Fertility is a measure of a woman’s ability to conceive and bear a child. Fertility tests are performed to determine the level of fertility and, depending on the results, to prescribe the appropriate treatment. There are several ways to determine the level, as well as to increase it.
Fertility is the ability of a woman or man to have a child. This indicator is influenced by age, genetic factors, environment and lifestyle. As a rule, a woman or man seeks to determine fertility if she or he has been unable to conceive for a long time. Women will need to see a gynecologist to perform the test.
Eggs in a woman’s body are conceived during the period of intrauterine development. Near adolescence, their number is about 400,000. Eggs are not renewed in the body, which is important to consider.
As soon as the period of puberty begins, the eggs also begin to gradually mature. The process of ovulation involves the release of a mature egg cell from the follicle. This directly affects whether the woman is able to conceive or have difficulties with it. Then the egg is fertilized: through the fallopian tubes it enters the uterus and attaches to its walls. After that, the gradual development of the fetus begins.
Female fertility is not only affected by ovulation. Her changes are affected by various factors:
- The fallopian tubes must have normal patency;
- The endometrium should be of sufficient thickness – this affects the success of embryo attachment and its development in the future;
- The cervix and uterus should be healthy to enable a woman to bear a child normally;
The female reproductive system is influenced by various hormones. Therefore, female fertility also depends on the hormonal background by 40%. It is customary to assess this indicator by three factors – whether she is able to conceive, bear and bear a child. If a woman is able to only 2 factors, the index is low, if all 3, then it is normal.
The main stages of fertile age
The fertile age of a woman is conventionally divided into four stages:
- Early reproductive. The period is from the beginning of menses (at the age of 10-13 years) to 20 years. It has a number of properties: the menstrual cycle becomes, ovulation is very rare or absent at all, the hormonal background fluctuates. At this stage, there is a high probability of getting pregnant.
- Intermediate reproductive. Its duration is 20 years. The cycle during this period is stable, as is the hormonal background. There are no health problems. Optimal period to conceive and bear a child.
- Late reproductive. It lasts until the age of 45, sometimes a little longer. Hormonal background is unstable, meanwhile the cycle and ovulation are stable. In the body launched age-related changes. Allowed pregnancy by natural means, but active medical help may be needed when carrying a child;
- Fading fertility. Lasts from age 46 to 60. A woman begins menopause. In other words, the menstrual cycle becomes either irregular or ends altogether. In addition, the hormonal background fluctuates very strongly, which is accompanied by characteristic symptoms. It is impossible to get pregnant naturally, and in order to bear a child you will need to resort to a course of hormonal drugs.
Regardless of the stage of fertile age, it is worth consulting a gynecologist before starting active attempts to conceive a child.
How to determine fertility levels
Fertility testing involves a detailed consultation with a doctor and a gynecological exam. With the help of ultrasound and analysis, it is possible to assess the woman’s oocyte reserve. Additionally, it is recommended to take hormone tests. It is also worth getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
If necessary, tests may be prescribed to examine the patency of the fallopian tubes. One of the most important factors that has a direct impact on the fertility of a woman is the number and quality of oocytes in the ovaries, or in other words, the ovarian reserve.
To determine the days in which you have the highest chance of successfully conceiving a child, you can use a regular calendar. In the middle of the cycle, around day 15-17, ovulation occurs. Therefore, from this date you need to count 5 days in one direction and 2 days in the other direction. This method is not the most accurate, as each body has its own characteristics.
You can determine fertility by using other methods:
- Basal temperature. It should be measured every morning in the rectum and recorded in a chart. As soon as a slight decrease in temperature becomes noticeable, and then its sharp increase, this is the first sign of ovulation;
- Cervical secretions. On fertile days, they become more voluminous, and there is a change in their consistency – they become stretchy, looking like egg white;
- Ovulation tests. You can easily buy them in any pharmacy. The principle of the test is simple: you need to put the test strip in a container with urine. The best option would be to do it in the morning, because then it contains the highest level of hCG.
