May 19, 2017

How To Optimize Fertility

Optimize Fertility

Internet, chat rooms and apps: can be all consuming in the quest for having a baby. The idea of having a child for many is a natural progression of the familial order – an abstract thought of many years that now moves into the concrete. The desire to have a baby someday morphs into the anticipation of pregnancy and then the diligence of cycle tracking, endless ovulation predictor kits (digital and otherwise), and too many thermometers. We are often asked how to optimize fertility?

Infertility is defined according to maternal age. In women under 35, it is simply one year of sperm exposure; and in women between 35-40 years, infertility is 6 months of exposure. These definitions are based on population dynamics of heterosexual couples having sex as would be anticipated in a healthy couple. Nowhere in the definition of infertility, does it suggest the need for temperature, ultrasound, urine or blood monitoring. The technology that embodies our generation now restricts infertility, and the lack of pregnancy-(month after month) erodes the psyche.

Stepping back, how can one optimize natural fertility?

There is no formulaic methodology as to how frequently to have for reproductive purposes.  Studies demonstrate that abstinence (lack of ejaculate) greater than 5 days can cause some semen quality deterioration (closer to 10 days). Men with normal sperm parameters have no decrease in quality with daily ejaculates. Some studies suggest daily intercourse may provide a slim advantage – it is not necessarily a sustainable norm. Sex then becomes sex for the purpose of filling an action as opposed to an extracurricular activity and imparts undue stressors. Attempting intercourse approximately a few days prior to the time of ovulation and every 2 days during that high peak-team ( 3 days prior) may be a reachable medium keeping parties both accomplished in their goal of pregnancy and satisfied.

Monitoring ovulation is not necessary; however, many feel it in their armentarium. Women who track ovulation whether through mucus, libido, pain, mood or app, are able to predict ovulation greater than 50% of the time. The addition of an ovulation predictor kit increases the likeliness of detection, however there is no substantial evidence that monitoring increases chance of pregnancy per cycle.

Knowing of the menstrual cycle and the biology behind ovulation and fertility is crucial to taking charge and managing one’s own fertility to the best of their abilities. Having sperm, egg, and a place to meet and call home is what is necessary and sounds simple. The way in which their meeting is orchestrated and implantation occurs is a multi-layered symphony.

Despite a couple’s best efforts, sometimes pregnancy does not occur and as frustration becomes the common place, reach out to a specialist to help optimize chances. We are here to help. Contact us!

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Danielle Vitiello, Ph.D., M.D.

Danielle Vitiello, Ph.D., M.D. Board-Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility