Definition - What does Fertility mean?

Fertility refers to a man or women’s ability to contribute to a pregnancy or to become pregnant. Someone is said to be fertile when they have a healthy sexual reproductive system and require no medical intervention to conceive.

Alternatively, infertility is the inability to contribute to a pregancy or become pregnant.

FertilitySmarts explains Fertility

Fertility is a delicate process that requires both a man and a woman’s bodies to be completing a very complex process with very high levels of precision. This relies on a variety of factors, including both male and female anatomy, hormone development, genetics, lifestyle choices and fertility awareness. Slight disruption in any of these categories is impactful enough to prevent conception and cause infertility.

Anatomy: in order to conceive, both the man and the woman must have functioning sexual reproductive systems. In men, this means the ability to produce sperm in the testes, perform sexually, and ejaculate normally. For women, the sexual reproductive system is responsible for maturing eggs, ovulating, and providing a healthy and safe environment to grow a fetus.

Hormones: both the male and female sexual reproductive system is regulated and controlled by a series of sex hormones. While some of these hormones are produced in two regions of the brain, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, others are made in the sexual organs. These regions collaborate to ensure the sexual reproductive system is functioning and balanced.

Genetics: conception revolves around the joining of the male sex cell, the sperm, and the female sex cell, the egg. These two sex cells carry the DNA and hereditary traits of the father (sperm) and mother (egg). DNA and genetics determine a significant portion of the traits, characteristics, and outcomes of the pregnancy and future child. Additionally, genetic conditions can be passed from parent to child, which can endanger pregnnacy or cause disorders, syndromes, or other complications for the baby.

Lifestyle choices: the health of both the mother and father can dictate how well the body and sexual reproductive system function. In order to conceive a healthy baby, both parents must be healthy as well. This involves avoiding alcohol, smoking, drug use, and excessive caffeine. It also means maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising regularly, and controlling stress. Additionally, reducing exposure to toxins and chemicals is beneficial.

Fertility awareness: conception depends on a man and woman's ability to engage in unprotected intercourse around the time of ovulation. While it is possible to conceive by having regular sex (every 3-4 days) throughout the month, conception can be more concise when a couple is aware of the woman's monthly cycle and signs of her fertility window.

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