Parenting / 7 September 2016, 11:00am / COLIN FERNANDEZ
London - When you’re trying to conceive a baby, timing is crucial.
But women are best off not telling their partner they are at their most fertile day of the month because this cause him “performance anxiety”, a leading fertility expert has warned.
Allan Pacey, professor of andrology at Sheffield University, said many women track their fertility across the month on apps and spreadsheets to calculate the ideal 24-hour window to conceive.
Others use gadgets that can test hormone levels, and monitor temperature.
But he said too much planning can kill the mood for many couples and put the man off sex – which may lower the chances the woman will become pregnant.
Professor Pacey said: “One of the biggest issues, I think, is men suffering from performance anxiety, or just being turned off, when women are fixated on a time or a date, a day or night which she has decided is the best time to try [for a baby].
“There’s no problem with women using data if it helps them plan things better, but you don’t want to undo that benefit by sharing too much of that with him, and risk putting him off.”
Speaking at the annual meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology, in Helsinki, Finland, he added: “The single biggest idea I hear when couples are talking is that they have got to monitor ovulation and they’ve got to save it up.
“So you have a disconnection between couples, where the man is told you can’t ejaculate for a fortnight because, two weeks on Tuesday, she reckons she is going to ovulate. The next thing that happens is he’s at work, all stressed and she sends him a text saying, ‘You’ve got to come home now.’
“He gets wound up in the traffic, he bursts through the door and she’s on him like a panther, and it just is not, conducive to healthy relationships… and he’s not allowed to have a drink in all this either.”
Professor Pacey continued: “So what I say in all the talks that I give is, ‘Ladies you are far cleverer than that. Buy your kit from Boots, plan your evening, but just don’t tell him about it. Get him home. Curry on. Beer. Then jump on him and you’ll get what you want and he won’t know any different.’”
He said “beer and curry” were optional, adding: “It’s whatever tickles his fancy.”
Professor Pacey continued: “I think this whole fixation on sex frequency and positions and vitamins and ovulation detection just causes strain and strife.”
Other research presented at the meeting showed that couples who undergo IVF suffer a marked deterioration of quality in their sex life.
The researchers, who interviewed 132 women and 60 men, said frequency of sex decreased in 46 percent of couples while sexual desire fell in 20 percent.
The study by Hana Visnova, of the IVF Cube Fertility Clinic in Prague, and others found that in one in five cases, women trying to get pregnant with IVF became depressed.