For some lucky couples, the “Fertile Myrtles” of procreation, getting pregnant involves candles and a month or two of enjoyable, yet purposeful sex. They may never know exactly when ovulation occurs, or how miraculous it is that out of millions of sperm, one strong swimmer arrives at the fallopian tube precisely when a single egg is ready. Timing can be everything. However, for 1 in 8 couples, a disease called infertility can make it impossible to get pregnant even with perfectly timed intercourse. Infertility, caused by ovulation disorders, blocked fallopian tubes, PCOS, abnormal sperm, or a myriad of other conditions, requires medical attention, not a basal temperature chart or advice from well meaning friends to take a vacation.
Texas Fertility Center specializes in dealing with couples reeling from months of frustration and failed attempts. In the hope of helping those couples who may need a little encouragment, the doctors at Texas Fertility Center wish to share the ABCs of the birds and bees so that couples with no obvious cause of infertility can increase their odds of getting pregnant each month.
Learn the Reproductive Facts
A woman ovulates once a month, generally 12-14 days after the start of her period. This day may vary from woman to woman or even from month to month, so consult your obgyn or track your menstrual cycle with an over-the-counter ovulation predictor kit.
Since no accurate over the counter method yet exists to test for sperm quality, ovulation tests are your best bet for ruling out a basic barrier to getting pregnant. You’ll increase your chances for getting pregnant by having intercourse every other day around the time of ovulation. Here are some interesting facts about fertilization:
• An egg survives in the fallopian tube for 24 hours.
• Sperm survive in a woman’s reproductive tract for up to five days, but they can typically only fertilize an egg for 24-48 hours.
If you know when you ovulate, you schedule your romantic interludes accordingly, and you still aren’t pregnant after one year, consider requesting a semen analysis at a fertility clinic. Male infertility (low sperm count, few moving sperm, or a high concentration of abnormally shaped sperm) accounts for nearly 40 percent of all cases of infertility.
Protect Your Fertility
In addition to timing intercourse, you can take other steps to protect your fertility. Women should consult with their doctor to make sure that their vaccinations are up-to-date and they should begin taking a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid. Other pro-active steps include lifestyle modifications such as eliminating bad behaviors like smoking, illicit drug use, and excessive alcohol intake, while encouraging healthy behaviors like exercise and maintain a healthy diet.
A consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist (fertility specialist) at Texas Fertility Center can put you on the right path to pregnancy. If you have tried for more than one year to get pregnant on your own (six months if you are over 35), Texas Fertility Center recommends a basic fertility workup. Although there should always be romance in love making, understanding the science behind getting pregnant can make you more successful at baby making.