- Your fertility is mostly determined by genetics, which influences how many eggs you are born with
Doctors believe that the number of eggs you have at birth determines the length of time you will remain fertile. At birth, women have about two million eggs in their ovaries. For every egg ovulated during your reproductive life, about 1,000 eggs undergo programmed cell death. Other things, such as smoking cigarettes and certain types of chemotherapy, can accelerate egg cell death and promote an earlier menopause.
- Regular menstrual cycles are a sign of regular ovulation
Most women have regular cycles lasting between 24 and 35 days. This is usually a sign of regular, predictable ovulation. Women who do not ovulate regularly have irregular menstrual cycles. Those who do not ovulate at all may have a genetic condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
- Basal temperature charting does not predict ovulation
An older method of tracking ovulation involves taking your oral body temperature each morning before getting out of bed. This is called basal body temperature. This method is used to spot a rise in basal temperature, which is a sign that progesterone is being produced. The main problem with using this method is that your temperature rises after ovulation has already occurred. This makes it more difficult to time intercourse at an optimal time for conception. A better method is to use over-the-counter urine ovulation predictor test kits such as Clearblue Easy. These kits test for the hormone that prompts ovulation, which is called luteinizing hormone (LH).
- Most women with blocked fallopian tubes are completely unaware they may have had a prior pelvic infection
About 10 percent of infertility cases are due to tubal disease, either complete blockage or pelvic scarring causing tubal malfunction. One major cause of tubal disease is a prior pelvic infection from a sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia. These infections can cause so few symptoms that you may be completely unaware your tubes are affected.
- In most cases, stress does not cause infertility
Except in rare cases of extreme physical or emotional distress, women will keep ovulating regularly. Conceiving while on vacation is likely less about relaxation than about coincidence and good timing of sex.
- By age 44, most women are infertile, even if they are still ovulating regularly
Even with significant fertility treatment, rates of conception are very low after age 43. Most women who conceive in their mid-40’s with fertility treatment are using donated eggs from younger women.
- Having fathered a pregnancy in the past does not guarantee fertility
Sperm counts can change quite a bit with time, so never assume that a prior pregnancy guarantees fertile sperm. Obtaining a semen analysis is the only way to be sure the sperm are still healthy!
- For the most part, diet has little or nothing to do with fertility
Despite popular press, there is little scientific data showing that a particular diet or food promotes fertility. One limited study did suggest a Mediterranean diet with olive oil, fish and legumes may help promote fertility.
- Vitamin D may improve results of fertility treatments
A recent study from the University of Southern California suggested that women who were undergoing fertility treatments, but had low vitamin D levels, might have lower rates of conception. This vitamin is also essential during pregnancy. At Pacific Fertility Center, we recommend our patients take 2,000-4,000 IU per day.
- Being either underweight or overweight is clearly linked with lowered levels of fertility
The evidence in recent years is that obesity is clearly linked with a longer time to conception. Having a body mass index less than 18 or over 32 is associated with problems ovulating and conceiving, as well as problems during pregnancy.
A new government study shows the percentage of married couples having trouble conceiving has actually dropped slightly in recent years. The percentage of married women aged 15–44 who were infertile fell from 8.5% in 1982 to 6.0% in 2006–2010. Among married, nulliparous women aged 35–44, the percentage infertile declined from 44% in 1982 to 27% in 2006–2010, reflecting greater delays in childbearing over this period.
Sources ans more informations:
- Your Fertility: 10 Things You May Not Know,
Carolyn R. Givens, M.D., PFC_Fertility blog, November 14, 2012.
- Infertility down slightly among married US women,
bigstory, by Mike Stobbe, AP medical writer, 14 Aug 2013.
- Infertility and Impaired Fecundity in the United States, 1982–2010: Data From the National Survey of Family Growth, CDC, 14/8/2003
- All our posts tagged IVF and Pregnancy
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