Getting Started with At-Home Conception

Getting Started with At-Home Conception

You’ve decided you want to start a family. Whether you’re in a committed relationship or choose to be a single parent, whether you’re cisgender or part of the LGBTQ+ community, the “mechanics” and biology of reproduction are the same. An egg and sperm merge, the sperm fertilizes the egg and an embryo develops.

Most people have plenty of questions when they begin getting started with at-home conception. How long will it take? When are my most fertile days? Do we need to make a schedule for sex? What if one of us is infertile? These are all very common questions and we’ll guide you through getting started.

Pregnancy Odds With At-Home Natural Conception

For most people the odds of pregnancy occurring in any given month are anywhere from 15-25%. Of course, this is a generalization and there are other things that factor into your chances of natural conception:

  • Age: After age 30 female ovarian reserve, along with the number of healthy eggs, begins to diminish. By age 40, the number of healthy eggs and chances of a healthy pregnancy drops significantly. For men, whose sperm regenerates every few months, the quality, count and viability of sperm can also be affected by age.
  • Menstrual Cycle: If you experience irregular periods, you may not be ovulating every month. This can also make it difficult to time sex for conception.
  • Amount and Timing of Sex: Obviously the less sex you have, the less likely you are to become pregnant. However, timing matters more than frequency, which is why it’s important to know when you ovulate.
  • Length of Time Trying to Conceive: If you’re a woman under 35 and have been trying to conceive for at least 12 consecutive months without success, you should contact your doctor for a fertility assessment. If you’re over age 35, schedule an appointment after six consecutive months.
  • Chronic Illness: Many illnesses, chronic conditions and their treatment affect both male and female fertility. If you suspect your condition or the medication you take to control that condition are interfering with your ability to conceive, talk to your doctor.

    Predicting Ovulation

    Ovulation normally occurs mid-cycle, or for a female with a 28-day cycle, about 14 days after the start of a period. But not all women have predictable cycles. You do have about 24 hours for fertilization to happen after ovulation, and below are some ways to predict ovulation with some accuracy.

    • Basal Body Temperature: About the time your ovaries are ready to release an egg your body temperature rises slightly, usually first thing after you wake up. A special basal thermometer is a very sensitive thermometer that detects the difference in body temperature.
  • Ovulation Testing Kits or Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK): These kits are used to detect the amount of luteinizing hormone in your urine. This hormone normally goes up around the time ovulation occurs and, like basal body temperature, gives you a fairly accurate idea of when to time sex for the best opportunity to conceive.
  • Fertility Monitor: A fertility monitor combines both the basal body temperature and hormone measurement to provide an even more dependable prediction of ovulation. There are different kinds of monitors, including some that measure estrogen and progesterone and can predict when you’re about to start your period.
  • Hormone Blood Testing Kit: This test is similar to the finger prick that checks a diabetic’s blood sugar. This test measures a few different reproduction-related hormones in your blood and indicates when the measurements show you’re ovulating.

    When to Schedule a Fertility Assessment

    While many couples and individuals assume getting pregnant will be a piece of cake, that isn’t always the case. If you suspect you or your partner may have a fertility issue, it’s time to schedule an appointment for a fertility assessment.

    Tests will look for underlying conditions that may interfere with your ability to conceive. For women, this can range from a hormonal imbalance,to fallopian tube issues to endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome.

    Men may have a similar hormonal imbalance or testicular condition such as varicocele, scar tissue, a blockage affecting ejaculation or another condition affecting sperm production or delivery. An at-home sperm analysis can measure sperm count, motility (are they good swimmers?) and shape, along with a few other conditions that might affect fertility. Test results are typically lab-certified, and your doctor can provide recommendations on the best and most reliable tests.

    How to Improve Your Odds for At-Home Pregnancy

    While it may feel like the entire outcome is out of your hands, there are plenty of ways both men and women can assist. They include:

    • Get to and maintain a healthy weight. If you’re underweight, take steps to increase your BMI to a healthy zone. Overweight? Start by losing just 10 percent of your weight, and continue until you reach your ideal weight.
  • Eat a “clean diet” such as the Mediterranean Diet or similar way of eating that focuses on whole, healthy, fresh unprocessed foods.
  • Cut back on caffeine. This includes your daily latte, Coke and even black tea.
  • Cut back, or better yet, cut out alcohol consumption.
  • Get regular exercise. Not only does this help keep you healthy and maintain your weight, a daily workout aids in reducing stress, which is proven to have an adverse effect on fertility.The final suggestion for improving your odds for conceiving? Contact the fertility experts at Halo Fertility. Together we’ll work with you in your quest for at-home conception.

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