In addition to the above methods, you can determine fertility with an ultrasound study. This method is rarely used, although it is highly accurate. Determining fertile days greatly increases a woman’s chances of pregnancy in the current menstrual cycle.
Fertility rate and how to calculate it
A distinction is made between the index and the fertility rate. The latter is a macroeconomic indicator. It shows the ratio of the average number of children born in a country per woman of fertile age. The index can range from 0 to 10, where 10 indicates a high chance of getting pregnant.
When determining the ratio, an ultrasound of the ovaries can be done. The study is done on day 5-6 of the cycle. The doctor evaluates the size, number of growing follicles and the ratio of special tissues. Based on the results of the fertility test, a prognosis is made that determines the likelihood of conceiving a child in the near future.
It is also possible to determine the coefficient with the help of hormone analysis. Antimuller hormone level (AMH) determines the number of follicles in a woman’s ovaries. This allows you to determine the level of reproductive function action. In turn, AMH affects monthly ovulation. Low levels of AMH indicate that the ovaries contain a critically low number of follicles and carrying a baby in this case will be very difficult.
What Factors Affect
It should be kept in mind that a woman’s fertility level changes over the course of a woman’s life. It is affected by several factors at once, including:
- Age. The number of eggs decreases with each year, and cycles without ovulation occur more frequently;
- Excess or lack of weight, as it affects the hormonal background;
- Stresses on a regular basis cause hormonal imbalance;
- Early menopause;
- Diseases that affect the hormonal background;
- Disorders of the patency of the fallopian tubes;
- Early surgical interventions in the uterus.
It is always necessary to consider the factors listed above when evaluating a woman’s fertility. Some of them lead to the inability to get pregnant, some affect the ability to conceive. All kinds of abnormalities may be permanent, some temporary. The intended treatment depends directly on this as well.
Ways to increase
As soon as a woman is found to have any health problems that prevent normal conception of a child, it is worth immediately initiating treatment prescribed by the doctor. This can be either medication therapy or surgery. You can improve performance and have a healthy baby by resorting to the following rules:
- Leading a regular sexual life (sexual intercourse at least 2-3 times a week);
- A balanced diet (excluding low-calorie diets, junk food, adding different foods to the diet);
- Full renunciation of bad habits, including alcohol and smoking;
- Taking vitamin complexes;
- Minimize the use of caffeine;
- Minimize stressful situations;
- Maintain a water balance.
To restore normal condition before pregnancy, you can take various vitamin and mineral complexes or various supplements. Before taking them, it is necessary to consult with your doctor, because they have certain contraindications.
All these recommendations have a beneficial effect on a woman’s fertility. It is necessary to adhere to the rules regardless of the level of fertility and the presence of past unsuccessful attempts at pregnancy. If you cannot conceive after a year of active attempts, it is worth seeing a doctor to determine the reasons.
Risks of high levels
After fertility tests are performed, the values are categorized into three levels. If the level is low, it means that the woman is only able to conceive. A normal level indicates a woman’s ability to get pregnant without medical intervention. It also increases the chances that a woman will be able to have a baby without resorting to hormonal stimulation.
A high level directly determines the ability to conceive. In addition, the chances of repeated pregnancies with minimal interruption are increased several times over. It also increases the likelihood that conception will occur in the middle of the menstrual cycle or during lactation. No contraceptive provides 100% protection.
If a woman has a high fertility level, the likelihood of getting pregnant with contraception increases several times. Therefore, the selection of contraception causes certain difficulties. With this in mind, it is very important that the woman monitors her health and periodically visits the gynecologist, including fertility tests. This will keep all sorts of risks at bay.
Every woman’s fertility level changes throughout her life and there is no way to avoid this process. The only thing left to do is to monitor the rate and lead a healthy lifestyle. It should be remembered that the level and stage of fertility directly affect the ability to conceive and carry a child. Therefore, many gynecologists recommend planning a pregnancy between the ages of 20 and 35.