When are you most fertile? A guide to understanding your fertile window

Do you know when are you most fertile? Check out these top 10 questions about fertility and pregnancy timing. You have decided to start a family and embark on the exciting pregnancy journey. One of the most important aspects of this journey is to find out when are you most fertile so that you can try to conceive during that time. There is a duration called the fertile window when you are most fertile and has a high chance of getting pregnant. By understanding your fertile window, you can plan the right time to have sex and maximise the chances of conceiving. Here are some commonly asked questions about ovulation, fertile window, and fertility. 1. What is ovulation? Ovulation is when your body releases an egg from your ovary every month for fertilisation. It happens during the mid of your menstrual cycle and lasts only for a day. On an average, most women have their ovulation around the mid-cycle or the 14th day of a 28-days cycle. However, it can vary according to women. Some may ovulate earlier or later, depending on their cycle’s duration. 2. How can I determine when I am ovulating? There are a few ways to determine ovulation: –       Tracking the menstrual cycle One of the most common and easy ways to know your ovulation day is by tracking your menstrual cycle. Ovulation occurs in the middle of the cycle. If your menstruation cycle lasts 30 days, then the ovulation day may occur between the 14th to 16th day. –       Basal body temperature becomes high Basal body temperature is the temperature when your body is on complete rest. It increases when you are nearing ovulation. Typically, body temperature will be around 35.5 °C to 36.6 °C before ovulation. During ovulation, the temperature will be higher than usual. You may be nearing ovulation if your body is heaty some days after menstruating. It is best to keep track of your body temperature in the morning before you get out of bed. –       Cervical mucus changes to a wetter texture Cervical mucus is a fluid produced by the cervix. During the fertile window, the mucus becomes clearer, wetter, and stickier. It also has a raw egg-white texture which enables the intercourse to be smoother. 3. When are you most fertile? You are most fertile during your fertile window, which includes the days leading up to ovulation, the day of ovulation, and the day after ovulation. The fertile window lasts about 5-7 days for most women and occurs during the mid-cycle. If you have intimate relations during this time, your chances of getting pregnant are high. It’s important to remember that every woman’s cycle is different, and tracking ovulation can help you determine the timing of your fertile window. In addition, a fertility calculator or ovulation calculator can help you determine your fertile window, provided that your menstrual cycles are regular and ovulation occurs regularly. To use the calculator, you simply need to input the first day of your last menstrual cycle and your average cycle length, and it will estimate your fertile window. 4. Should I have sexual intercourse daily during my fertile window? It is not necessary to have intercourse every day during the fertile window. However, it is important to have intercourse regularly during the fertile window to increase the chances of conception. Typically, the fertile window is the six-day period that ends around the day of ovulation. The optimal time to have intercourse is in the days leading up to ovulation when you are most fertile. It is recommended to have intercourse every other day during this period to ensure that sperm is present when ovulation occurs. Ultimately, the decision of how often to have intercourse during the fertile window is up to you and your partner. Thus, always remember to maintain a healthy and supportive relationship, communicate openly about fertility goals and preferences, and seek medical advice if needed. 5. Does age affect my fertility? Age impacts fertility rate. Women are most fertile in their 20s and early 30s. However, the older you are, the less fertile you can be. Women have a lifetime supply of eggs in the ovaries. The average number of eggs you have during the first menstrual cycle is around 250 000 eggs. As your age increases, the number of eggs decreases. When you are 30 years old, the number of eggs will be less than 52 000. By 40, it drops even lower to around 9 000. Thus, it is best to get pregnant when your egg count facilitates pregnancy. You can opt for egg freezing earlier to get pregnant after your 30s. If you have been trying for more than six months without success, it is time to seek a doctor. 6. Can stress or lifestyle choices affect my fertility? Stress and certain lifestyle choices can impact your fertility. Chronic stress can disturb your menstrual cycle and affect ovulation, making it harder to conceive. Having constant stress can lead to shutting down the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, a hormone-regulating mechanism that controls the reproductive system. It can disrupt the connection between your brain and ovaries, causing delays and absences in ovulation or irregular periods. Lifestyle choices like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet and irregular sleep cycles can also impact fertility negatively.  7. When are you least likely to get pregnant? You are least likely to get pregnant during your period. During period, you may have a low level of fertility. It is because no matured egg is released, making it harder to conceive. During menstruation, the unfertilised egg disintegrates and sheds with the uterus lining built for egg implantation. Another phase where getting pregnant is less probable is during the follicular phase or the first part of the menstrual cycle. This is because the ovary is getting ready to release an egg at this moment, and the cervical mucus is not conducive to sperm survival. The time between ovulation and menstruation,

Find Out How Much Is the IVF Treatment?

