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Starting a family takes a lot of time and consideration before moving forward with this next chapter of your lives together. However, for some couples, that opportunity may have to wait for some time and, in some cases, be delayed by difficulties in conception.

It’s important to know that whatever the situation, there are ways to create the family you have always desired through simple processes, health evaluations, and deep breaths. Here are some tips for older parents who are on the journey towards building the family of their dreams.

1. Prioritize your health.

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For couples trying to conceive, it is important for both of you to pay attention to your bodies. Maintaining a healthy body weight assures greater homeostasis in the body for internal functions to carry out in a steadier fashion.

Women should keep track of their menstrual cycle to recognize the peak days of ovulation that increase the chances of conception, while men should look into ways to boost their sex drive, as sometimes performing under the pressure of a specific day can cause erectile dysfunction.

Both mother and father-to-be should consult their primary care physician for a routine checkup to make sure that they are in the best health possible to focus on conception. After routine care, a doctor could offer some advice on family planning or redirect a patient to a specialist for follow-up care if they notice a medical issue that could cause a hitch in trying to get pregnant.

2. Set aside time and space for baby.

If it’s currently just you and your partner in a space fit for two, it may be time to consider expanding for a newborn that’s hopefully on the way. What you should consider before purchasing your first house is the amount of space you’ll need to properly care for a baby and allow them to grow for their future.

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Beyond that, you should consider your personal finances, and if they can accommodate the expansion of your family, while also paving the way for purchasing a new home, moving, and furnishing that space.

Time is also of the essence when it comes to your newborn. Do some investigating with your employers as to their policies regarding maternity and paternity leave, or even a work from a home option down the line. It is also important to look at health insurance options, as you expand your family.

3. Consider infertility specialists.

If you and your partner are still having trouble conceiving after a year of trying, it may be time for both of you to consult an infertility specialist.

For women, changes in the menstrual cycle can be a sign of infertility, especially in relation to your period. Be sure to check for changes in your flow, if bleeding is heavier or lighter than usual. You should also monitor the length of your symptoms and the days in between its arrival each month. Be sure to also point out to your doctor any disappearance of your period, or an increase in pain.

Female infertility can also be caused by a hormone problem, which comes with changes to the skin or hair loss, along with various other symptoms that could be linked to an estrogen imbalance.

For men, the symptoms are not as omnipresent, and a bit vague for recognizing infertility. Among the noted signs that a man should monitor for are in relation to a slow down in sex drive, brought on by a steep drop in testosterone. This is also seen in the guise of erectile dysfunction. Men should also consistently conduct self-checks on their testicles, feeling for lumps and swelling, and should make note of any new pain experienced below the belt.

4. Consider implementing some lifestyle changes.

While infertility specialists will lay out several options to help boost the chance of conception, there are some simple lifestyle changes that have been linked to increasing the chances of pregnancy.

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For men, it is recommended that if you are a smoker, consider a cessation program or other treatments to help quit. Smokers tend to see lower sperm counts, with those sperm not being properly formed. Reducing alcohol consumption can also help boost sperm count, and can help alleviate erectile dysfunction. You don’t have to quit drinking altogether; a glass of wine and a beer every now and then isn’t going to do damage, but drinking to excess will have a greater impact on the numbers.

Of course, there is also avoiding overheating. Be sure to opt for looser fitting pants, and boxers instead of briefs, as elevated temperatures around the scrotum can reduce sperm production. Medical professionals also suggest avoiding hot tubs and saunas.

For women, eliminating smoking and reducing alcohol consumption is also recommended. Doctors also ask that women looking to conceive try to limit their caffeine intake. While there’s no exact determination of how much caffeine is too much, doctors have suggested limiting it to 200 milligrams per day, which is roughly two 8-ounce cups of coffee.

5. Evaluate your treatment options.

Sometimes both partners need to evaluate treatment options, or just one person to proceed with a better chance of conceiving a child. These treatments have made incredible strides in recent years thanks to technological advances in correcting infertility.

Fertility treatments can include medications that help with hormonal production and ovulation for women. Assisted Reproductive Technology, or ART, includes procedures that make it easier for sperm to fertilize an egg, and help the egg to implant in the uterine lining. This includes intrauterine insemination (IUI), which takes healthy sperm and inserts it directly into the uterus when a woman is ovulating. There’s also in vitro fertilization (IVF), wherein eggs are taken from the ovaries, fertilized by sperm in a lab, to develop into an embryo. Those embryos are then placed in the uterus.

For men, specialized sperm function testing and even a testicular biopsy can be conducted. That biopsy can determine if there is a blockage or problem with sperm transport. A scrotal ultrasound can also determine any underlying issues with supporting structures within the testicles. You may also consider hormone testing to determine if testosterone levels are sluggish and could be inhibiting sperm production.

6. Find doctors you can trust.

The road to conception can be one with hurdles and difficulties, so it is important that you find medical specialists that you are comfortable with and are with you every step of the journey. Be sure to find specialists that provide the personalized attention you and your partner deserve in your quest to conceive.

Now, more than ever, we are seeing recognition for doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, who have fought vigorously on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though they may be exhausted, they continue to provide the utmost in patient care every step of the way.

John Foresi, CEO of Venterra Realty, sought to recognize the Health Care Heroes within the apartment communities owned by his company. Venterra asked for residents to nominate those in their communities who are in the medical field to be recognized for their efforts, awarded with gift cards and T-shirts honoring their work in these trying times. In addition to residents already living at Venterra communities, the company also offered to waive deposits on new leases with approved credit for any frontline worker at all 60 of their communities across the United States.

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