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10 Fertility Facts that Will Surprise You

The world of fertility and conception is complex and with so much information on this topic lacking on normal education, we can become overwhelmed and often surprised with some fertility facts.

We looked at 10 interesting aspects and share them with you, hoping these will help you navigate your journey to parenthood.

1. Fertility Rate

Infertility affects 1 in 4 people in developing countries and 1 in 6 in advanced economies. The World Health Organisation has declared it a major global problem with a significant impact on populations.

It affects not only people of reproductive age, but those being diagnosed with cancer or reproductive anomalies at a young age, and those over reproductive age who haven’t had their reproductive goals met.

2. Cost of Treatment

Fertility treatment is expensive and even though infertility is recognised as a disease, funding is still not the same as for other medical diseases. In fact, in the UK there is postcode lottery where you may have access to some cycles or no treatment at all based on where you live, even though it is the same National Health Service.

Private treatment in the UK is around £5000 per cycle.
  • In Europe it can be around €3000 per cycle.
  • In Canada ranges between $7000 – 13.000 (can claim 50% back)
  • In the US is around $10.000

Difference in cost can be attributed to:
- Facilities and equipment
- Regulations
- Cost of drugs
- Search/demand.

3. Gametes

  • Women are born with 1-2 million eggs. By puberty, we have around 200.000. Not all eggs will develop and mature.
  • Men produce 40-60 million sperm cells per ml (total of 80-300 million sperm per ejaculation).
  • Sperm is the smallest cell in the human body and the egg is the largest cell.

4. Conception

  • The sperm has a long and challenging journey until it meets the egg in the fallopian tubes. This is to make sure only the best and stronger sperm reach the egg.
  • The egg chooses which sperm to be fertilised with based on genetics. It is gamete the equivalent of choosing a partner.

5. Fertility Window

Pregnancy is possible for 6 days each month:
  • Egg survives 24 hours.
  • Sperm survives 5 days.

6. Pregnancy Testing

The pregnancy test is performed by testing hCG, which is a hormone detected after implantation.
  • 8 days after fertilization, in the blood.
  • 10 days after fertilization, in urine.

Testing before the TWW is due is not recommended:
  • False positives.
  • False negative.

7. Sleep

  • Hypothalamos regulate the body's daily rhythms. The same part of the brain that regulates sleep-awake hormones (melatonin, cortisol) also regulates the daily release of reproductive hormones (LH).
  • Lack of sleep also contributes to diabetes, cardiovascular, and obesity problems which can affect fertility.
  • Lack of sleep also affects mood which may contribute to tense relationships.
  • 7- 8 h sleep per night = 25% more likely to become pregnant.
  • Less than 7 h per night = 15% less likely to conceive.

8. Emotional Distress

  • Is the number one reason to stop fertility treatment.
  • 90% os people feel depressed.
  • 42% have suicidal thoughts
  • 4 in 10 people who have miscarried develop PTSD symptoms.

9. Fitness

  • Being too fit can be harmful to fertility.
  • Too lean, reduced body fat can throw off ovulation.
  • Steroids often used for muscle building affect male fertility.

10. Hormones Control Reproduction

Did you know reproductive hormones start in the brain?

The reproductive system is controlled by hormones in a system called HPG axis. This refers to the relationship between the hypothalamus (H), the pituitary gland (P) and gonads (G) which are the ovaries in women and testicles in men.

Hormones are produced in each of these:
  • Hypothalamus produces gonadotropin-releasing hormone.
  • Pituitary gland produces LH and FSH.
  • Gonads produce oestradiol, progesterone and testosterone.
There is a feedback loop mechanism in the HGP axis, with hormones affecting the production levels of other hormones. So every hormone needs to be at the right level, at each stage, to make sure all the reproductive processes happen normally

If you want to know more about how your reproductive system is controlled by hormones, download The Small Book of Fertility Hormones for FREE.

The Small Book of Fertility Hormones