Ovulation usually occurs around 14 days before the start of your period, when an egg (ovum) is released from one of your ovaries. The moment when an egg from a woman is fertilised by sperm from a man is the precise moment that new life starts. Your pregnancy has begun.
It is not, though, always easy.
Statistically, even if you have sexual intercourse around the time of ovulation, the chance of a young, fertile couple conceiving is just one in every five, every month. So when do you consider that you have a fertility problem? Experts say not until you have tried to conceive, and been unsuccessful, for a year.
If things are taking longer than you imagined, rest assured that you are not alone. Approximately one in six New Zealand couples suffer infertility. In most cases, assisted reproductive technologies can help.
Around 40 percent of fertility problems originate in the woman, with female fertility problems including failure to ovulate, and abnormalities of the fallopian tubes or uterus.
Investigating the possible reasons behind suspected infertility requires a number of tests for both you and your partner. Tests for you may include:
- Blood tests to check for the presence of ovulation hormones.
- Laparoscopy a 'keyhole' surgical procedure in which an instrument is inserted though a small incision in the abdomen so that the reproductive organs can be examined.
- Ultrasound tests to check for the presence of fibroids.
- A semen analysis may also be done to make sure that your male partner is fertile.
Treatment options for female infertility depend on the cause, but may include:
- Hormone therapy to prompt ovulation.
- Surgery to unblock fallopian tubes, treat endometriosis or remove fibroids.
- Assisted reproductive technologies including in vitro fertilisation (IVF), where conception occurs in the laboratory and the fertilised egg is later implanted in the prepared uterus.
- Genetic testing
- Pre-pregnancy checklist
- Signs of ovulation
- Ovulation monitoring
- Preparing to conceive
- All articles on getting pregnant
If you have questions about fertility, ask your doctor, family planning clinic or fertility clinic.
Remember: Treatment for female infertility does not bring about conception in all cases.
This article was written by Claire Halliday for Kidspot. Sources include The Fertility Society of Australia and the State Government of Victoria (Department of Human Services).