One of the most controversial areas in the field of reproductive medicine is the potential impact of psychological factors on pregnancy rates. Although there are a variety of old wives’ tales which support the notion that stress hampers reproduction function, this theory has been challenging to confirm. There have been dozens of studies which have investigated the relationship between psychological symptoms prior to and during ART cycles and subsequent pregnancy rates, with conflicting results. Some have shown that the more distressed the women prior to and during treatment, the lower the pregnancy rates, while other studies have not.
To improve the chances of conception, people can time when they have sexual intercourse to line up with when they are at their most fertile. Egg cells live for only 12–24 hours after ovulation, which means that timing sex for immediately before or after ovulation improves the chances of conception.
Medical studies has found that the first fraction of ejaculate contains the highest concentration sperm, and that these sperm move more effectively and are of a higher quality than those later in ejaculate. So, it is important for a male to ejaculate directly into their partner to ensure that these early sperm have a chance to travel to the egg. Using ovulation predictor tests, monitoring female signs of fertility such as cervical mucus, and having regular sexual intercourse may also increase the odds of conceiving.
A wide range of lifestyle and medical interventions can improve fertility, but fertility declines with age and time. This means that the earlier a couple seeks help for infertility, the greater their chances are of having a child.