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When a couple decides to start a family, they usually remove any “pregnancy prevention” from their bedroom activities. Strangely enough, there’s a difference between this type of “trying to get pregnant” and TTC (trying to conceive) infertility.
But what is it?
How do you differentiate between the concept of “trying” and “TRYING?”
Furthermore, at what point do you move beyond just having tons of sex to actively working to conceive?
The acronym TTC, along with a plethora of other slang, nicknames, and abbreviations, helps potential parents put a label on their conception experience. What does it all mean, though? What do phrases like trying to conceive (TTC), infertility, big fat positive (BFP), two-week wait, and male factor fertility (MFF) have to do with each other?
Everyone’s TTC journey looks slightly different and involves various steps, requirements, and processes. We’re here to help you navigate all of these and learn the lingo. Let’s do this!
Let’s Start With the Basics: What Does “TTC” Mean?
TTC is an acronym for “trying to conceive.”
While you don’t usually see couples who’ve just decided to start a family running around talking about their TTC journey, the phrase is commonplace in infertility communities.
Whether you’re searching blog posts, medical journals, or message boards from infertility support groups, the concept of actively trying to get pregnant will pop up time and again.
When discussing the relationship between TTC and infertility, you’re no longer talking about a casual attempt to conceive a child. You likely mean you’re taking the necessary steps to overcome a fertility struggle in hopes of starting a family.
Whether you’re looking for TTC tips or how to TTC after miscarriage, all of these topics fall under the umbrella of TTC infertility.
Is a BFP (Big Fat Positive) Possible if You’re Dealing with Infertility?
Labeling someone infertile might seem like a finite diagnosis, but in reality, there are still ways to get pregnant.
Some of the most common fertility treatments and solutions include fertility tracking, using fertility drugs, like progesterone for pregnancy, and assisted reproductive technologies, i.e., IUI, IVF, and egg or sperm donation.
It’s crucial to remember, though, that these treatment options might not work the first time.
For example, there’s only a 20 – 35% success rate for most individual IVF cycles. By undergoing multiple cycles, you’ll increase your chances of getting pregnant over time. So yes, a BFP is possible even if you’re dealing with TTC infertility; it just might take some time. And you will need to keep in mind that not all infertility treatments lead to a baby for everyone trying (but oh, how we wish this could be the case!).
What Factors Could Lead to Someone Being TTC?
Any TTC journey will have a diverse collection of twists and turns as infertility is merely an umbrella term, not a specific diagnosis.
So, what does cause someone to have trouble getting pregnant?
We’ve heard tons of different infertility stories within our community. Some of the most common struggles we’ve seen people face include the following.
1. Advanced Age
Sadly, the chances of getting pregnant after 35 naturally are not so great. Statistics show that by the time a person turns 40, there’s only a 1-in-10 chance she’ll get pregnant each menstrual cycle.
While 35 seems very young, the body’s reproductive system begs to differ.
2. PCOS Infertility
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that causes irregular periods and increased male hormone (testosterone) levels. It affects up to 12% of the women in the United States.
Not every person has a hard time getting pregnant naturally with PCOS, but it is a common problem among those of us who suffer from it, myself included.
3. Uterine Problems
Infertility could become a side effect if you struggle with things like uterine polyps, uterine fibroids, or endometriosis. These conditions can often make it hard to conceive or cause recurrent miscarriages.
4. Male Factor Infertility
Infertility is not strictly a female problem. In fact, being TTC with male factor infertility is the problem in 40-50% of couples hoping to get pregnant.
From poor sperm motility to low sperm counts, there are several reasons men deal with fertility challenges. Thankfully, there are plenty of TTC infertility treatments for males, too.
5. TTC with Unexplained Infertility
One of the most disappointing and frustrating causes of conception troubles is unexplained infertility, affecting anywhere from 15 – 30% of people.
No matter how in-depth a person’s infertility workup might be, if they’re TTC with unexplained infertility, there’s not going to be a concrete reason they can’t get pregnant. This is a challenging condition because doctors don’t necessarily know what they’re treating.
If standard infertility treatment options aren’t working, it can leave your medical team at a loss for options.
6. Secondary Infertility
Despite successfully getting pregnant and having a baby in the past, there’s no rule stating you won’t have a hard time getting pregnant in the future. When this happens, it’s known as secondary infertility. This can be frustrating as all get-out because your body has conceived before–what’s the problem now??
What Treatments Are Available When You’re TTC Infertility?
