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What Does Fertile Mean?
Article from medical experts from our clinic
2022-08-23

What Does Fertile Mean?

GENNET City Fertility believes in the importance of fertility awareness, and in helping all our patients to understand what it means to be fertile or infertile when starting the journey to parenthood. But what does “fertile” mean in the first place? 

What Does Being Fertile Mean?

For a person, being fertile means having the ability to naturally conceive children. About one in eight couples is unable to conceive naturally, meaning that most of the adult population is fertile. 

What Does “Fertile Window” Mean?

Women, or non-binary or transgender people who were assigned female at birth, will become fertile over a certain number of days in their menstrual cycle. This is the time known as the “fertile window”, or “pregnancy window”. For a woman wishing to get pregnant, these fertile days are the time she is most likely to succeed at conceiving. 

A man’s fertility, or the fertility of a non-binary or transgender person who was assigned male at birth, is different to that of a woman’s. As with female fertility it will decrease over time and as the person ages, but there is no “window” in which a man is fertile. He will continue to produce sperm throughout his lifetime and even though the health and quality of his sperm may decrease, it is still possible for him to father a child.

What Does it Mean to Be Fertile and Ovulating?

Being fertile and ovulating is not quite the same, though they do overlap. To be fertile and ovulating means to be able to conceive naturally, while experiencing ovulation as part of a regular menstrual cycle.  Technically speaking, most of a woman’s fertile days will take place just before ovulation happens, for around four or five days before a mature egg is released. This egg will then live for about 24 hours  after ovulation, making a total of six days in which a person is likely to get pregnant before and if this doesn’t happen menstruation begins and the cycle starts again.  Sperm can live inside a woman's body for up to  4 to 5 days.

Is it Possible to Get Pregnant on Your Period?

While getting pregnant on your period is unlikely, it is not impossible; because cycle lengths vary between women. It can be difficult to predict when exactly one person will be experiencing ovulation. This is why many experts will recommend tracking your period for a certain number of months in order to work out when you are likely to start menstruation, and working back from there to know when you are most likely to be ovulating.

If you would like a little more reassurance about getting your day of ovulation right, it is also possible to use an ovulation predictor kit. These are available online and in supermarkets.

When is the Best Time to Get Pregnant?

Egg cells tend to deteriorate quickly in the 24 hour window after they have been released, losing quality even as hours pass and making the chances of conception less likely. Sperm cells, on the other hand, are more resilient and are able to survive for up to five days in a woman’s reproductive system. As such, most experts will recommend that a couple have sex the day before ovulation takes place, in order to increase the chances of pregnancy.

If you need some assistance determining whether or not you are ovulating, alongside the results of ovulation tests, you can also look for a rise in basal body temperature and consistency in your cervical mucus. You could even have ultrasound scan based follicular monitoring to know the precise timings of your ovulation. Having a blood test for a hormone called ‘Progesterone’ one week  post ovulation can confirm whether or not you have ovulated.  Both of these can help women to identify and narrow down their fertile window if they are trying for a baby.

What Does it Mean to Be Fertile But Not Ovulating?

Just as a person can experience irregular periods, it is also possible to experience irregular ovulation. This means that you may be fertile but, on occasion, undergo a month in which ovulation doesn’t happen at all. This is known as an anovulatory cycle. 

What is an Anovulatory Cycle?

An anovulatory cycle occurs when a person’s ovaries and their pituitary gland (the hormone regulator at the base of the brain) don’t send the right signals to each other about the release of a mature egg. During this time, the person may experience some bleeding caused by the uterine lining building up but not being used, or a drop in the oestrogen hormone, but they will not go through “true” menstruation that month.

It is not possible to get pregnant without ovulation taking place, so pregnancy cannot occur during an anovulatory cycle. This means that you will have to wait until your cycle begins again to try and conceive.

You should also remember that occasionally having an anovulatory cycle is completely normal and will not be a cause for concern. They occur most often when a person is first starting to menstruate, or when they are approaching menopause, but can also happen at any time during the “in-between” years that a person will normally menstruate. 

For More Information on Your Fertility

If you would like to learn more about your own fertility, whether it’s so that you can start trying for a baby as soon as possible or even simply if you want to keep track of every aspect of your health, GENNET City Fertility will be glad to help. Our Female and Male Fertility Assessments are designed to be the straightforward tests you need to get a better understanding of your own fertility, and our discreet specialists will always be on hand to offer advice on lifestyle changes or recommendations for treatment as necessary.

Our Mini Consultations and Your Budget

You will even be invited for a free, 30-minute mini consultation and tour of our facilities when you get in touch with us. This means that if you are interested in finding out more but considering the costs involved before making a commitment to our clinic, there is no need to worry ‒ we will have you covered, so there is no need to hesitate if you have questions about fertility on your mind that only we can answer.

 

Article from medical experts from our clinic