Many people have a lot to learn when it comes to conception and staying fertile. That’s according to Pamela Madsen, executive director of the American Infertility Association (AIA). According to a recent web-based survey on the subject by her organization, only 1 in more than 12,000 women could correctly answer 15 questions about their reproductive life cycle. Here are 4 startling fertility facts that you and your partner should know.
4) Just because you’re in overall good health doesn’t mean that you or your partner are fertile.
That’s right, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and having excellent blood pressure and cholesterol levels doesn’t automatically make you fertile. In fact, 1 in 10 healthy couples of reproductive age will experience fertility problems. The causes are variable and equally attributed one-third of the time to the male, one-third of the time to the female, and one-third of the time to indeterminable reasons.
According to Tennessee-based reproductive endocrinologist Sam Thatcher, MD, the biggest factor that influences fertility is something that’s beyond everyone’s control: age. For healthy women, they are most fertile in their mid 20s, then starts to decline at 27, before plummeting around age 37. Dr. Thatcher advises that if you’re in your mid 30s or older and trying to conceive, you need to be very specific in your intentions. That means you should figure out when you’re ovulating and having sex at those optimal times.
3) Your weight.
This might come as a surprise, but 12% of all cases of infertility are rooted in weight issues. If your body is chronically undernourished, you won’t be able to menstruate as the body needs at least 22% body fat for normal ovulation and reproductive competence. On the other hand, being overweight can disrupt your hormonal chemistry and prevent ovulation.
Fortunately, you can reverse weight-related infertility by simply losing or gaining pounds. In fact, more than 70% of women have been able to conceive immediately once they hit healthy weight parameters. According to doctors, the ideal body mass index for conception is between 19 and 25.
2) Coital or post coital sexual positions don’t affect your chances of conception.
Regardless of what you may have heard, no study has ever concluded that one sexual position is more effective than others when it comes to achieving pregnancy. As a matter of fact, sperm can be found in the canal of the cervix, seconds after ejaculation, no matter what the sexual position. It doesn’t mean though that deep penetration and maximum cervical contact doesn’t make sense. The point is optimal position can vary due to the fact that every woman’s body is different.
And since sperm immediately starts swimming after ejaculation, there’s no need for you to be a yogi or a gymnast to conceive a baby. Sure, there may be a little advantage to lying around after sexual intercourse to keep the sperm inside the body, but standing on one’s head after sex has absolutely no value.
1) Men have biological clocks too.
The notion that the biological clock doesn’t tick for men has been recently debunked by a British study. Researchers from Brunel and Bristol Universities assessed 8,500 couples to find out the influence of age on the length of time it took to conceive. The study found out that while only 8% of men under the age of 25 were unable to impregnate their partner after about a year of trying, the number increases to 15% after the age of 35. Although there are other factors (like how the frequency of intercourse dwindles with age), the study suggests that paternal age might also play a role for couples dealing with infertility.