Your Fertility Checklist
Trying to conceive can be a very exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming and as it wears on, not to mention tiring and frustrating as well. You may have done your research on how to get pregnant fast and realized there’s a ton of information out there - making it difficult to figure out where to start.
Not to worry! We’ve put together a list to help you get pregnant as quickly as possible and as cheaply as possible. There is no need to spend money on tests and supplements if they are unlikely to get you closer to your goals. Using this information as a guide will help you better understand your body, your partner’s body, and what’s really worth the price.
Before we dive in, let’s start with the basics! For conception to occur, you need three things: sperm, an egg, and fertilization (when sperm meets egg). While this seems pretty simple, fertility is complex and sometimes things don’t always go as planned. However, by checking these boxes you can detect issues early on, that would prevent you from conceiving later.
Step 1: Figure out when you are fertile
Fertilization is when sperm meets egg - also known as the moment of conception. To give sperm and egg a chance to meet, you need to understand when your body is fertile so that you can time intercourse correctly.
There are several options to track suspected ovulation, including LH tests (ovulation predictor kits), cervical mucus monitoring, and BBT, among others. With these methods, you will know which days are your most fertile so you can time intercourse correctly and have the best chance at conception.
Step 2: Optimize your chances by confirming successful ovulation
When most people think of egg quality, they think of the egg itself - the thing that eventually grows into a newborn. In reality, testing the quality of an egg is nearly impossible through hormone tests; it requires DNA and chromosomal testing. However, testing follicle and ovulation quality is much simpler and a great place to start!
Without ovulation, you have no chance of conception. This is why checking ovulation first can save you from spending time and money on other hormone tests you may not need.
Ovulation is considered healthy when an egg is released and the empty follicle produces enough progesterone over time to support an embryo, should an egg become fertilized. Right now you may be thinking, great - I’ll call up my doctor and order a cycle day 21 progesterone blood test! But, before you do that, there is actually an easier, less invasive, and cheaper way to confirm ovulation.
Proov is the first and only FDA cleared PdG test kit to confirm ovulation at home. PdG is the urine metabolite of progesterone and only rises when serum progesterone levels are also elevated. Unlike a one-time progesterone blood draw, with Proov you can test PdG levels over a period of 4 days after suspected ovulation, which is critical when it comes to confirming healthy ovulation.
Improving Ovulation Naturally
If your Proov results are positive days 7-10 after suspected ovulation, then ovulatory issues are most likely not a barrier to conception and you can move onto the next step. However, if some or all of your Proov tests are negative during the testing window, there are a few changes you can make to help improve ovulation:
Diet: While foods don’t directly contain PdG, there are some foods which can help improve PdG production like beans, broccoli, pumpkin, or spinach.
Seed Cycling: Seed cycling involves eating different types of seeds during different phases of your cycle. The seeds help promote a hormone balance in your body. You can learn more about seed cycling here!
Herbals: Herbals like vitex, red raspberry leaf, and maca can all help PdG production and promote a hormone balance.
Supplementation: Bio-identical progesterone supplements are widely available and are to be prescribed by a doctor. If you’re interested in a supplement, we recommend consulting your doctor.
Want more ways to help improve ovulation? Check out this blog.
After making one or more of these changes, we recommend retesting ovulation with Proov. If your results improve, then ovulation should no longer be a concern and you can move on to step three!
But, if you’ve tried to improve ovulation and still aren’t seeing positive Proov results, this is when we recommend additional testing or consulting your doctor. Other hormones tests you can try include AMH for egg count, FSH and LH for ovary function, and TSH for thyroid function. If any of these tests show hormones out of the normal range, we recommend consulting with your doctor to help you better understand what’s going on.
Step 3: Check out his swimmers
Once you’ve got the fertile window and healthy ovulation covered, it’s important to understand what’s going on with your partner’s sperm. There are two main aspects of sperm that matter most: sperm count and sperm motility, meaning are there enough sperm and can they get to where they need to be (the egg). There are many at-home sperm tests on the market that test sperm count but only a few that test count and motility, so look for a kit that measures both. We like Yo Home Sperm Test and if you want to save a few bucks, enter code MFB5 at checkout on their website for $5 off. If your partner’s sperm test results show he’s all good, then great! You can check this box and move on. If the sperm test shows low sperm count or motility, there are a few things you can do to try to improve results.
Improving Sperm Naturally
Diet or lifestyle changes: One suggestion for improving sperm is changing his diet or lifestyle. Vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc are all very important when producing healthy sperm. Supplements, such as maca root or tribulus terrestris, have both been shown to improve sperm count in men. Exercising regularly can also help increase testosterone and sperm quality.
Sperm friendly lubricant: Make sure to check that your lubricant is “sperm friendly.” Many lubricants contain ingredients or have a pH that can be harmful to sperm. Sperm friendly lubricants also mimic the viscosity and consistency of cervical mucus, making it an ideal environment for the sperm to travel. Our medical advisor, Dr. Aimee, put some popular lubes to the test and you can check out the results for yourself!
Try boxers: Does your partner wear tight underwear? Studies have shown that tight underwear may impair sperm production. Boxers fit more loosely and are preferred if you’re concerned about sperm.
After making any or all of these changes, have your partner retest his sperm. Hopefully his results improve, but if not, we recommend consulting your doctor.
If sperm and ovulation are healthy and you are having intercourse during your fertile window, but still not getting pregnant, we recommend seeing your doctor. They can test you for less common causes of infertility like blocked fallopian tubes, genetic factors, or structural abnormalities within the uterus - things mentioned in the TUSHY method, developed by Dr. Aimee.
Using this checklist will save you both time and money on your TTC journey and can help you detect any issues that may prevent you from successfully conceiving sooner! Plus, it empowers you to have better conversations with your doctor. Fertility consultations are upwards of $200 and are not unlimited in terms of time with the doctor. The more you know about your fertility, the more effectively you can use that time to help reach your goals faster.
Have questions about the checklist? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!