Fertility is the ability to have reproduce and have children. The definition of fertile means that you are able to initiate the act of intercourse, and cause or sustain a pregnancy with a live fetus.
There are many different things that can affect fertility. Men needs to have enough healthy sperm available, the sperm needs to be able to make it to the egg to fertilize, and women need to be able to ovulate. When you think about the factors involved, everything has to be just right for optimal fertility. This article will help you understand fertility and reproduction better.
What Does Fertile Mean?
Fertile means you are able to create, carry, and give birth to babies. It begins with the ability to produce sperm and eggs in the reproductive tract. Then goes on to actual conception when the eggs and sperm join to form an embryo. This is a very complex process and conditions need to be just right.
In order to get pregnant, an egg needs to be fertilized by sperm. Then it needs to travel down the fallopian tubes and implant in the uterine wall. Women must be able to release an egg and men must produce healthy sperm. The conditions in a woman’s vagina and uterus must be optimal for the fertilized egg to implant.
When Is a Woman Fertile?
The fertile period depends on if you are having periods, if your hormones are in the right range for ovulation, and if you are having sexual intercourse at the right time during your monthly cycle. Here is the breakdown:
In order to be fertile and conceive a baby, you have to have started your monthly periods. This can happen anywhere from age 10 to age 15 or 16. Periods come every month until you are about 50 to 60 years old (menopause). Some people go through menopause earlier and some later.
Your monthly period is actual a cycle that happens all month long. Your period is the end of a lot of work that your body has already done to prepare for pregnancy. After your period ends each month, your body already begins to prepare and ripen around 15 to 20 new eggs. Around day 14 of your cycle, your body will release the best egg and send it off into your fallopian tubes. This is about a 24-hour process and if sperm is present during that time you may get pregnant.
Sperm on the other hand can live for five days inside your body. They can sit in your vaginal canal, swim around your uterus or get all the way up into your fallopian tubes.
After the egg leaves the ovary, it will only be fertile around 24 hours. If no sperm is present, the egg will break up and leave your body when you start your period. The actual window when you are fertile starts five days before you ovulate, since sperm can live in your vagina and uterus for that long. The egg doesn’t stick around for very long, so the fertile window closes the day after you ovulate.
If you have a 28-day cycle and are trying to conceive, it is good to have sexual intercourse anywhere from day 11 to day 14 of your cycle. The highest rate of conception happens 4-6 hours after your ovulation and the sperm meets the egg.
When you wonder, “what does fertile mean,” “when am I fertile?”The answer lies in when you actually ovulate and that is hard to predict. If you aren’t sure of the signs, try having sexual intercourse between day 7 and day 20 of your cycle. Some women are fertile early in the month and some a little later. Try giving your bodies a rest and have sex every other day to every two or three days. Male sperm is more fertile when allowed to build up for a day or two. Your vagina can also build up antibodies to sperm if you have sex too often.
How to Know I’m Ovulating and Fertile?
The best way to know if you are fertile is to know the subtle clues your body gives. This is done best by keeping a journal of your periods. A chart is nice with the days of the month across the top. Watch your body carefully and over the course of a month or two you will begin to notice the signs of your body changing. Around the fifth day prior to releasing an egg, you will notice a few signs that you are about to ovulate.
If you normally have a period every 28 days, then you will note in your journal day 1 as the first day of your period. Watch your body closely until day 12 to 17, you may notice changes starting just after your period ends. Note them in your journal.
Here are some of the different signs of fertility:
- Cervical fluid changes. During the fertile window, you will notice cervical discharge that is clear, thin, and stretches between your fingers.
- Changes in basal body temperature. Your basal body temperature is your early morning temperature before you get up and move around. Around ovulation, the temperature takes a steep drop and then rises again after ovulation. You will be able to see this pattern by taking your temps every single day over a couple of months.
- Scent. Your partner may notice that you smell more attractive around ovulation. The smell is sexy and entices your partner to want you sexually.
- Physical signs. You may notice cramping on one side when you ovulate, some even with headaches, or pain in your back.
- Moods. Your cycles take a whole range of hormones to operate. These can make you feel depressed and tired, or energetic and happy. You may notice around mid-cycle you have a ton of energy, feel very sexy, and confident. You feel cuddly with your partner and want to make love more often.
- Fertility prediction kits. As a last resort, you can buy a fertility prediction kit and test around the time you think you are fertile. This will help you recognize symptoms of fertility. These look for the hormone that triggers ovulation, luteinizing hormone or LH.
How to Increase Chances of Conception
After you understand, “what does fertile mean,” it is time to put what you learned into practice. If you are trying to have a baby, keep sexual activity to every other day schedule to allow healthy sperm to build up in your partner’s testicles. The following video explains more tips: