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Gestational Carrier Guide

What is a Gestational Carrier?

Many couples who consider expanding their family with the help of a surrogate first ask: what’s the difference between a traditional surrogate and a gestational surrogate?

It’s important to understand how these two kinds of surrogacy differ.

The gestational carrier definition is as follows: a woman who chooses to carry a child from conception through delivery for another individual or couple, but has no biological relation to the child she is carrying, is a gestational carrier (GC).

Also known as a gestational surrogate (GS), the woman does not use her own eggs to become pregnant, but instead undergoes IVF, using embryos that have been created from the expectant parents’ eggs and sperm.

It is also possible for a gestational carrier to become pregnant through the use of donor eggs or sperm; regardless of how the embryos are created, a woman is considered a gestational surrogate if she is carrying a baby to whom she is not biologically related.

Some couples who have difficulty getting pregnant because of a fertility condition, or cannot become pregnant naturally because they are in a same-sex relationship, consider gestational surrogacy as an avenue to having a biological child.

Also known as intended parents, these couples are often able to successfully have children with a surrogate’s help.

Gestational Carrier vs. Surrogate Mother

Generally, surrogates fall into two categories: gestational carriers and traditional surrogates. The major difference between these two types of surrogates comes down to DNA.

Traditional surrogate mothers carry a baby for another person or couple, either for pay or out of generosity.

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother uses her own eggs to become pregnant, with the help of either donor sperm, or that of the intended father.

That means a traditional surrogate mother is biologically related to the child she is carrying, though she agrees that she is not the child’s mother, and at birth gives the baby to the intended parents.

Gestational carriers follow much of the same surrogacy process, though they are not biologically related to the child.

Intended parents can choose between a variety of options when it comes to creating embryos that are later implanted in the gestational carrier’s uterus; they may choose to use their own egg and sperm, donor sperm and eggs, or a combination of the two.

In general, gestational carriers and traditional surrogates follow much of the same process for bringing a healthy baby into the world.

But, one of the largest differences between the two surrogacy options is cost.

In fact, some couples choose to go with traditional surrogates because of the reduced price tag; because gestational carriers require both egg and sperm, couples must choose to undergo IVF to harvest eggs for fertilization or use donor eggs.

Both options can push the cost of gestational surrogacy higher than traditional surrogacy, where there is no need to harvest eggs.

Reasons to Consider Gestational Surrogacy

So, if gestational surrogacy often is a bit more expensive, why do people choose it? There are several strong reasons many couples have in mind when they choose gestational surrogacy, including:

Concern for a healthy pregnancy: While some women are able to get pregnant, they may have health issues that make it difficult or unsafe to carry a pregnancy to term.

These women may still want to have a biologically related child, and gestational surrogacy allows them to do so without risking their health or that of the baby.

They worry about parental rights of surrogates: One of the most common questions asked about the surrogacy process is “Can a gestational carrier keep the baby?”

Because traditional surrogacy means the baby is biologically related to the birth mother, some families worry that the surrogate may not want to give up the baby after birth.

For this reason, some families seek out gestational surrogacy as a way to ease their worries.

The emotional toll of surrogacy and future relationships: Many people who have children through surrogacy go on to have relationships with their surrogate or gestational carrier.

While it’s common, it’s not required, and for some families that aren’t interested in keeping in touch, gestational surrogacy is a better fit.

In addition, it can be difficult for some intended parents to undergo surrogacy knowing that the biological mother of their child is the surrogate.

For this reason, gestational surrogacy is an option that helps quell difficult emotions.

Success Rate for Gestational Surrogacy

You should know that gestational surrogacy statistics are pretty favorable — and many individuals and couples who seek out gestational surrogacy are able to grow their families.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • “Gestational carrier cycles had a higher rate of implantation, pregnancy, and live births when compared to non-gestational carrier cycles,” says the CDC, meaning that gestational carriers were regularly successful at becoming pregnant in comparison to couples who choose to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) instead of surrogacy.
  • In addition, between the years of 1999 and 2013 (most recent data), gestational carriers in the U.S. had 13,380 deliveries, totaling 18,400 babies. More than half of those pregnancies involved twins, triplets, or multiples.

But what are your chances of having a successful surrogacy experience?

There’s no hard and fast data on how often surrogates safely make it through a full-term pregnancy, but some surrogacy agencies suggest that success rates in the United States are as high as 75 percent, and that after successful embryo transfer, 95 percent of surrogates go on to deliver a healthy baby.

