Fertility 101: Our Guide to Getting Pregnant
The ability to get pregnant, sustain a pregnancy and give birth depends on the extraordinary synchronization of male and female reproductive and endocrine systems. At Fertility Institute of Texas, Dr. Susan Hudson specializes in reproductive endocrinology and holds dual board certifications as an ob/gyn and fertility specialist. Even with her years of specialized training, Dr. Hudson still marvels at the miracle of conception.
Success rates for getting pregnant on your own
In the first three months of trying, success rates for getting pregnant on your own can reach 20 to 37 percent, depending on your age. By the end of one year, up to 80 percent of couples get pregnant.
Basic biology and the female reproductive system
Knowledge of basic biology will help prepare you to predict ovulation and optimize your attempts to get pregnant. A woman’s monthly menstrual cycle begins on the first day of regular blood flow, progressing through three stages:
- Follicular Phase: On Day 1-14 follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) cause the ovaries to develop a follicle. Inside this follicle, an egg matures.
- Ovulatory Phase: Reaction to luteinizing hormone (LH) will cause the body to release the mature egg into the fallopian tube to meet the sperm. If ovulation (usually around Day 14, midway through the menstrual cycle) is followed by successful fertilization, the fertilized egg will travel to the uterus for implantation.
- Luteal Phase: The uterine lining, cushioned by estrogen and progesterone, is now ready to sustain a baby’s growth. If no pregnancy occurs, the body will shed the uterine lining during a ‘period.’
Timing sex to optimize fertility
Dr. Hudson advises couples that wish to become pregnant on their own to time intercourse around ovulation. Ovulation predictor kits can help determine when you ovulate and establish a pattern over time. Pay attention to body cues like cervical mucus that takes on the consistency of egg whites at ovulation. Plan to have intercourse every 1-2 days, in a six-day interval ending with ovulation when you are trying to get pregnant on your own.
Common barriers to getting pregnant on your own
About half of all infertility cases are attributed to male causes and half to female. In women, irregular periods could signal ovulatory dysfunction, diminished ovarian reserve or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Maternal age also impacts the ability to get pregnant. A woman’s fertility peaks in her 20s, declines in her 30s and wanes at 40. Women are born with a finite number of eggs: 1 million eggs will decrease to around 300,000 at puberty. Age diminishes ovarian reserve, affecting both egg quantity and quality.
Time is important when planning to get pregnant. According to the CDC’s National Survey of Family Growth: 44 percent of women partnering with a fertility specialist are under 35.
The Fertility Institute of Texas provides patient resources to serve as the catalyst to educating yourself on infertility. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) provides a helpful worksheet on Optimizing Natural Fertility. Fertility Institute of Texas also provides additional patient resources throughout treatment.
If you have tried for more than a year to get pregnant, or six months for women over 32, consider making an appointment with a fertility specialist like Dr. Hudson. Fertility Institute of Texas schedules new patient consultations at its state-of-the-art location in New Braunfels.
Take the first step—call Fertility Institute of Texas today for your consultation with Dr. Susan Hudson.
New Braunfels 830.608.8004