4 Fertility Facts

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Much of what women learn about reproduction focuses on how easy it is to become pregnant, and as a result many of us spend a good amount of effort trying not to get pregnant until we’re truly ready for a baby. So we’re often surprised to find it’s not always easy to conceive when the time comes. Here are four fertility facts you should know.


FACT 1: Age matters


Women often postpone childbearing until after age 35. Girls are born with more than a million eggs in their ovaries – by puberty, only about 300,000 remain, degenerating with time. Fertility can begin to decline in your late 20s and deteriorates significantly after age 35. A healthy 30-year-old woman has a 20 percent chance of conceiving each month. By age 40, it’s just 5 percent.


FACT 2: You fertile days are few


You’re most fertile about five to seven days each month. A couple should aim to have intercourse around the time of ovulation to become pregnant. Try some of these strategies to determine when you’re most fertile.


• Track your menstrual cycle on a calendar for several months to better estimate ovulation.


• Chart your daily basal (at-rest) body temperature. A slight spike in temperature signals ovulation. Monitor the readings for several months and look for a pattern.


• Watch for high changes in cervical mucus, which indicate when you’re most fertile.


• Try a home ovulation test. It measures luteinizing hormone level, which triggers ovulation.


FACT 3: Infertility is a medical problem


Fertility can be affected by:


– an ovulation disorder


– blocked fallopian tubes


– endometriosis


– uterine fibroids


– pelvic inflammatory disease


– polycystic ovarian disease


Tobacco and alcohol use, being obese or underweight, athletic training and having an eating disorder can affect conception, too.


FACT 4: Infertility can happen at any time


For women who have children, a delay in conceiving again can be surprising. Secondary infertility or the inability to conceive after giving birth to one or more children is often caused by the same factors that cause primary infertility in couples who’ve never had a baby.


“Pregnancy is the result of a chain of events in which every step must go right,” says Dr. Brad Hurst, a reproductive endocrinologist at CMC Women’s Institute. “The more you know about your reproductive health, the better you can maximize your chances of starting or adding to your family.”


For more information, visit www.cmc-womensinstitute.org.


Source: Carolinas HealthCare System.