The most basic definition of fertility is related to one’s capacity and ability to reproduce or produce offspring. Even if this is something biological and natural, some people still experience issues connected with it. Questions like: What does fertility calendar mean? How to increase fertility? What is the difference between male and female fertility? very often arise. This is somehow expected as fertility may be a bit more complicated than many people think it is.
Demographically, fertility pertains to the actual number of produced offspring than to the individuals’ biophysical capacity to reproduce.
Fertility has many sides as it influences extend to social, economic, and of course biological concerns. The social impact of fertility is felt in the increasing or decreasing population, while its economic effect is seen in the purchasing power of households.
The biological side of fertility has many aspects. First, individuals must understand how the fertility calendar works. For females, the first menstrual period is arbitrarily assigned as women experience their first monthly period differently. To some, it comes very early, while to others, it comes a bit later.
Whatever the case, every woman regularly experiences (unless there are reproductive health issues) monthly menstrual cycle. It is said that women get their menstrual cycle every 28 (+,- 3) days. By recording the cycles, it would be easier to predict the ovulation phase which occurs around two weeks of the 28-day cycle. The most fertile time for women is between 12th to 16th day—two days before and/ or after the egg is produced (14th day in the 28-day cycle).
Women’s fertility peaks at the age of 20 and usually gradually drops at the age of 35. For men, the most fertile years are from around 20 to 39 as studies suggest that within this age range, men produce good amount of mature sperm. Until 50 years of age, men still have the ability to produce capable sperm. From 70 years old, however, only about 10% of seminiferous tubules carry mature sperm.
Even couples who are within the best age range sometimes experience difficulty to produce offspring due to various reasons. Below are some factors doctors believe could affect the ability of women to conceive.
Weight Loss/ Weight Gain
Apart from serious health risks being obese or overweight poses, it also disrupts the ovulation process making it harder for a woman to conceive and bear a child as excess body fats can produce hormones that interfere with ovulation.
On the other hand, if a woman is too thin or light, it might be difficult to conceive and sustain pregnancy as little body fats mean the body may not be capable to produce hormones necessary to ovulate.
Certain nutrients and vitamins like vitamin C, zinc, and iron are associated with longer menstrual cycle which would mean less frequent ovulation. In turn, less frequent ovulation translates to lower chances of sperm cells meeting the egg cells. The end result is minimal chance to get pregnant. Watching the eating patterns, then, can help in pregnancy.
Smoking cigarettes have been proven to impair the fertility of both sexes. Also, if pregnancy occurs, smoking may lead to miscarriage.
One of the strongest factors, perhaps, that affect fertility is the frequency of intercourse. Logically and as revealed by scientific studies, having sex every other day does not lower the sperm count of men.
Although studies suggest that having sex every day is still the most effective way to produce offspring, research shows that the effect of everyday sex in reproduction is the same with the effect of doing it every other day.
Aside from the factors above, there are other influences that must be taken into account by couples who wish to have a child. Some of which are protecting the sperm, kinds of beverages taken, knowing the fertile window, seeking serenity, and avoiding stress.
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