Understanding the basics of fertility can provide valuable insight into some of the procedures and processes you will experience during your treatment journey. For example, ovulation is key to your success. Some women only ovulate occasionally, some menstruate occasionally but never ovulate, and some do neither at all. Ovulatory disorders are among the most common causes of infertility. The good news is that we can offer our patients many different treatments that are very effective in treating these disorders. However before moving to identify and correct these issues it is important to understand the menstrual cycle and how the ovulation process works.
The Monthly Cycle
- Day 1 of a menstrual cycle starts on the first day of full bleeding. At this time, the lining of the uterus sheds for approximately five days.
- During this time Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) helps develop and mature the eggs.
- Approximately two weeks into the monthly cycle, Luteinizing Hormone (LH) levels rise dramatically and within 24 to 48 hours the most mature egg (the Ovum) bursts out of its follicle and out of the ovary.
- Next the egg travels from the ovary into the fallopian tube where it may come into contact with waiting sperm. If the sperm penetrates the egg, fertilization occurs. If the egg is not fertilized, it simply absorbs.
- On or around Day 20, the fertilized egg continues its journey to the uterus, where it may or may not successfully implant in the lining of the uterine wall.
- As the embryo implants, it begins to produce Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), which maintains the lining of the uterus during the implantation process. By Day 28, the hCG levels are high enough that a urine or blood pregnancy test will be positive.
Hormones and Ovulation
In order for ovulation to go smoothly, your hormones must be in balance. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), estrogen, Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and progesterone all play an important role in the ovulation process. It is critical for each hormone to perform as expected in order for conception to occur. If anything is out of balance the entire process is affected. Fortunately, our experts can identify any ovulation problems and work with you to take the necessary steps to correct them.