Bumpin' and Grindin': How Sex Ed Failed Us in Fertility Education

Blue condom on a banana highlighting the need for better sex education.

Learning to put a condom on a banana is not fertility education (obviously). But that’s the extent of sex education many people leave grade school with.

We're committed to empowering you with the knowledge you need to confidently discuss your options with healthcare providers. Join us on this journey as we uncover some fundamental truths that every person deserves to know.

The Fertile Window

Did you know that a woman can only conceive (get pregnant) during a handful of days each month? Known as the fertile window, this narrow time frame holds the key to successful conception. Understanding the timing of intercourse is crucial when trying to get pregnant. The ovum (or egg) remains viable for a mere 10-24 hours after release, while sperm can survive for 1-7 days, depending on the environment. Tracking your cycles effectively allows you to identify your fertile window accurately. There are reliable methods to track ovulation, and blood work can even confirm its occurrence.

Key takeaway: A woman can get pregnant only a handful of days a month

Male factors matter!

It takes two to tango. Male factor fertility plays a significant contributing role to couples experiencing infertility. Conditions and lifestyle factors play a role in sperm quality and quantity.

The fantastic news is that sperm is highly receptive to changes through a number of simple healthy choices, such as nutrition. Having the male partner be assessed and counselled on what they can do before trying to conceive, or if you’re struggling to conceive, is an essential part of the puzzle. If you’re struggling there may be a need for a medical evaluation of sperm health to evaluate potentially more medical reasons for male infertility.

Key Takeaway: Sperm quantity and quality play a role in infertility.

Lifestyle Factors and Fertility

Believe it or not, your dietary patterns, physical activity, and overall lifestyle can impact your chances of getting and staying pregnant.

Here are four nutritional factors that influence fertility:

  1. Reducing alcohol intake: Even drinking in the month before undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) can double the failure rate.
  2. Replacing trans fats with monounsaturated fats: Opt for healthier alternatives like olive oil found in whole foods rather than processed items.
  3. Limiting caffeine intake: Consider switching to lower-caffeine alternatives like matcha.
  4. Opting for high-fat dairy: Swapping out low-fat dairy products may have a protective effect on fertility.
Key takeaway: Nutrition and movement matters!

Assessing Egg Quantity:

Routine blood work can provide essential information about egg quantity. By testing for Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), healthcare professionals can assess your fertility health in terms of egg reserves. This knowledge is invaluable in making informed decisions about your reproductive journey.

Key Takeaway: You can get a blood test to check your egg quantity!

Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider

During a fertility assessment, it's important that your healthcare provider covers crucial factors to better understand your unique situation.

Some essential questions and evaluations include:

  • Age
  • Menstrual history (cycle length, PMS symptoms, history of painful periods)
  • Previous pregnancies, miscarriages, STDs, and fertility treatments
  • Family history of conditions such as PCOS, bleeding disorders, and diabetes
  • Ultrasound to assess the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes for any anomalies, fibroids, or polyps
  • Physical exams including thyroid evaluation, checking for pelvic masses, tenderness, and signs of androgen excess

Beyond these key points, exploring dietary patterns, exercise routines, and environmental exposures should also be part of the discussion. Remember, these are the minimum inquiries your healthcare provider should be addressing.

Key Takeaway: Know the right questions to ask!

We understand that the world of fertility can be overwhelming. That's why we're here to equip you with the knowledge you need to explore your options and engage in confident conversations with your healthcare practitioner. To gain better insight into your own cycle, you can also download one of the many apps to track your cycle conveniently. Some of our favourites are Flo, Clue, and Natural Cycles.

Armed with a wealth of knowledge about fertility, you're now empowered to make informed choices about your reproductive health. From understanding the fertile window to recognising the importance of male factors and lifestyle choices, each piece of information contributes to your journey.

Remember, your healthcare provider should be your trusted partner in this process, guiding you through assessments and evaluations that delve deeper into your unique circumstances. As you navigate the path ahead, we're here to support you, ensuring you can approach your fertility journey with confidence and ease.

Key Takeaways:
A woman can get pregnant only a handful of days a month.
Sperm quantity and quality play a role in infertility.
Nutrition and movement matters!
You can get a blood test to check your egg quantity.
Know the right questions to ask!