two or more miscarriages

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