Trying for a(nother) child and need a refresher in fertility? Here's what you need to know about baby making
You’ve likely covered the basics of fertility before (bet you wish you still had your biology and sex-ed class notes, don’t you?) but if you’re trying to conceive it can help to take a quick refresher course in fertility.
Biology class: Women
Conceiving depends on where a woman is in her monthly cycle. (If figuring out when you’re ovulating is a bit of a mystery, see When am I ovulating?) Though we’re born with more than a million eggs in our ovaries, we only have a few hundred thousand left by the time our first period starts and only a few hundred will be released until we reach menopause.
Our cycle is divided into two phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase. The follicular phase starts the first day you get your period and lasts for about two weeks (based on the average 28-day cycle). It’s during this time that the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is released and stimulates the follicle (sac) in one of the two ovaries. The follicle makes one egg and, at the same time, produces estrogen. Ovulation usually occurs on or around day 14.
The luteal phase (from day 15 to the day before your next period starts—around day 28) is when estrogen and progesterone are made to protect the lining of the uterus if the egg is fertilized during intercourse. If fertilization takes place, the embryo takes a trip down the fallopian tube and plants itself in the uterine lining.