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Understanding Fertility

Despite what your high school health teacher may have told you, getting pregnant (or getting someone else pregnant) isn’t always that simple. Today, nearly 18% of heterosexual couples struggle with infertility either because of female factors, male factors, or a combination of both.

Learning About Your Fertility

Understanding Your Fertility Levels

Whether you and your partner are ready to start trying or you’re simply interested in learning more so that you’re better equipped when the time does come around, it’s so important to learn about your (or your partner’s) fertility levels.

If you’ve been trying for six months or longer but still haven’t gotten pregnant, it may mean that your fertility levels are slightly lower-than-average.

Though testing a woman’s fertility isn’t an exact science, doctors can gain a good understanding of your levels based on:

  • A conversation about your medical history. If, for example, you recently came off birth control, your fertility may be temporarily low. Talking with your doctor about fertility problems within your family or a history of drug and alcohol use can also give him a better understanding of your levels.
  • A sonogram (ultrasound image). For a more precise understanding of your fertility levels, your doctor may perform a sonogram to rule out any potential issues and/or check to see how many eggs are present in your ovaries.
  • Hormone blood tests. Certain blood tests can also evaluate your egg supply and shed light on your ovarian function.

Potential Signs of Female Infertility

It’s important to remember that the definition of infertility is, “not getting pregnant despite having carefully timed, unprotected sex for one year.” If you do struggle with infertility, it does not mean that it’s impossible for you to get pregnant or have children. Infertility is very common and can be treated or managed in several different ways, from IVF treatments to the use of a donor egg.

If you notice any of the following, you should speak with your doctor right away:

  • Missed periods. If you often go months without getting your period, it could be a sign that you’re also not ovulating. Missed periods could also be caused by malnutrition or severe anxiety.
  • Suddenly heavy periods. You know your body better than anyone else. If you’ve always had relatively heavy periods, you likely have nothing to worry about. However, if your period suddenly became heavy in your late 20s or 30s, something may have changed within your body.
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain. Hormones can have a major impact on your weight, so a sudden change might be a sign of a hormone imbalance.
  • The color of your menstrual blood. Like a woman’s flow, there’s no one “normal” color for menstrual blood. But if yours has always been light and then turns dark in your 20s and 30s (or vice versa), it could be a sign of an infection or endometriosis.

How Ovulation Affects Your Chances of Getting Pregnant

Before a woman can get pregnant, she has to ovulate — release a mature egg that’s ready to be fertilized (joined by sperm cells). That egg will then sit, waiting to be fertilized, for about 24 hours. If it isn’t, it’ll begin to breakdown and menstruation will begin about two weeks later.

If a woman ovulates irregularly or not at all (anovulation), she may struggle to get pregnant.

The Prevalence of Male Infertility

When it comes to fertility, infertility, and having children in general, the conversation almost always revolves around women. But would you believe it if we told you that 1/3 of infertility cases are solely attributed to male factors (1/3 are attributed to solely female factors and 1/3 are said to be due to both male and female factors)?

Male infertility is much more common than many people realize, and it’s largely because it’s not talked about as much as female infertility.

A man may not be able to get his partner pregnant if he has:

  • A low sperm count (less than 15 million/mL).
  • Unhealthy or abnormally shaped sperm.
  • Weak or slow-moving sperm.

And just like women, a man’s infertility can be caused by several factors, ranging from genetic and environmental (ie. radiation exposure) to lifestyle (ie. smoking or alcohol use).

Boosting Your Fertility Levels (Male and Female)

While there are some things you can’t change, like your age and family history, you may be able to boost your fertility levels by making changes to your everyday life.

Men and women can benefit from:

  • Exercising regularly.
  • Eating a diet high in protein, fiber, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Avoiding alcohol.
  • Practicing good mental health.

Asian Egg Bank was established to satisfy the ever-rising demand for Asian egg donors. Thanks to rigorous quality and screening standards, we can offer the highest quality eggs and surrogacy services to improve the chances of a successful pregnancy.