How Much Is the IVF Treatment for Couples with Fertility issues?  For many couples, starting a family is a dream they hope will come true. Unfortunately, not everyone can conceive naturally. This is where I believe, In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) becomes a viable option. IVF has been around for many years and has helped millions of couples achieve their dreams to get pregnant and have a child. However, a common question that arises is “how much is the IVF treatment?”, but before getting into the details of the costing or price, I think it is important to first understand the essentials of the IVF treatment. What is IVF Treatment? In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a fertility treatment that involves fertilising an egg with a sperm outside of the womb in a laboratory dish, after which the resulting embryo is transferred back into the womb. Typically, IVF is used when other methods of conception, like Intrauterine insemination (IUI), have failed. It is often considered the last resort for couples trying to conceive. The IVF procedure starts with the use of fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, which are then harvested and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. After fertilisation, the resulting embryos are monitored to track their development before being transferred into the womb, where they implant and develop into a healthy pregnancy. Who can benefit from IVF treatment? IVF is suggested for couples facing severe infertility problem. Some of the problems include: Fallopian tube blockage Fallopian tube blockage can prevent the sperm from reaching the egg, making it difficult to conceive naturally. IVF can bypass this fertility problem as it would not involve the fallopian tube during fertilisation. It works by retrieving the eggs from the ovaries and fertilising them with sperm in the lab. The resulting embryos can then be transferred to the uterus.  Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) PCOS can make it difficult for women to ovulate regularly due to imbalance in hormone level. It may be caused by the increased level in testosterone, luteinising hormone (LH) or from having insulin resistance. These problems can make the conception more challenging. IVF can help by using medication to stimulate ovulation and retrieving the eggs for fertilisation in the lab. Endometriosis Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of it, sometimes in the fallopian tubes, and can cause pain and affect fertility. For couples with endometriosis, IVF can be an option because it bypasses the need for the sperm and egg to meet in the fallopian tubes, which may be affected by the condition.  Uterine fibroids Uterine fibroids are growths that can develop in the uterus and affect fertility. Depending on the size and location of the fibroids, they can interfere with the implantation of a fertilised egg. IVF can help by transferring the fertilised eggs directly into the uterus.  Problems in sperm production or function Men having problems with sperm production or function indicates fertility problems. The problem in sperm includes low sperm count, sperm with poor motility or abnormally sized sperm. If any of these problems are found during a sperm analysis, then IVF may be suggested. Alternative options for fertility treatment besides IVF. IVF is not the only option for couples struggling with fertility problems. There are other fertility treatments available that may be less invasive and costly. Before knowing how much is the IVF treatment, get to know the other alternative options that can also aid fertility problems. Some of the alternative treatments besides IVF include: –       Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) IUI involves placing washed sperm directly into the womb. IUI treatment begins with monitoring the woman’s natural menstrual cycle to determine the optimal time for the procedure. Sperm is then collected, washed and concentrated in the laboratory. The concentrated sperm is then inserted into the uterus lining using a thin catheter. This process increases the chances of the sperm reaching and fertilising the egg, resulting in a successful pregnancy. IUI treatment is often used in cases of unexplained infertility or when the male partner has a low sperm count or mobility. It is also suggested by doctors for women who have mild fertility problems such as mild endometriosis.  –       Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) ICSI is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that can be used to treat male infertility factors, such as low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or abnormal sperm shape. ICSI involves the injection of a single sperm directly into the cytoplasm of the egg using a specialized pipette, bypassing the natural barriers to fertilization. The fertilized egg, now called an embryo, is then cultured in a laboratory for a few days before being transferred into the woman’s uterus. ICSI has been shown to be an effective treatment option for couples experiencing male infertility factors, as well as for those with unexplained infertility or other fertility issues. How much is the IVF Treatment? The cost of undergoing IVF treatment can vary significantly and is influenced by several factors, including medical history and the clinic chosen to perform the procedure. In Malaysia, the average cost of a single cycle of IVF treatment ranges between RM 14,000 to RM 25,000, with some reputable clinics charging up to RM 25,000 per cycle. Additionally, medications or other procedures may incur additional fees depending on your specific fertility problem. Couples may require multiple treatment cycles before achieving a successful pregnancy, so it’s important to consult with a doctor and understand the personalized cost of treatment. Fortunately, financial assistance is available to those who may struggle to afford IVF treatment. I often advise my patients to explore government programs, insurance coverage, or financial assistance programs related to fertility treatments.  I believe that you can determine the best course of action to pursue your dream of starting a family.by gathering enough information and speaking with your doctor regarding your condition.  Financial Aid in Malaysia Many families do crowd-funding where grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and

Where does fertilisation occur?

