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What is the Connection Between Ovulation and Fertility?

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  • Written By: Laura A.
  • Edited By: Kathryn Hulick
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Ovulation marks the time in a woman’s menstrual cycle that she is most fertile. During this time, it is possible for the egg to become fertilized by sperm which leads to the formation of an embryo. Ovulation typically occurs about halfway through the menstrual cycle. Women who are trying to conceive can look for signs of this fertile phase. Ovulation and fertility are directly related to one another.

Conception occurs when a sperm unites with an egg. The only time this can happen is when the egg is released from the ovary. An egg can be fertilized for approximately 24 hours after ovulation. If the egg is not fertilized during that time period, it is not possible to get pregnant again until ovulation occurs again the following month. Ovulation and fertility only occur during this small window once per cycle.

A typical menstrual cycle lasts 28 days although some variation is normal. The cycle begins on the first day of menstruation and ends on the first day of the following menstrual period. Ovulation normally occurs halfway through this cycle. That means the best time for most women to get pregnant is two weeks after the first day of their period. Sperm can live inside the body for up to five days so increasing the frequency of sexual intercourse around ovulation can improve the odds of getting pregnant.

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Women who want to determine the best time to get pregnant can look for signs of ovulation and fertility. Some women might notice a sharp pain on either side of the lower abdomen at the time of ovulation. Checking cervical mucus can yield clues about the onset of ovulation and fertility. Women can take a sample of their cervical mucus and stretch it between their fingers to observe its consistency. Cervical mucus that resembles egg white and can be stretched a few centimeters between two fingers is a sign of ovulation.

It is possible for women with regular cycles to calculate ovulation dates by keeping track of past menstrual cycles on a calendar. Ovulation prediction kits can help take some of the guesswork out of identifying ovulation and fertility, particularly for women with irregular cycles. Some kits use a urine sample to measure the surge of luteinizing hormone that accompanies ovulation. Saliva tests can be used to pinpoint ovulation by identifying the changes in saliva that occur just prior to ovulation.

The relationship between ovulation and fertility is very strong. Women who do not ovulate cannot become pregnant. After several months of trying to conceive without success, a doctor can order blood tests to determine if ovulation occurs. Prescription medications can be administered to induce ovulation in some cases.

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