When a woman is not conceiving the first place to look at is her menstrual fertility cycle. Narrowing that down even further, a woman needs to find out if she is releasing any eggs, or ovulating (makes you think chicken, I know) during her period cycle. Where a mature egg is not being released during the menstrual fertility cycle, this is known as anovulatory infertility.
Anovulatory infertility is the reason why about 25% of women will have trouble conceiving. This means that for 100 women who have been daubed infertile, 25 are having fertility problems because there is no egg available during her menstrual fertility cycle for the sperm to fertilize (anovulatory cycles).
Your female reproductive hormones control your menstrual fertility cycle. And your cycle can be an indicator whether or not you are ovulating. The most common sign that a woman is not ovulating is a highly irregular cycle. Only about 10 out of every 100 women have the much talked about 28 day cycle. For the rest of us, our cycles (from the start of a menstrual period bleeding to the beginning of the next) last 28 days plus or minus 7, or fall between 21 to 35 days. If you only have your period say every couple of months or not at all, chances are you are not ovulating.
If you suspect that you might be having anovulatory cycles, there are 2 things that you can do at home right now to find out:
- Chart your basal body temperature (BBT). This checks for the normal increase in temperature that goes hand in hand with ovulation. Your temperature tends to rise after ovulation.
- Use an over-the-counter ovulation prediction kit if charting is too much hassle. This tests for the rise in the ovulation inducing hormone- the luteinizing hormone, or LH for short. This hormone spikes just before ovulation.
It would be wise to mention at this point that the above two methods are not fail-proof. The human body is rather finicky, and every one is different. The above method can work for most, but not all. A visit to your local GP or health care provider for a hormone check (done using a blood sample) is less chancy. This checks for the hormone progesterone which peaks about 7 days after ovulation. No ovulation means no progesterone.