Where does fertilisation occur? All you need to know about fertilisation. You might be planning for a pregnancy or trying to understand how successful pregnancy happens. One of the fundamental keys to a successful pregnancy is knowing about fertilisation. Knowing where does fertilisation occurs and the importance of fertilisation can bring you one step closer to figuring out successful pregnancies. To understand the process, here are a few things you should know.   What is fertilisation? Fertilisation is when a sperm and an egg combine to form an embryo, which will develop into a baby after nine months. Fertilisation is a crucial step in pregnancy. Without fertilisation, you cannot get pregnant.   Where does fertilisation occur? Many people might misunderstand that fertilisation occurs in the uterus. However, it is not true. Fertilisation occurs in the fallopian tubes. After intercourse, the sperm from the ejaculate travels through the cervix into the vagina (womb). Then, it travels further through the fallopian tube to reach the eggs. The eggs are typically released from the ovary during ovulation. If one of the sperms manages to combine with the egg, it indicates that the fertilisation process is a success. After fertilisation, the combination of egg and sperm forms an embryo which will be implanted in the womb. If a couple has fertility problems, they may have trouble conceiving. Thus, they would have to undergo fertility treatments like IVF treatment. IVF treatment will have the egg and sperm fertilised outside of the uterus. It will be done in a laboratory on a petri dish. After fertilisation, the doctor will insert the fertilised egg or embryo into the womb to form a baby.    When does fertilisation happen? Fertilisation usually occurs during the time of ovulation. Ovulation is the process where a matured egg is released from the ovary. It will then travel through the fallopian tube, where it waits to be fertilised by the sperm. If fertilisation does not occur, the egg will shed along with the uterus lining through menstruation.   How fertility problems affect the chances of pregnancy Fertility problems can significantly impact a couple’s chances of getting pregnant. The effects of fertility problems can be devastating, and heartbreaking and may even cause emotional stress in relationships. Understanding how fertility problems can affect the chances of pregnancy is crucial for couples trying to start a family. Here are some of the issues that reduce the chances of conceiving: –          Blocks in the fallopian tube Knowing where does fertilisation occur will show you that the fallopian tube is an essential organ in the female reproductive system. When there is a problem in the fallopian tube, it indicates signs of fertility problems. Blocked fallopian tubes are a common problem faced by women with fertility issues. When the fallopian tube gets blocked, it restricts the passage for sperm to travel towards the egg. Thus, fertilisation does not occur. Doctors recommend fertility treatments like IVF to help with conceiving when the tubes are blocked. –          Endometriosis   Endometriosis is when the tissue that usually lines the inside of the uterus grows outside. The growth of the tissues can interfere with fertilisation by blocking or distorting the fallopian tube. It eventually affects their normal functioning, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. –          Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can affect a woman’s chance to conceive. World Health Organization stated that around 116 million women suffer from PCOS. In PCOS, high insulin levels in the body can lead to an increase in androgen, a male hormone in women. It can cause changes in the ovaries and interfere with ovulation. The hormone imbalance can lead to the enlargement and development of cysts due to eggs not maturing and releasing as they should. It can lead to irregular or absent menstrual cycles and disrupt ovulation, making it difficult for a woman to get pregnant. Women with PCOS need proper treatment to balance their hormone levels and increase pregnancy chances. –          Male infertility Male infertility refers to the inability to contribute to conceiving a child. It can affect fertilisation negatively. For fertilisation to happen, the sperm’s health should be in good condition. A healthy sperm count should be at least 15 million and above, and the sperm should have good motility and shape. If the sperm’s health is below average, then it may not be able to penetrate the egg and fertilise it. –          Unknown reason It is a situation where the regular fertility test cannot detect the cause of infertility. Even though it is difficult to figure out, it can be caused by conditions and factors like age-related infertility, ovulation problem, and many more. These conditions can impact the ability of the egg and sperm to meet and fertilise, resulting in difficulties in conceiving. It is essential to consult a doctor earlier to check the fertility status.   What are the differences between natural fertilisation and fertilisation through treatments? Natural fertilisation is when sperm and egg fertilise naturally in the fallopian tube without medication intervention. When sexual intercourse happens, sperm are deposited into the vagina. It then passes through the uterus towards the fallopian tube, where it encounters the egg released from the ovary. Fertilisation through treatments refers to medical procedures that assist the fertilisation process. However, where does fertilisation occur with medical intervention? That can vary depending on the procedure. There are different types of fertility treatments: –          In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) It is the most well-known form of fertilisation treatment. Eggs are collected from the ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory dish. Upon fertilisation, the embryo will be transferred to the womb. IVF may be suggested for endometriosis, PCOS and more. –          Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)  ICSI involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg. ICSI is suggested when the sperm has

What is IUI Treatment?