The Gestational Surrogacy Process

While the fine details of the gestational surrogacy process will change from agency to agency, in general, the process is pretty straightforward:

Step 1: Locate a gestational surrogacy agency

Many people considering gestational surrogacy reach out to a surrogacy agency to learn more about surrogacy and begin the process. During this step, intended parents learn more about the cost of surrogacy, the process, and their responsibilities.

Step 2: Start the search for a gestational carrier or screen carriers suggested by the agency

Some couples have a specific surrogate in mind, such as a close friend or family member who has volunteered to carry their baby.

Other couples do not, so finding prospective surrogates is a top priority. Most agencies will work to help match you with a gestational surrogate, and you’ll be able to meet the surrogate to determine if you are a good match.

Step 3: Drafting and signing surrogacy contracts

Preparing and signing the necessary surrogacy forms and contracts is crucial since it protects both the surrogate and intended parents in case of a dispute or issue.

Whether you choose to go with a surrogacy agency or to pursue surrogacy privately, know that it is incredibly important to have your surrogacy contracts reviewed by a legal expert.

Step 4: Undergoing medical examinations and the IVF process (if needed)

After a surrogate is selected and all the paperwork is complete, the medical portion of the process begins.

Intended parents who plan to use their own eggs and sperm will need to undergo health screenings, as will the gestational surrogate. From there, the IVF process will begin so that the intended mother’s eggs can be harvested.

Step 5: Prepare for and undergo egg or embryo transfer

Prior to implantation of a fertilized egg (or transfer of an embryo), the gestational surrogate will likely begin a course of fertility medications that raise her chances of success. The actual implantation process is relatively quick and painless.

Step 6: Confirming a pregnancy and enjoying the pregnancy process

Normally around two weeks following egg or embryo transfer, the surrogate will visit with a doctor to determine if she is pregnant, or if the transfer process has failed.

If successful, she and the intended parents will begin the pregnancy journey together, which includes regular check-ins and shared medical appointments.

Step 7: Delivery of the baby and creating a family

The surrogacy experience ends with the baby’s delivery. After the GC and baby are both considered healthy, they are discharged from the hospital, with the gestational carrier heading home and the baby joining the intended parents.

If you’re wondering, “How long does surrogacy process take,” know that most intended parents are able to match with a surrogate within four to six months.

Considering that pregnancy is a long 40 weeks, the entire process can take up to a year and a half, from matching to delivery.

Finding a gestational carrier

There are generally two ways to find a surrogate: through gestational carrier agencies, or privately.

Agencies can be a great tool at locating and screening potential surrogates, and their experience can help walk you through the process to avoid pitfalls.

This can be especially important for intended parents who are pursuing surrogacy for the first time and aren’t sure of what all is involved.

Other intended parents choose to locate private surrogates, often as a way to reduce the cost of surrogacy by bypassing an agency. In this scenario, intended parents may choose to place ads in papers, magazines, and online to help find a surrogate.

Some may reach out to the best fertility clinics in their area to determine if they have partnerships or relationships with surrogates. And in other cases, intended parents may have a friend or close family member volunteer to be their surrogate.

Choosing a gestational carrier

Choosing the person who will carry your child is an important task. When it comes to deciding on a surrogate, you’ll want to keep these things in mind:

  1. Do you get along with the GC, and do you foresee her being the person to carry and deliver your child? Would you want to have a relationship with this person after your child is born?
  2. What kind of lifestyle does the GC have — is she active? What are her nutritional habits? Does she have any health issues that could impact the pregnancy?
  3. What experience does the GC have? How many times prior has she been a surrogate?
  4. Are you able to meet the budgetary needs and expenses of the surrogate?
  5. Do you and the surrogate see eye-to-eye on all aspects of the pregnancy and contract, such as situations where you may need to terminate the pregnancy?

Gestational Carrier Eligibility and Requirements

While surrogacy requirements may slightly differ from region to region, as well as among agencies, you should know that there are some common requirements for potential GCs.

If you’re looking for a gestational carrier or considering how to become a gestational surrogate, here are common requirements you should know:

  • Must meet the gestational carrier age limit, usually between 21 and 39 years old
  • Usually must have safely given birth to at least one child (with no complications), who is currently in their care
  • Meet certain financial requirements (often showing that you have enough resources at your disposal to comfortably carry a baby to term without relying on government assistance)
  • Must have a healthy body weight
  • In the U.S., must be a legal citizen who is eligible to work
  • Must have a letter from their OB/GYN clearing them to be a surrogate, as well as a clean medical history

While these are general guidelines, surrogacy agencies may choose to have additional eligibility requirements for potential surrogates.

