Struggling to have a baby is a very personal and emotional problem, and is something that is not often shared with friends or even relatives. For this reason, it can feel like a lonely journey. If this sounds like you, then please rest assured that you are not alone. It is estimated that 1 in 6 couples in Western countries experience fertility challenges and this number is growing. More and more couples are finding it difficult to have a baby and half of women struggling with fertility issues find it the most stressful experience of their lives.

A lot of women are now looking to start a family later in life. This is usually after they have built up their career, saved a deposit for a property and finally found a partner. At this point, mentally and emotionally, many women are in a better place to settle down and have a child. It can therefore come as a real shock to find that their body may have become weaker and is struggling to conceive and maintain a pregnancy.

If you’re reading this book then you’ve most likely tried the natural route but still haven’t had a baby. We all want the natural route to work and find it hard to accept when it doesn’t. It can feel as though our bodies have forsaken us at a point in our lives when we are emotionally ready to have a child. This is where couples, and most often women, start to project-manage their fertility treatment and decide what to do next.

The guidance within this book can greatly increase your chances of having a baby naturally. For some couples this will be enough. Others may need a helping hand with acupuncture and Chinese herbs and some will need even more help by using assisted reproductive technologies, such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).

The length of time couples try to conceive naturally varies. For some it can be a few months and for others it’s a few years. It’s a personal choice. Until you fall pregnant, it can often feel like the rest of your life is on hold, with events such as holidays and weddings delayed until pregnancy is achieved. This focus and pressure can negatively affect fertility by causing frustration and stress, which can impact the normal balance of hormones within the body.

After trying naturally for a period of time, couples often make the decision to jump to IVF in an effort to conceive and get their lives back. IVF offers a ‘process’ – a start and an end with a projected success rate. It’s this that attracts most couples to IVF, as trying naturally can seem like it’s open-ended. However, due to the side effects of IVF, it should only be used as a last resort.