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Ovia often discusses what it’s like to be TTC and strategies for talking about, or thinking about, this new adventure that you’re on. What gets discussed less often is “fertility” itself. How do you talk about it with a partner? With a healthcare provider? What does it even mean?
With a deeper understanding of fertility you’ll be better equipped to take charge of your health.
We keep throwing around the word fertility but have ever paused to actually define what we mean when we talk about it?
We can answer that. No, we haven’t. Let’s do it now!
When we talk about your “fertility” what we really mean is your overall liklihood that having unprotected sex will lead to conception. Having “increased fertility” means that after considering all the factors that contribute to your chances of becoming pregnant you are now more likely to conceive than before.
On the other end of the spectrum is “decreased fertility” which means you’re less likely to conceive than before. Among the major contributors to decreased fertility is age. It’s actually possible to measure the way fertility declines over time on average.
It breaks down like this:
- A woman under 30 has a 25% chance in a cycle to conceive
- A woman between 30 and 35 has a 20% chance in a cycle to conceive
- A woman between 35 and 40 has a 10% chance in a cycle to conceive
- A woman over 40 has a 5% chance in a cycle to conceive
At first it might look like a woman under 30 would need to have unprotected sex over the course of 4 months to gurantee a pregnancy. She does have a 25% chance after all. Keep in mind that’s a 25% chance every cycle, meaning that even if she’s perfectly healthy, it’s always going to be a roll of the biological dice.
If you find these statistics surprising, you’re not alone. For a lot of women, especially those that had less-than-scientific sex education growing up, learning how much fertility declines over time can be shocking.
It’s estimated that 1 in 10 people will struggle with conception and need the help of a fertility specialist. These are called reproductive endocrinologists (REs) and are OB/GYNs that have gone through additional training in order to specialize in helping with conception.
With the assistance of a reproductive endocrinologist, 85 to 90% of those individuals who aren’t able to conceive on their own do so with therapies like medication or common medical procedures.2
Speaking with your healthcare provider means being candid with them about your chances of conceiving, and how you’re feeling about those chances. They can be a great ally and help connect you with a fertility specialist if you’d like a consultation to learn more about your options.
By knowing more, you can better advocate for yourself and the kind of care you need. Our partners at Fertility.com have a great resources page with information and tools to help inform your future conversations.
You’re taking charge of your fertility. Keep it up!
Learn more at My Fertility Story
1 ASRM: Reproductivefacts.org, Age and Fertility: A Guide for Patients, Page 7. https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-
2 ASRM: Reproductivefacts.org, Quick Facts About Infertility. https://www.reproductivefacts.org/faqs/quick-facts-about-infertility/
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