Medical and psychological tests required

In addition to meeting certain requirements, gestational carriers may also be required to undergo certain kinds of testing.

Many agencies require GCs and surrogates to undergo a mental health evaluation to determine if they will be able to handle the emotional rigors of surrogacy.

Other tests, such as sexually transmitted infection (STI) and general health screenings are often required by agencies.

You should know that while there are federal health regulations that require certain kinds of STI and health screenings for egg and sperm donors, FDA regulations for gestational carriers do not exist, but these screenings are still highly recommended by many pregnancy and gynecological health organizations.

Legal Implications of Using a Gestational Carrier

A large part of the gestational carrier process is the legal components that identify who the intended parents are, and who has rights to the baby during pregnancy and after birth.

For this reason, it is important to have a gestational carrier agreement.

Gestational carrier contract

With a gestational carrier agreement, you and your surrogate will outline a variety of responsibilities.

Your responsibilities may be ensuring the surrogate has access to medical care, helping with living expenses such as groceries, and attending all medical appointments, while covering the cost of her medical expenses.

The surrogate’s responsibilities usually revolve around a positive lifestyle that will ensure your baby is born healthy. The gestational carrier agreement will also outline who the baby’s legal parents are.

Insurance coverage

Because many insurance agencies will not cover surrogate pregnancies, your surrogate will rely on you for assistance with her medical costs.

For this reason, the gestational carrier agreement will outline how medical bills will be covered, and who (usually the intended parents) will cover hospital and medical costs.

Court order declaring parentage

In an effort to protect themselves and their unborn child, many intended parents seek out a court order declaring parentage.

Intended parents can file a pre-birth court order that legally declares them to be the child’s parents, and gives them the right to put their name on the child’s birth certificate.

It can also make it easier to have insurance coverage for the baby, and gives them the right to make all medical decisions for their unborn (and born) child.

Cost Considerations for Gestational Surrogacy

One downside that many families face with gestational surrogacy is the cost.

Gestational surrogate costs often range between $75,000 and $150,000. While the gestational carrier price is often only between $30,000 and $60,000, the remaining amount often includes agency fees, medical expenses, IVF costs, and more.

And because health insurance often doesn’t cover a gestational carrier’s expenses, those medical bills are often paid out of pocket by intended parents.

One way couples look to reduce the cost of surrogacy is to locate a friend or family member who will volunteer to carry their baby — in fact, the cost of surrogacy with a family member can be as little as several thousand dollars in medical bills.

Pros and Cons of Gestational Surrogacy

Like any big life choice, there are pros and cons to gestational surrogacy. Some of the most positive points of surrogacy include:

  • Being able to have a child who is biologically related to you
  • Still being able to participate in and enjoy the journey of pregnancy
  • Bonding with the surrogate mother, which can create a larger, loving support network for your child’s life

Still, there are some downsides to gestational surrogacy:

  • The costs can be staggering
  • The surrogacy journey can be emotionally difficult at times knowing that someone else is carrying your child
  • There’s limited control over the pregnancy, which can be difficult for some intended parents to accept

Ethical considerations

Surrogacy does carry some major ethical questions. Many people wonder if it is ethically alright to have another person carry a child that they will not raise, considering the strong emotions involved.

Another major dilemma questions whether it is ethical to pay someone for use of their reproductive system, or if surrogacy is a form of exploitation of lower-income women who may seek out surrogacy as a way to support their families.

So, is surrogacy ethical? Each family and gestational carrier who considers surrogacy must decide this for themselves.

Medical risks

Because pregnancy is strenuous on the body, it is important to recognize that even a surrogate who has had healthy pregnancies may encounter medical issues.

Common medical risks that a surrogate may encounter include:

  • Loss of pregnancy
  • Loss of fertility (especially after a C-section or carrying multiples)
  • Pregnancy-related health conditions, such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure

Is Gestational Surrogacy Right For Me?

