In our blog, Trying to Conceive: Starting the Journey, we explained how ovulation and fertilization work. With a complex hormonal system governing those processes, it is not surprising that some steps may not work optimally in every woman 100% of the time. Every woman can have a month when something goes amiss, but if you have many cycles that do not result in ovulation, that can be a cause for your infertility. That’s why the first thing your fertility doctor will check is whether you ovulate regularly. Ever wonder why your fertility doctor does not pay the attention you felt was warranted to decipher your basal body temperature (BBT) charting? BBT has probably been the most misunderstood practice.
Your basal body temperature can be affected by your lifestyle, such as irregular bedtimes, coffee consumption, varying exercise schedules, and so on. Also, if you do manage to record consistent basal body temperature patterns, by the time your basal body temperature rises, you have already ovulated which means you might have missed the precious pre-ovulation window of time when your egg has the highest chance of fertilizing.
On the other hand, if you use an ovulation kit, you will know when your body is about to ovulate, which allows you to try at the right time, when your egg is at its best. Be aware, however, that the ovulation kit might not work well for 5% to 10% of women. The reason: Some women’s LH hormone “looks” slightly different, and the ovulation dipstick does not detect it well.
If there is any doubt due to irregular periods, or the ovulation dipstick doesn’t show well, your fertility doctor can confirm whether you have ovulated by ordering a blood test called serum progesterone. Progesterone is the mother of all hormones for trying-to-conceive efforts. Progesterone prepares the lining of your uterus for the embryo to implant and is vital in supporting the embryo in the early stages of pregnancy.
If your doctor confirms that you’re not ovulating regularly, then he/she needs to figure out why. Some causes are easily treatable, and some are not. If you are not ovulating regularly, your fertility doctor can prescribe ovarian stimulation medications that will force your ovaries to produce mature follicles and release the egg at the right time.