Parenting · Pregnancy

Having a difficult time getting pregnant? You are not alone.

Pile of pregnancy tests

After becoming a couple in 2012, Peter* and Pooja* had their life planned out for the next few years, including  having their first baby in 2 years after buying their new home.  As soon as she missed her period Pooja became very focussed about buying ovulation kits and completing pregnancy tests, only to find out that the test was negative. Each month becoming more discouraging than the last.

Did you know?

  • 1 in 6 couples in Canada experience infertility.
  • In 30% of the cases, the cause is related to the male partner
  • In 40% of the cases, the cause is related to the female partner.

Some factors that may affect a person’s fertility:


  • We know that fertility decreases with age regardless of gender.
  • Speak to your doctor if you are:
    • 35 and under and have not become pregnant after one year of trying.
    • 35 and older and have been unsuccessful after 6 months of trying to get pregnant.

Hormonal imbalance:

  • Conditions such as, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affect 10% of women in their reproductive years and is the most common hormonal disorder that can affect a woman’s fertility. PCOS can cause an imbalance in hormones that can make it difficult to conceive. This imbalance in hormones can cause a woman to have irregular or no periods, excess hair growth and problems with controlling blood sugar. If you are experiencing these symptoms, speak to your doctor before trying to have a baby.


  • Difficulties when trying to become pregnant can be stressful. Stress can affect your hormones responsible for ovulation. If your stress is getting out of hand, take care of your mental health.

Body weight:

  • Being either underweight or overweight can affect your chances of conceiving. Being obese (BMI over 30) can affect your menstrual cycles and ovulation. In men, being overweight affects the health of your sperm. The good news is that even a small reduction in weight can increase your chances of becoming pregnant!

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs):

  • Untreated STIs can cause damage to your reproductive organs and affect your ability to have children. Remember, not all STIs have symptoms! Speak to your health care provider, visit a sexual health or STI clinic to get tested and treated..

Making an effort to be as healthy as possible before trying to conceive may increase your chances of getting pregnant.

If you have questions or concerns about your fertility or planning a pregnancy:

  • Consult with your health care provider
  • Connect with a Public Health Nurse via eChat or call (416) 338-7600
  • Consult with a Sexual Health InfoLine counsellor

*Names and events appearing in this article are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons or other real-life entities is purely coincidental.

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