If you’re wondering if gestational surrogacy is right for you and your family, consider these points:

  1. Can I afford the cost of gestational surrogacy?
  2. What kind of relationship do I want to have with a surrogate during and after pregnancy?
  3. How do I feel about the legal process of surrogacy — am I comfortable with it?
  4. Can I handle the emotions that come with gestational surrogacy?
  5. Have I weighed the pros and cons of surrogacy, and considered other fertility options?

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Femara (Letrozole) for Treating Infertility

What is Femara (Letrozole)?

Many women undergoing fertility treatment are prescribed medications early on that are used to help boost their chances of becoming pregnant.

Femara (letrozole) is becoming more commonly used, often in place of long-time fertility medication Clomid. So, what is Femara, and how does it work?

If you’ve been searching for information on Femara, you may have noticed that it’s often used by women who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

While considered a newer use for the drug, Femara (letrozole) has been recommended for women who are undergoing fertility treatment since 2001.

The oral pill is called an ovulation induction drug, or a superovulation medication, because it encourages follicles in the ovaries to produce and release an egg.

If you’re wondering, “Can Femara or letrozole boost my fertility to get pregnant,” know that taking this medication can make pregnancy a possibility.

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, letrozole can be more effective than clomiphene (also known as Clomid) when used by women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who are being treated for infertility.

In some cases, it can have fewer intense side effects than Clomid and offer a higher chance of ovulation. For this reason, Femara is considered by some to be the best fertility drug to get pregnant.

How Does Femara (Letrozole) Help with Fertility?

Many women who need help jump-starting ovulation are prescribed Femara. That’s because letrozole works by stimulating the follicles in an effort to increase the odds of ovulation. Here’s how.

Your doctor will have you take the medication for five days. During this time, the androgens in your body will no longer become estrogen.

This is important because a lack of estrogen informs the pituitary gland that it needs to create follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), an important hormone that helps with egg production.

By blocking estrogen and sending this message, the ovaries are stimulated and produce an egg (in some cases, more than one egg).

With Femara, your fertility doctor will encourage timing of sex close to ovulation to increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

For most women, letrozole ovulation day occurs about four to seven days after completing the round of medication, so timing sex in the days following Femara is important.

Who Should Try Femara (Letrozole)?

Only your doctor will be able to evaluate your case and determine if Femara is the right option for you.

But, there are some women who may have a higher chance of getting pregnant while using Femara instead of Clomid. You may be a candidate for Femara (letrozole) if:

You have difficulty ovulating

Because Femara can encourage the ovary follicles to release eggs (the act of ovulation), this medication can be a first-line treatment for women who have difficulty ovulating.

In some cases, Femara can cause the body to release more than one egg, which can increase the chances of pregnancy.

You have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Research into the benefits of Femara for women with PCOS shows great results. In fact, studies have shown that women with PCOS who take Femara ovulate more frequently than women with PCOS who take Clomid.

You have already tried several rounds of Clomid

Fertility specialists may recommend trying Femara, even if you have taken Clomid and not become pregnant. That’s because Femara (letrozole) may be better at helping some women ovulate, even if several rounds of Clomid did not jump-start ovulation.

Your doctor determines that you have thin uterine lining

Because Clomid is known to thin the uterine lining, women who take the medication for long periods of time can have a harder time getting pregnant.

That’s because fertilized eggs and embryos have a better chance of implanting and embedding in thicker uterine walls.

Femara does not impact the uterine lining, meaning it could increase the chances of pregnancy with fewer side effects.

Femara vs. Clomid

According to research by the National Institutes of Health, Femara often has a higher rate of success than Clomid for women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

A study published in 2014 showed that many common Clomid side effects — including dizziness, hot flashes, and fatigue — were greatly reduced with Femara.

Overall, research has shown that ovulation tends to be higher for women taking letrozole. The NIH study included 750 women with PCOS, with the group split evenly between letrozole and clomiphene prescriptions.

In the study, women in the Femara (letrozole) group ovulated 61.7 percent of the time, compared to 48.3 percent of the time for the Clomid (clomiphene) group.

While differing in ovulation statistics, Clomid and Femara have similar results with pregnancy success.

There was no major difference between the two medications’ lasting impacts when it comes to the chances of twin and multiple pregnancies, the risk of pregnancy loss, or the risk of infant birth defects.

One of the largest differences between Femara and Clomid is how long the medication remains in your body after you stop taking it.

Femara is known to remain in a woman’s body for less time — as little as three weeks.

While Clomid has been a top choice medication in early fertility treatment, doctors know that the drug stays in a woman’s body much longer — on average four to six weeks.

