Natural Fertility

Natural fertility is a term used to describe becoming pregnant through intercourse without the aid of fertility treatments or support.

 

Physiology of Natural Conception

A woman is born with approximately one to two million immature eggs (follicles) in her ovaries. Beginning at birth that number starts to decrease until virtually no follicles remain at menopause. With each menstrual period, an estimated one thousand eggs are lost and the supply cannot be replenished.

Fertility begins with puberty and a woman’s reproductive potential decreases with age. When the female reproductive system is functioning normally, estrogen levels rise to prepare the uterus lining for implantation prior to ovulation. Once the egg matures, it is released by the ovary and travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus.

Sperm are constantly produced in the male testicles. During intercourse, sperm is ejaculated and travels through the vas deferens and urethra and is deposited into the female vagina. From there, the sperm make their way through the cervix and uterus to the fallopian tubes.

In order for fertilization to occur, the sperm must penetrate the female egg. Once fertilized, the egg remains in the tube where it continues to develop for a few days before traveling to the uterus. When it reaches the uterus, if the egg implants in the uterine wall, a woman becomes pregnant.

If the egg is not fertilized, the hormone levels drop and the lining of the uterus is shed through menstruation.

 

Age and Fertility

A woman’s fertility peaks during her 20s and begins to decline in her 30s. Fertility rates drop significantly after 35 for women and after age 50 for men.

Egg quality declines and egg reserve numbers diminish not only making it more difficult for a woman to become pregnant, but also increasing the risk of chromosomal abnormalities.

Young couples with no fertility issues who are trying to conceive have a 20 to 30 percent chance of becoming pregnant within the first three months. By one year, the success rate is 80 percent and after two years of unprotected sex 90 percent will become pregnant.

A 30-year-old woman has a 20 percent chance of becoming pregnant each month, but that number drops to less than 5 percent by age 40.

 

Boosting Natural Fertility

There are some steps you can take to improve your chances of becoming pregnant. These include:

 

 

If you are 35 or younger and don’t become pregnant after one year of trying – see a fertility specialist.  Women who are 35 to 40 should schedule a fertility evaluation after six months of trying. If you are 40 or older, see your fertility specialist now.

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