Once you’ve undergone general fertility testing, your medical provider will work with you to decide which infertility treatment options provide the best chances of success during your TTC journey.
Whether you’re trying to conceive with male factor infertility, uterine problems, premature ovarian failure, or other causes, your doctor might consider one of the following treatment protocols:
- Fertility drugs, such as ovulation stimulants, i.e., Clomid
- Gynecologic surgeries
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
- Using donor eggs or sperm
Natural Solutions for Your TTC Journey
It’s undeniable that most TTC infertility treatments are physically, mentally, and financially draining. That’s why so many people search for natural ways to improve their chances of conceiving–and likely why you are reading this article.
Whether you use these methods on their own or in addition to various fertility treatments, you might find these techniques helpful. We sure hope so!
1. Decrease Your Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
Sure, that nightly glass of wine might seem to help you through the challenges of TTC infertility. However, did you know that drinking while trying to conceive can cause adverse effects on your fertility? Studies show people who drink during their menstrual cycle are 50% less likely to get pregnant.
And while many scientists don’t believe caffeine itself has many effects on your fertility, it can enhance the risks of conception problems if you’re using it while drinking alcohol.
You don’t necessarily have to cut out coffee and alcohol altogether, but limiting your intake is beneficial when you hope to get pregnant.
2. Practice Stress Management
We know, we know…this is wayyyy easier said than done! It would be SO nice to simply tell our bodies and minds to relax and have them just do it.
But despite the natural anxiety that can come with trying to get pregnant, there’s a clear connection between stress and infertility. Studies show that women who control their stress levels throughout infertility treatments have a higher chance of positive pregnancy tests.
Are you wondering what you can do to decrease your stress levels naturally? Why not consider the following?
- Limit caffeine
- Schedule an acupuncture appointment
- Practice meditation and/or yoga
- Spend time with family and friends
- Take up a hobby
- Go on dates with your partner
Another great way to control your stress is to find dependable infertility support. While our loved ones might not always know what to say to infertile couples, there are plenty of in-person and online fertility support groups you can join.
3. Consume Fertility-Friendly Foods
Whether you’re TTC with unexplained infertility or there’s a clear-cut reason for your troubles, many people believe that adding certain foods to your diet can help.
Some of the most popular additions to a fertility-friendly diet include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole Grains
- Low-fat dairy
- Foods rich in DHA/Omega-3
- Lean meats
You should also be taking a high-quality prenatal vitamin during your TTC journey.
Your Comprehensive TTC Abbreviation List
While TTC is one of the most frequently used abbreviations in the infertility community, it’s not the only one. We’ve put together a “TTC abbreviation list” to help you figure out what the heck everyone is talking about on those websites, blogs, and forums.
- BFP: Meaning pregnancy or “big fat positive”– this acronym is used to announce a positive pregnancy test
- BFN: “Big fat negative” – meaning a negative pregnancy test
- 2WW: “Two week wait” – This is the period after ovulation or an IUI or IVF transfer when you’re waiting to take a pregnancy test.
- PUPO: “Pregnant until proved otherwise” – You might say this while you’re waiting to take a test. It means you’ve done everything you can to become pregnant, so you believe you are until you know differently.
- MFF: “Male Factor Fertility” – Used when a couple struggles with male fertility problems.
- AF: “Aunt Flow” – Common nickname for your period.
- BBT: “Basal Body Temperature” – Women often use their BBT for ovulation tracking purposes.
- EPT: “Early Pregnancy Test” – Referring to a person who takes a pregnancy test before the two week wait is up.
- DPT: “Days Post Transfer” – You’ll often see this abbreviation when someone is referring to how they’re feeling or what they’re experiencing after an embryo transfer or IUI.
- POAS: “Pee on a Stick” – This one means…well, I’m sure you can figure out what it means!
- MC: “Miscarriage” – You might also see people use “RMC” for recurrent miscarriage or “RPL” for recurrent pregnancy loss.
TTC & Infertility – Two Different Topics with a Deep Connection
So, the moral of the story is, yes, you can start trying to conceive without any hint of infertility in your path. Alternatively, though, the active concept of TTC and infertility are usually connected – whether we want them to be or not.
It’s vital to understand that just because you’re facing a TTC journey doesn’t mean that a family isn’t in your future.
There are so many options, solutions, and techniques available to help you overcome your struggles and start the family you’ve been dreaming of.
Does the concept of TTC infertility confuse you? Are there other acronyms you’ve come across that you don’t understand? Tell us in the comments!
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.