Timing & Fertility

It is more common today for women to wait until their 30s to try getting pregnant. Their careers, education and other priorities sometimes take higher importance.  However, a woman’s most fertile time is in her mid 20s, when periods and ovulation are most regular.

Age and Your Fertility
A woman’s age is the biggest obstacle when it comes to pregnancy and infertility. Even though your fertility decreases after hitting age 30, it declines the most after age 37.  Your chances of conceiving decrease from 20% (over age 30) to 5% (age 40). Wondering when your most fertile time is? Here are a few tips to help understand your menstrual cycle and ovulation:

Learn All About Ovulation
Many infertility tests and treatment options have increased pregnancies in women as they age. Although many couples seek technology to conceive, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), they don’t think to track their ovulation- a key component to the conception process! Let’s review some facts about ovulation:

  • During ovulation, 1 or more eggs get released from a woman’s ovary. Conception occurs when the male sperm fertilized the egg.
  • About 20% of couples experiencing infertility are struggling due to not having intercourse during the time of ovulation
  • A woman’s egg lives for only 24 hours after ovulation, while a man’s sperm lives for a few days.  This makes it difficult to conceive in the correct timeframe.
  • To increases chances of conception, women should know when their most fertile time is.  This is usually a several-day period occurring the day after ovulation.
  • A man’s sperm can live in a woman’s reproductive tract until ovulation and fertilization happen. Nearly all pregnancies occur in healthy women during the 6 day period leading up to and ending at ovulation.

Here are some tips to determine your most fertile time to conceive:

  1. Chart your cycle on a calendar. Keep track of your menstrual cycle and ovulation on a calendar to visually see when the best time is.
  2. Take your Basal Body Temperature (BBT). The BBT is your temperature first thing when you wake up. Use a digital thermometer to take your temperature before you do any activity or get out of bed.  Normally, a woman’s BBT goes up almost one degree immediately after ovulation. You can do several charts to see a distinct pattern.
  3. Check the consistency of cervical mucus.   A woman’s cervix protects mucus to protect the body from bacteria and infection. During ovulation, the consistency of the mucus changes to allow sperm to enter the fallopian tubes. By keeping track of the changes in your cervical mucus, you may be able to find your most fertile time.
  4. Use the Sympto-Thermal Method. This method uses a combination of charting indicators to determine a woman’s most fertile time. Indicators with the Sympto-Thermal method could be taking your BBT and monitoring changes in cervical mucus.

Remember, none of these suggestions are fool proof. If you have an infection or are sick with a cold, that can negatively impact your chances of success.

Tests You Might Need
When a woman is most fertile, she has higher levels of estrogen. With an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH), a woman can predict that ovulation will occur within 24-36 hours.

A new approach for trying to conceive is a fertility monitor. This is conducted through a urine test and records a woman’s daily fertility levels (high, low, peak).

You may want to purchase an ovulation predictor kit to try at home. The kit measures your LH levels and can predict your most fertile time.  With this you can determine the right time for intercourse.

Other Factors May Cause Infertility
Even when a women is ovulating, there could be other factors affecting infertility.  Any of these can include:

  • Previous tubal ligation or surgery
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or infection previously diagnosed
  • Scar tissue left from a previous surgical procedure
  • Irregular or missed periods
  • Male factor infertility

When to See a Fertility Specialist
No matter how old you are or your unique medical situation, it’s never too early to discuss ovulation testing with your doctor. If you and/or your partner are over the age of 35 and have previously experienced any ovulation disorders, irregularity in your menstrual cycle, or potentially have male factor infertility, schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist today.