Am I fertile?
Every woman has probably wondered this at some point. And yet, there’s really no way to know for sure.
Having a baby is one of those rare things that you only know is possible once you’ve already done it. Like climbing Mount Everest. Or walking out of Target having only purchased that one thing you walked in intending to purchase 🙂
Though having absolute certainty about your fertility is unrealistic, there are clues that you can look out for—some of which may put your mind at ease. And we’ve listed them out. Our list is not exhaustive, and its existence does not mean that you should panicking if you can’t give an automatic “yes” to every bullet point! That said, the more boxes you check, the more at ease you should be about your own fertility:
- You have a regular cycle. A regular cycle is defined as having your period arrive once every 24 to 35 days, and then bleeding for 3 to 7 days, not too light, not too heavy. Deviation from these norms could indicate a problem like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or Endometriosis, and those conditions can make becoming pregnant more difficult.
- You have a lot of eggs. The more eggs you have, the higher your chances of fertility. A simple blood test that measures Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) levels can determine your ovarian reserve–a measure of the quantity of eggs in your body (but not your egg quality!). You can do the test even if you are on birth control, but keep in mind that it is not always covered by insurance.
- You have not had any unchecked STDs.Diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which spreads quickly to the reproductive organs and harms fertility. This happens because the PID infection causes scar tissue to build up in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and other organs, preventing ovulation and eliminating the ability to conceive.
- You do not smoke or binge drink. Smoking can seriously harm your chances of conceiving and increase the likelihood of miscarriage. Heavy drinking and recreational drug use can also result in fertility problems.
- You are neither significantly overweight nor underweight. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has said that having a BMI of over 35 or less than 19 can affect how long it takes for you to get pregnant.
- You have a fertile partner. Be it a donor’s or your lover’s, you need viable sperm to fertilize your eggs. Almost 40% of all fertility-related issues arise from the male partner. So you could still need fertility treatment even if you yourself are completely fertile.