Ovulation and Female Infertility
In as many as 30% of infertility cases among women, the cause of their fertility challenges is problems with ovulation. Fortunately, infertility due to disorders with ovulation can often be corrected with various medications and treatments that can assist the growth and development of a mature egg that will ovulate.
In this article we find out exactly what ovulation is and how it affects fertility; discover why and how to use an ovulation calculator, and where to find one; and briefly discuss the fertility treatments are available for women with ovulation problems.
To achieve a pregnancy, what is required is a healthy egg that is fertilised by a healthy sperm, and the resulting embryo (fertilised egg) implanting successfully in womb.
For there to be a healthy egg, normal ovulation is crucial. Ovulation refers to the release of a mature egg from an ovary during the menstrual cycle.
For non-pregnant women aged 16 to 40, irregular periods – also called anovulation – are considered abnormal. Many women with ovulation issues also experience the absence of periods, which is called amenorrohoea.
Without regular, normal ovulation, there will be no egg available for fertilisation, and a pregnancy cannot occur. As such, ovulation problems are the cause of infertility in as many as one in three cases of female infertility.
A quick overview of a woman’s menstrual cycle will make it easier to understand how ovulation fits into the fertility picture.
A woman who has regular periods every month is probably also ovulating each month, with ovulation occurring about 14 days before the first day of each menstrual period.
The first day of the average 28-day menstrual cycle is the day the bleeding begins: and thus it is also the first day of a ‘period’.
On average among women, the bleeding (period) can last five days long, but for some women it can last for just three days and for others it can last for as many as eight days. Most women report that the bleeding is often heaviest on the first two days.
A period ends when the bleeding ends. Usually, the bleeding stops between six and fourteen days into the menstrual cycle. This is because the uterine lining is again growing, preparing for a possible pregnancy.
Ovulation takes place around the middle of the 28-day cycle, on approximately the fourteenth day.
Ovulation is when the mature egg is released from an ovary, and moves down the fallopian tubes to the uterus. It is a special time when the released egg is available for fertilisation – and it’s just for a short time: it could be for as little as twelve hours or up to forty-eight hours.
Healthy sperm present in the fallopian tubes at this time can fertilise the egg. If fertilised, the egg will move to the uterus and implant itself in the thickened uterine lining. If, however, the egg isn’t fertilised or the embryo fails to implant, the uterus will shed the lining through bleeding, starting the next menstrual cycle with bleeding on day one of the average 28 days.
The length of time between one period and the next period can be just 21 days or as long as up to 35 days.
Why use an ovulation calculator
There are really only six days during an average 28-day menstrual cycle when a woman can become pregnant, and those days follow ovulation: which is when the egg is released from the ovary, and moves down the fallopian tubes to the uterus.
Although we know that ovulation takes place around the 14th day of a normal 28-day cycle, ovulation takes place on different dates each month. This is because, firstly, the typical 28-day menstrual cycle is shorter than a 30 or 31-day month. In addition, every woman is different – and even the same woman’s cycle is different from one month to the next.
An ovulation calculator determines as closely as possible on what date you will ovulate in your current cycle, in other words, which days you are most likely to be fertile this month. If you are trying to conceive, knowing on which days you are the most fertile means you can plan unprotected sex on those days to significantly increase your chances of conceiving naturally.
Where to find an ovulation calculator
Given how widespread ovulation problems are, our team at Medfem created a very easy-to-use ovulation calculator which uses the dates of your own menstrual cycle, allowing you to determine the approximate time of the month when you will ovulate, after which your fertility will be at its peak and you would be most likely to fall pregnant.
You can click here – to use the Medfem Ovulation Calculator now and to see which days you are most likely to be fertile!
Simply type in the date of the first day of your last period, and how many days your cycle usually lasts, and click on “Calculate”.
Using the information about your period, the ovulation calculator will provide a best estimate of when you will ovulate and your next fertile window will start.
It shows a best estimate of the following over the next three months: days of low fertility; days of high fertility; days on your period; and when you should take a pregnancy test if you missed your period.
You can also sign up to our Ovulation Calculator system which will help you to keep track of your cycle easily. Please be assured that your information is 100% confidential.
Please click here to “Register”. Simply fill in your name and email address, and your password will be emailed to you.
With your password, you can then login and begin to track your cycles. By keeping accurate track of the first day of your period and the length of your cycles, you will also improve the accuracy of the estimates of when your next fertile window will be.
Fertility treatments for ovulation problems
To help women who are infertile due to ovulation problems, fertility specialists may recommend medications that work on ovulation. There are two common ways these medicines are used. The first way is to cause ovulation in a woman who does not ovulate regularly, and second is to cause multiple eggs to develop and be released at one time.
Ovulation induction medications can help a woman to ovulate more regularly, increasing her chances of getting pregnant. These medicines, sometimes called ‘fertility drugs’ may also be used to cause multiple eggs to develop at once – for example, during intrauterine insemination (IUI) as well as in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, or when donating their eggs or when freezing their eggs.
Are you concerned about your ovulation?
If you are having ovulation problems that are affecting your fertility, we would like to invite you to meet one of our fertility specialists at Medfem Fertility Clinic.
Our team at Medfem Fertility Clinic believes in making world-class fertility treatments available for everyone. It is our joy and commitment to give you a positive outcome to your fertility journey, so you will have a fond memory of feeling empathy, caring and being part of the Medfem Fertility Clinic family.
Simply click here to book an initial consultation or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.
We look forward to meeting you!