8 Surprising Things You May Not Know About Fertility

Robyn Shortland
Written by Robyn Shortland

If you would have asked me in my 20’s what I knew about fertility, I wouldn’t have known what to reply with.  At school I got taught the very basics, and knew the standard picture of a women’s womb, but beyond that, I knew nothing.  It wasn’t just me, it was my peers too. 

We were absolutely clueless! 

At school they taught you that you would be pregnant instantly after any fraternising with a boy.

For so many people this is not the case.  Globally, 1 in 6 people suffer with infertility (WHO 2023).  That is a huge number of people.  It could be you, or a sibling or friend, colleague or the driver who just pulled out in front of you because she just had some bad news and was not concentrating.  These people are actually everywhere and that is why I wanted to share some interesting facts about fertility that you may not know.

1. The Ovaries Are Not Actually Attached To The Fallopian Tubes

Mind, blown.  In all the diagrams you see in Biology class, they are attached by the fallopian tubes, but this is not actually the case.  By some sort of wizardry, when the time comes for ovulation each month, the fallopian tubes open up their broad upper ends — called infundibula — which lie very close to the ovaries. These infundibula have fringe-like extensions called fimbriae that move in a waving motion to help guide eggs from the ovaries into the Fallopian tubes. It’s like some magical dance which happens every month.

2.  There Are Only 6 Days In A Women’s Cycle When She Can Actually Conceive

Yes, only 6.  This is known as the ‘fertile window’.  The day of ovulation and the 5 days prior to ovulation.  Chances are at their highest in the few days before ovulation.  Ovulation testing strips are available so you can test your LH (luteinising hormone) which will rise sharply during ovulation.

3. A Man Can Change His Semen Quality In 90 Days

If a man changes anything in this diet or lifestyle, the changes can be observed 3 months later.  If he quits smoking, drinking, tidies up his diet and gets some exercise, then his sperm can go from immobile and misshapen to vastly improved in that short space of time, just like that.

4. When It Comes to Age And Fertility, It Is The Combination Of Both Partners’ Ages That Determines The Likelihood Of Pregnancy

Not just the women’s age, although this is a key factor. A women’s fertility starts to decline at the age of 30 but starts decreasing quickly by the age of 35.  For couples trying to get pregnant when the woman is aged 35 or younger, their monthly chance of getting pregnant is about 20%, or one in five. By age 40, the chance of pregnancy is about 5% each month. 

Research shows that men younger than 40 have a better chance of fathering a child than those older than 40, and this is likely due to sperm quality decreasing with age.

5. Birth Control Can Actually Help Your Fertility

Amazingly, the birth control pill is used as a tool for fertility for a number of reasons. It can be used to regulate your cycle before an IVF cycle begins and it can be used if you have endometriosis or uterine fibroids to slow down any uterine tissue growth.  From the moment you stop taking the pill, your cycle should return to its pre-pill rhythm in about a month.

6. Your Weight Affects The Chances Of Getting Pregnant.

Aside from all the other risks which it can pose to your body, having either too much fat, or too little can really throw a spanner in the works.  Having too much can upset the hormone balance by leading to an over production of oestrogen.  Your cycles may be less regular, you may ovulate less often, and you lower your chances of getting pregnant. On the flip side, too little body fat means your body may not produce enough hormones to ovulate each month or to sustain a pregnancy if you do conceive. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. Just don’t go crazy or start weight lifting as a new hobby!

7. Sexual Positions Don’t Affect Your Chances Of Conceiving

No study ever conducted has found that any sexual position before, during or after, has had any effect on conception.  Sperm can be found in the cervical canal mere seconds after ejaculation, irrelevant of the position which got it there. Of course, aiming for the deepest penetration and maximum cervical contact makes sense, but the optimal position varies because every woman’s body is unique.  There is absolutely no need to be a gymnast or stand on your head to make a baby so please don’t do so, unless that’s how you roll.

8. A Women’s Caffeine Intake Can Affect How Long It Takes To Get Pregnant

Several studies have shown that women who drink too much caffeine can take longer to get pregnant as well as having a higher risk of miscarriage. Recommendations say that you should limit caffeine to 200mg per day which equates to approximately 2 instant cups of coffee or one small filter cup (but this can vary widely). Caffeine can also be found in chocolate, green and black tea, cola and all in different amounts so please check first if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

I hope you feel more enlightened to the weird and wonderful world of fertility after learning of these facts.

If you are thinking of trying for a baby, and want to get yourself in the best health to do so, contact me to book your free, no obligations fertility review and we can discuss how I can help you on your journey.

Main – Photo by RDNE Stock project