Knowing what fertility is will help you conceive a baby – or prevent an unwanted pregnancy! The more you know about fertility, the more power you have. Especially if you’re a woman.
A reader emailed me, asking “what is fertility?” It’s perfect timing because of National Infertility Awareness Week (which is now over…so maybe the timing isn’t so perfect).
Women who are trying to get pregnant (or trying NOT to conceive) need to know the basics so they’re prepared for anything. Before we go into what fertility is and isn’t, I want to share a quip from Marilyn Monroe about staying hopeful if you’re trying to get pregnant…
“Just because you fail once, it doesn’t mean you’re going to fail at everything. keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself because if you don’t, then who will? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”
The vast majority of women trying to get pregnant DO eventually have a baby. If you’ve been trying for a long time, you may feel disheartened and discouraged because you want it so bad.
Stay hopeful and faithful. Pray. And, learn as much as you can about what fertility is and the causes of infertility – because the more you know, the more ready you’ll be.
What is Fertility?
Fertility is more than the number of children (live births) born per couple, per community, per population! Fertility is about a couple’s life together, their goals and dreams, their future, and even their relationship with God.
I found out that 68% of women expect to have children at some point in the future (from Resolve). That shocked me – I thought it’d be about 99%! And, women believe it’s easier to get pregnant than it actually is. That’s because they don’t know what fertility is, I guess.
Women are labelled “infertile” if they fail to achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sex, or 6 months if the woman is aged 35 or older. Medical and fertility experts don’t know much about the fertility of women between the ages 25 and 35, who have never been exposed to fertility treatments, and who are currently using birth control/family planning and are not actively trying to conceive. This is because they don’t seek help with their fertility, because they don’t need to.
Fertility problems occur at any age – for men AND women
For women, endometriosis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and irregular periods can hinder fertility and stop you from conceiving a baby. The best way to find out if you have fertility problems is to see a gynecologist – even if you haven’t had past problems with endometriosis, fibroids, or uterine abnormalities.
If your periods aren’t regular or if you have “female problems”, read How to Get Pregnant When You Have Irregular Periods.
For men, fertility problems can occur from day one! My husband was diagnosed with azoospermia (his body doesn’t produce sperm) a few years ago. It’s a genetic condition, which means he was born with it. Fertility isn’t just a woman’s issue; make sure your male partner is on top of his health.
Having lots of sex doesn’t guarantee pregnancy
Knowing what fertility is involves knowing when and when not to have sex. Medical experts don’t always agree when is the “best time” to have sex when you’re trying to conceive because it’s different for every woman, every couple.
“Intercourse on the day of ovulation offered the highest chance of pregnancy, but we did not know what was the best advice for the period leading up to ovulation or egg retrieval for IVF,” says Dr David Greening in How Often Should We Have Sex to Get Pregnant? “The optimal number of days of ejaculation might be more or less than seven days, but a week appears manageable and favorable. It seems safe to conclude that couples with relatively normal semen parameters should have sex daily for up to a week before the ovulation date. In the context of assisted reproduction, this simple treatment may assist in improving sperm quality and ultimately achieving a pregnancy.”
What are your fertility levels – what is fertility to YOU?
Are you learning what fertility is so you can get pregnant? Try a Digital Ovulation Test, which will test your ability to get pregnant by assessing your ovarian reserve. This is one of the first things you should do if you’re wondering what fertility is for you, and you can do it without having to see a doctor.
If you’re coping with infertility, visit RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. It’s a wonderful website that supports women who may face fertility problems and pregnancy challenges.