Many times couples come to my office under the impression that they may have infertility problems. They may have been trying to conceive for six months or more with no results. Very often the solution is wonderfully simple: they have been trying at the wrong time! They don’t need clomid or IUI or any western intervention. They just need to try at the right time of the cycle.
So what time of the month are you the most fertile? Many couples believe it is the day of ovulation or the days after and unfortunately this is completely wrong. You are at your most fertile in the four days BEFORE ovulation… not after. Clearly the key here is figuring out when you ovulate which for some women can be cycle day 14 and others cycle day 25. Everyone is a little different and with fertility timing is everything. So how do you figure out when you are ovulating? There are three primary ways: cervical fluid, basal body temperature and ovulation predictor kits. In this blog we will talk about cervical fluid.
Cervical fluid is a wonderfully accurate way of determining when it is time to try to conceive. ((This part may seem a little gross but hang in with me because I promise it is worth it. ))Women usually have some kind of slight cervical discharge throughout the month but during the time that you are the most fertile, the four days before ovulation, cervical fluid production increases and “fertile” cervical fluid is seen. The way to test your cervical fluid is either swabbing your vagina with a finger or looking on your underwear. Infertile cervical fluid will be thick white, or dry and crumbly. Under a microscope it looks like a brick wall and the ph is totally wrong for sperm survival. On the other hand fertile cervical fluid is clear and stretches between the fingers. It looks like uncooked egg white or the clear mucous that you get from your nose when you have a cold/allergies. Under a microscope it looks like it has little rivers and is the perfect ph for sperm to live in up to five days. Fertile cervical fluid starts about four or five days BEFORE ovulation. So this means when you see fertile cervical mucous you are fertile! Once you ovulate cervical fluid immediately either dries up completely or turns into the dry, thick white crumbly stuff.
When you ovulate the egg passes through the body relatively quickly, say around 36 hours. So if you try to conceive right when you ovulate the sperm don’t have time to get all the way to where they need to go before the egg has already gone. The analogy I like to use in regard to this is that the egg is like a beautiful opera diva. You have to fill the theater beforehand (sperm) so that when she strides out on stage she has an appreciative audience. If there is no one there she will storm off in a huff and you will have to wait until next month to see her again.
So, long story short: you will usually see cervical fluid in the four days before ovulation. When you see this cervical fluid it is time to try to conceive. Once that fluid disappears you are no longer fertile for that cycle.
in the next two blogs we will talk about basal body temperature and ovulation predictor kits.
Feel free to ask me a question in the comments!