One sperm, one Egg, and a place to meet — these are the three basic components required to get pregnant.
One sperm, one Egg, and a place to meet — these are the three basic components required to get pregnant. The ovary releases one egg during each menstrual cycle. The egg is captured by the fallopian tube and travels towards the uterus. Women are born with a set number of eggs and do not create more during their lifetime.
In contrast, men create new sperm every day. During ejaculation, about 400 million sperm are released. Only one needs to survive the long journey to find the egg. Sperm swim from the vagina through the uterus and make their way into the fallopian tube.
Typically, the sperm unites with the egg in the fallopian tube where fertilization occurs. The embryo then travels back to the endometrial cavity and implants into the uterine wall to begin to grow.
How do we know if his sperm is normal?
Sperm can be tested through a semen analysis. Semen is collected through masturbation. Most clinics have a private room with a library of videos or images to help stimulate the process.
The semen sample is tested at a fertility office. The sperm is evaluated for four main features: the amount of fluid (volume), the number of sperm (concentration), the size and shape (morphology), and the ability to swim in the right direction (motility).
How do I know if I ovulate?
If you have regular, predictable, menstrual cycles that occur every 21–35 days, then you are most likely ovulating. Some couples will test at home using an over the counter ovulation kit. We encourage this for couples struggling to conceive.
We do not recommend using them as a tool to avoid pregnancy, as these tests are not always reliable. Some women can learn to check changes in their cervical mucus to predict ovulation. The most accurate test for ovulation is to have a Progesterone blood test 7 days after the expected date of ovulation.
How do I know if my tubes are open?
The most common risk factor for tubal occlusion is a history of sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. These infections can cause scarring in the tubes.
Other risk factors include endometriosis, previous tubal pregnancy, and previous surgery. Although rare, multiple abortions or surgeries for miscarriage can lead to scarring in the uterine cavity called Asherman’s Syndrome. This is where the top of the uterus sticks to the bottom of the uterus, effectively sealing the cavity.
An Xray called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) can be performed to determine if the tubes and uterus are open. The medical term is tubal patency. During an HSG, a dye is injected through the cervix and X-rays are taken to see how the uterine cavity fills. This allows doctors to view the shape of the uterine cavity and the patency of the tubes. If the dye goes through the tubes and spills into the pelvic cavity, then the tubes are open.
When should we have sex if we want to get pregnant
The short answer is to have sex as often as you want. The more, the better. 90% of couples will get pregnant within 12 months of unprotected intercourse. If you want to be more systematic, there are some strategies you can employ.
First, count the number of days from the start of one period to the start of the next. Subtract 14 days from the anticipated date of the next period. This is the most likely day of ovulation.
Having sex every other day around the expected days of ovulation allows optimal sperm count. Another option is to use an ovulation kit. Have intercourse on the day your ovulation stick is positive and then once a day for the next 3 or 4 days.
There are multiple apps available to help track ovulation. I suggest ignoring these at first. Let nature happen. Couples spend most of their lives trying to avoid getting pregnant. There is something special about having sex with your partner to start your family. Enjoy this unique intimacy without adding technology or stress. Keep it natural and avoid medicalizing sex.
How long does it usually take to get pregnant?
Most people get pregnant within one year. Infertility is defined as a healthy couple having unprotected intercourse without conception for 12 months. If it has been over one year and pregnancy has not occurred, then it is time for an evaluation. If you are over age 35, have irregular periods or other medical issues, then an assessment can start sooner.
Blog Author: Dr. Jeff Livingston