What Is IUI Treatment? Here Are 6 Things You Should Know Before Considering the Treatment There are many couples out there who dream of holding their babies. While some couples are lucky enough to have a smooth pregnancy, there are others who may struggle to conceive. If getting pregnant seems to be a problem, do not worry. With today’s technology in the medical field, there are multiple ways you can get pregnant despite your fertility problem.  Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a type of fertility treatment where sperm is placed directly into the womb. It is a common treatment for couples having fertility problems planning to conceive. If you are trying to understand what is IUI treatment, here are six things you should know before considering the treatment   IUI treatment is less painful. IUI treatment, in general, is less painful. It uses less invasive tools than other fertility treatments like In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) or Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Doctors use a catheter, which is a flexible tool, to place the sperm into the womb. Some women might feel slight discomfort or cramping during the insertion, but the pain usually subsides within hours. If you experience pain for a prolonged period, you may call your doctor to get checked.      You can opt for IUI treatment if you have mild fertility problems. IUI treatment is usually recommended if couples have mild fertility problems. Mild problems may include the following: Low sperm quality A healthy sperm quality depends on healthy sperm count, motility, and shape. According to World Health Organization, a healthy sperm count should be around 15 million per millilitre (ml) or at least 39 million per ejaculation. Good sperm motility means at least 40% of sperm should swim forward with no problem. A sperm count within 10 to 15 million sperm per millimetre shows mild oligospermia; Sperm motility below 40% suggests low sperm motility. Doctors may recommend IUI treatment if the female counterpart has no fertility issues. However, it is best to consult the doctor so they can advise the best option for the fertility problem. Mild endometriosis Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrium tissues grow outside the uterus. These growths are known as endometrial implants. Usually, these tissues build and shed every month during menstruation. However, the tissues that grow outside of the uterus cannot be shed, thus, gets trapped. These trapped tissues then form scarring and cysts. Mild endometriosis is a condition that includes a few small implants and scarred tissues in the reproductive organs. Doctors may suggest undergoing a few rounds of IUI treatment for this condition. However, if the endometriosis is severe, you may be requested to take other fertility treatments like IVF. Cervical issues The cervical issue can also reduce the chances of pregnancy. If sperm cannot pass through the cervix, it may not reach the egg and fertilisation may not happen. Additionally, if the cervical mucus is thick and sticky, it can slow the sperm or even block the sperm from reaching the egg. IUI treatments allow the sperm to skip the process as sperm is directly placed in the uterus. Unexplained fertility It is a condition whereby a standard fertility test cannot detect the cause of a couple’s fertility problem. You and your partner may have a healthy uterus, good sperm count and egg count but still unable to get pregnant. In this case, doctors may suggest IUI treatment to help couples get pregnant.    IUI procedure is less complicated. The duration of a complete IUI cycle can vary depending on your fertility problem. If only one counterpart has fertility problems, the process may end quickly. However, if a couple has fertility issues combined, it may take slightly longer to get pregnant. It may require more time, but the process is less complicated. Here is the step-by-step process for any IUI treatment so you can understand what is IUI treatment all about and what to expect during the procedure. Step 1: Consultation with a doctor Generally, a couple will start the IUI journey by consultation with a doctor before the procedure. The doctor may require the medical history of a couple. They may proceed with a blood test, a semen sample, an ultrasound scan and other relevant tests to determine the cause of the fertility problem. Step 2: Ovarian stimulation Depending on the problems, the doctor may give fertility medications or injections to stimulate the ovaries. It helps to increase the number of eggs released during ovulation. Step 3: Monitoring and ultrasound While taking medications, the doctor may ask to visit a few times to monitor the ovaries and the development of eggs. It ensures that the progress is going smoothly without complications in the development. Step 4: Ovulation induction Once the eggs mature, the doctor may give a ‘trigger’ shot to stimulate ovulation. It shortens the time of ovulation. These four steps can be skipped if the inability to get pregnant is due to male infertility. Step 5: Sperm preparation On the day of the procedure, the male counterpart will provide a semen sample. It is then washed to remove immobile sperm, debris, seminal fluid and other substances resulting in a highly concentrated sperm. This step is done to avoid any irritation in the uterus, and it also increases the chances of pregnancy. Step 6: Insemination During insemination, the doctor will use a catheter to insert the highly concentrated sperm into the uterus. There may be slight discomfort during the insertion, but it is entirely normal. The process takes only a few minutes to complete. Some women may be required to undergo a second insemination depending on their fertility problem. Step 7: Pregnancy test After the procedure, progesterone tablet will be prescribed. It is a hormone that prepares the uterine lining for a possible pregnancy. You may visit the doctor after three weeks of the procedure, to check whether or not you are pregnant. Alternatively, you can also check at home using the pregnancy kit.   IUI may not be