Whether you’re talking to a doctor, a friend or a relative, when you tell them you’re planning to start a family, one of the first things you’ll be advised to do is start learning about your fertility. If you’re facing challenges to your fertility, like low motility in your sperm, or PCOS interfering with your menstrual cycle, then learning exactly how they affect you and what you can do about them is vitally important. Even if you have no medically diagnosed bar to your fertility, it can still vary from day to day and week to week: finding out when it’s at its peak gives you a huge advantage.
Today we’re looking at how you can find out when you’re fertile, so you can choose the right fertility kit for you.
One of the simplest things you can do is simply track your period. Noting on the calendar the day your period begins (the first day of full bleeding) tells when your menstrual cycle begins. Noting the date of your next period gives you the length of your cycle.
Using another method (like an OPK) to confirm when you menstruate within that duration gives you another data point: something else to add to the calendar. If you have a regular cycle, you can be confident that the next cycle will be the same as the first, so you highlight the next month’s fertile window – the five days before you ovulate and the day after.
If your cycle isn’t regular – whether that’s due to stress, a condition like PCOS or simply how your body works, then simple charting won’t give you an effective answer to the fertility question.
There are various options for digging deeper: OPKs check for a spike in the Luteinising Hormone in your urine – this is the chemical that cues your ovaries to release a mature egg. They’re quick to use, but it’s possible to miss that surge by only a matter of hours, or fail to get an accurate result if you have a hormone based condition like hyperthyroidism.
You could also try measuring your BBT – your basal body temperature. The changes at this low level of your body temperature can reveal when your body is preparing to menstruate. This is harder method to follow, but the more accurate results can be very rewarding!