It is National Fertility Week! Doesn’t that sound like a good time. Is there an egg and sperm logo? There should be, dammit.
To celebrate, we sat down with Ms Stephanie Francis from the Fertility Coalition and asked her to tell us everything we might not know.
by STEPHANIE FRANCIS
1. This is when to have sex if you want to get pregnant
Two thirds of Australian men and women who have responded to surveys, didn’t know when in a woman’s cycle they should have sex if they wanted to conceive.
So, if you’re among the two thirds, the most fertile time in a woman’s cycle is the two days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation. You calculate your ovulation day by subtracting 14 days from the estimated start of your next period (so you need to know the average length of your cycle). If you have a 28-day cycle, your most fertile time would be days 12-14. You can find an ovulation calculator at www.yourfertility.org.au
2. Being overweight can affect your chances of getting pregnant
Women who are overweight or obese have less chance overall of getting pregnant than women of a healthy weight (with ‘healthy’ defined as having a body mass index – or BMI – of between 20 and 25). Overweight and obese women are also more likely to take longer than a year to conceive.
Being obese (BMI of more than 30) can cause pregnancy and birth complications, such as hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Being overweight or obese in pregnancy also has implications for your baby’s health later on, as children born to overweight or obese mothers are more likely to become obese children and adults – with associated health problems (including fertility issues). The good news is that if you’re overweight or obese and planning to try for a baby, losing even a few kilos can increase your chances of getting pregnant.
3. A man’s weight can affect his fertility
Overweight and obese men have worse sperm quality than men of healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can also cause hormonal changes in men that reduce fertility and make them less interested in sex. Men who are very overweight are also more likely to have problems getting an erection. Taken together, all these factors add up to less chance of a man who is overweight or obese fathering a child.
4. Smoking women reach menopause earlier than non-smoking women.