Infertility Facts

After the myths come the facts. Fertility, along with infertility is a complex subject so here are just a few basic facts for couples who are trying to conceive.

For Women

Fertility for you starts from your first period up until the menopause. You have regular monthly cycles which last for about 28 days and are divided into the following 4 stages:

  • Follicular phase
  • Ovulation
  • Luteal phase
  • Menstruation

Ovulation is the stage you are most concerned with. During this short phase an egg is released from your ovaries and travels down the Fallopian tubes. This is the ideal time to have sexual intercourse although you can have sex 3 days before ovulation and still conceive.

Sperm from the man stays in the woman’s body for 24 to 72 hours so consider having intercourse a day or two before ovulation.

A good way of detecting ovulation is to use an ovulation prediction kit. This kit can help to detect the luteinizing hormone surge which occurs just before ovulation. Raised levels of this hormone help to raise oestrogen levels which cause ovulation. If you can use this kit to monitor the levels of this luteinizing hormone then you should be able to anticipate your ovulation phase.

If the egg isn’t fertilised in that time then it is released, along with the lining of the uterus during menstruation.

For Men

The man plays a very important role in fertilisation. If you are a man reading this then you may feel that much of the information available is directed towards the woman, but you are as equally important in the process.

Male infertility accounts for around 20 to 25% of infertility cases so it is more common than you think. It can happen for a variety of reasons, many of which are related to sperm count, quality and health.

These include your diet, alcohol intake, smoking; tight underwear and certain types of exercise such as cycling! Other inclusions are certain medical conditions and sexually transmitted diseases.

In regard to how efficient normal fertility is, you are looking at a
15-20% ‘monthly’ success rate which isn’t very high. So you can see what it takes quite a long time to conceive.

Around 70% of healthy couples (with no fertility problems) will have conceived after 6 months. This rises to 85% after a year and as much as 95% after 2 years of trying to conceive.

A successful fertilisation depends on the perfect combination of egg and sperm. But, things can go wrong.

Common infertility problems are:

  • Ovulation (10-15% of cases)
  • Tubal blockage (30-40% of cases)
  • Endometriosis (30-40% of cases)
  • Sperm problems (30-40% of cases)
  • Unexplained (15% of cases)

To learn more visit our Female Infertility and Male Infertility sections.

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