Ovulation is essential when it comes to having a baby. But do you know if you’re even ovulating —or ovulating regularly? Recently, Dr. Rachana Garde from Shady Grove Fertility’s Annandale, VA and Woodbridge, VA offices sat down with Good Morning Washington to discuss the topic of ovulation—the actual release of an egg from an ovary—and how it can be an indicator of your fertility.
Click to Watch the Full Interview:
Below are the main points of conversation from Dr. Garde’s interview:
Myth: If you wait until the age of 35 or later, your chances of conceiving are basically zero.
Dr. Garde explains, “It is true that the older we get as females, the egg quality does go down because women have all of their eggs at birth so age is a big deal when it comes to fertility. Over time, the number of eggs goes down, and the quality goes down. 35 is not some set number that after which you cannot conceive. But if you’re trying, earlier is better than later.”
There are also other ways women can have a baby later in life. One option is through the use of donated eggs, which is a very reliable option. Or proactively, women who are younger now and want to have a baby in the future can freeze their eggs for later use.
Myth: If you are having a period, you are ovulating.
According to Dr. Garde, this depends on the length of a women’s cycle. Women who have really long cycles are probably not ovulating, at least not regularly. Although, if your cycles are regular, meaning 28 days (plus or minus a week on either side) once every month, then you are most likely ovulating.
What does ovulation tell us about our bodies?
Simply put, every month, an egg is released. At the beginning of the menstrual cycle, the reproductive hormone, estrogen, increases as the ovary makes an egg out of the pool of resting follicles, or undeveloped eggs. Then, in the middle of the cycle, the developed egg is released from the ovary and, when it does not fertilize, the estrogen and other reproductive hormones stop working and you have a period to signify the end of your cycle.
When in your ovulation cycle should you try to conceive?
Mid-cycle is when the egg is likely to ovulate, so in a normal 28 day cycle, the ovulation window would be on day 14. However, timing is everything during the ovulation window because “when the egg actually releases, there’s only about 24 hours to actually fertilize, so it’s really not that easy to conceive,” says Dr. Garde.
How do you know when your 24 hour ovulation window begins?
When you ovulate, the egg is released under the control of a hormone called LH (luteinizing hormone), which is produced in the pituitary gland in your brain. A surge of the LH hormone indicates ovulation is about to occur. The increased levels of LH provide final maturation to the egg within the follicle and set ovulation in motion by releasing a mature egg. “LH surges in the body, it gets into the bloodstream, and into the urine, so when women are checking an ovulation kit, they’re actually checking an LH surge. That surge happens about 24 hours prior to an egg releasing, so when the LH surges, that is the optimal time to conceive,” says Dr. Garde. There are multiple brands of ovulation kits out on the market that can be purchased to check your LH level.
When should you seek help if it’s taking longer than expected to conceive?
If you are trying to conceive but are not having a normal period or know you are not ovulating there could be multiple reasons why, and you should get evaluated by a fertility specialist. Additionally, any woman under the age of 35 who has not become pregnant after having unprotected intercourse for 1 year and has normal cycles should see a fertility specialist as well. If you are 35 to 39 and have been having unprotected intercourse for 6 months with normal periods and no success, you should also seek an evaluation. If you are 40 or older, we recommend an immediate fertility evaluation.
If you have a normal menstrual cycle then you most likely are ovulating and there may be other reasons to why you are having trouble conceiving, and these reasons should also be evaluated.
If you want to learn more about what your menstrual cycle says about your fertility, Shady Grove Fertility physician, Dr. Yazigi, will be hosting a webinar on May 16, at 12 p.m. To be able to join and ask questions from the comfort of your home, please click here to register.
If you do not have a normal menstrual cycle and/or are having trouble conceiving, a very simple fertility evaluation may help determine if you are ovulating or if there are other factors. Shady Grove Fertility’s team of dedicated New Patient Liaisons is available to answer your questions and schedule a consultation with a physician. Call 877-971-7755 or click to schedule an appointment.
At Shady Grove Fertility, we’re here to give you the caring support you deserve as you start or grow your family. As a leading fertility and IVF center of excellence, we offer patients individualized care, innovative financial options, over 30 accepted insurance plans, and pregnancy rates among the highest of all national centers. We offer patients the convenience of 19 full-service and 6 satellite locations across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. More than 1,700 physicians choose Shady Grove Fertility to refer their patients, and more than 96 percent of our patients say they would recommend Shady Grove Fertility’s 39 physicians to a friend. With 10 Shady Grove Fertility babies born each day, your dream of starting or growing your family is within reach.