How much do you know about your fertility?
The physicians at Pacific Fertility Center share 10 important facts.
1) Your fertility is mostly determined by genetics, which influences how many eggs you are born with.
Doctors believe the number of eggs at birth is set with about a million eggs in the ovaries.. For every egg ovulated during your reproductive life, about 1,000 eggs undergo programmed cell death. Those that remain at older ages have much higher chromosome abnormality rates, so pregnancy rates decline with age.
2) Regular menstrual cycles are a sign of regular ovulation.
Most women have regular cycles lasting between 27 and 29 day, a sign of regular, predictable ovulation. Most irregular cycles result from a problem in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, the brain structures that control ovulation, though there are other causes.
3) Reproductive potential is primarily linked to a woman's age, not her lab results.
Female age is the best predictor of egg quality. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), and estradiol are predictors of the number of eggs available.
4) Most women with blocked fallopian tubes are completely unaware they may have had a prior pelvic infection.
About 10 percent of infertility cases are due to tubal disease. One major cause of tubal disease is a prior pelvic infection from a sexually transmitted disease. These infections can cause so few symptoms that you may be completely unaware your tubes are affected.
5) Good fertility requires a good foundation.
Excellent nutrition, stress reduction, and a physically strong body are foundations for optimizing your fertility.
6) Fertility rates decline dramatically after 40.
While fertility treatment can be successful, conception rates are low beyond age 43.
7) Having fathered a pregnancy in the past does not guarantee fertility.
Sperm counts can change quite a bit with time, so never assume that a prior pregnancy guarantees fertile sperm. Obtaining a semen analysis is the only way to be sure the sperm are still healthy.
8) For the most part, diet has little or nothing to do with fertility.
Despite popular press, there is little scientific data showing that a particular diet or food promotes fertility.
9) Vitamin D may improve results of fertility treatments.
A recent study suggested that women who were undergoing fertility treatments, but had low vitamin D levels, might have lower rates of conception. At Pacific Fertility Center, we recommend our patients check Vitamin D levels and take supplements if their levels are low.
10) Being either underweight or overweight is clearly linked with lowered levels of fertility.
Having a body mass index (BMI) less than 18 or over 32 is associated with problems ovulating and conceiving, as well as problems during pregnancy.
// For more information, check out Pacific Fertility Center, 500 Francisco St., Ste. 500, pacificfertilitycenter.com.