In addition, many fertility specialists worry about impact Clomid can have on a woman’s uterine lining and cervical mucus. Studies show that Clomid can thin the uterine walls, making it harder for eggs and embryos to implant, and thus harder for a woman to get pregnant.

Unlike Clomid, Femara has not been linked to thinking uterine lining, and for that reason, might be a better choice for some women, or women who have used Clomid for long periods of time.

How to Use Femara (Letrozole)

Femara is an oral pill, which can make it less intimidating than other fertility treatments such as injectable hormones.

This also makes Femara less expensive than other fertility drugs, meaning it’s more affordable and can be taken several times if pregnancy doesn’t initially occur.

Dosing

Your doctor will prescribe Femara to be taken over five days and will explain how to take letrozole for fertility purposes.

Most women are prescribed a dosage between 2.5 and 5 mg, taken once daily, starting on the second or third day of their cycle.

Fertility treatment protocols

Many women wonder about the best time of day to take Femara for infertility.

The medication isn’t any more effective at one time of day over another, though it is important that you take Femara at the same time every day.

After taking Femara, you can try to become pregnant through:

  1. Predicting ovulation and having intercourse
  2. Detecting ovulation with a predictor kit and undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI)
  3. In combination with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) trigger injections and ovulation monitoring from your doctor’s office

Side Effects of Femara (Letrozole)

Femara can have a wide variety of side effects that may cause slight discomfort, and every woman’s body reacts differently to the medication.

For many women, the benefits of Femara outweigh the side effects. Women who are taking Femara may experience:

  • Nausea, dizziness, and headaches
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Drowsiness or trouble sleeping
  • Joint and muscle pain, specifically in the arm, wrist, forearm or shoulder
  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes or warmth in the chest or face
  • Increased sweating, especially during sleep

In most cases, women taking Femara do not have serious side effects, but it is important to know that you should speak with your doctor if these symptoms worsen over time.

While rare, you should contact your doctor immediately if you have more severe side effects, such as:

  • Mood changes like depression or anxiety
  • Nausea or vomiting that won’t go away
  • Swelling in your arms or legs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rash or itching

In some cases, women taking Femara may symptoms similar to pregnancy, though they may not be pregnant. False Femara pregnancy symptoms include:

  • Tender breasts and nipples
  • Headaches
  • Cramping
  • Tiredness

Contraindications and Precautions of Femara (Letrozole)

Like all medications, Femara can interact with other drugs and cause unwanted results.

Before starting Femara, you should speak with your doctor about other medications you are taking or will begin taking at the same time.

In addition, Femara can cause complications with pregnancy, so it’s crucial that you stop taking this medication once you become pregnant.

Interactions

Femara (letrozole) is known to have severe interactions with at least five commonly prescribed medications.

These side effects can make both medications less effective, or cause serious health issues. You should never mix Femara with:

  1. Estrogen
  2. Immunosuppressants
  3. Tamoxifen and estrogen receptor drugs
  4. Medications for multiple sclerosis

It’s also important to tell your doctor about any herbal supplements or vitamins you are taking to ensure they will not interact with or reduce Femara’s chances of success.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It’s important to know that Femara (letrozole) is not safe to take during pregnancy. This medication can cause birth defects and serious complications to unborn babies.

If you have taken Femara during pregnancy by accident, you should speak with your doctor immediately to determine the best course of action, and to understand the side effects that could impact your baby’s health.

In addition, it is not safe to take Femara while breastfeeding. Drug manufacturers are unsure if the medication is passed along to infants through breast milk, though research suggesting that Femara can harm unborn babies suggests that it could be detrimental to infants and small children.

If you are planning to use Femara and are currently breastfeeding a child, you should know that the medication could still appear in breastmilk for up to three weeks after the last dose.

Any milk you pump during this time should not be fed to your child, and instead should be discarded.

Femara (Letrozole) Effectiveness and Success Rates

Letrozole effectiveness greatly depends on a variety of factors, including if it’s taken properly, the kind of infertility a woman is being treated for, and if it’s combined with IVF, IUI, other techniques.

In comparing whether letrozole or Clomid is more effective, many studies disagree.

A 2012 study on letrozole pregnancy rates showed that 25% of users went on to become pregnant and give birth, compared to only 16.8% of Clomid users, while a 2015 study suggested that Clomid was more effective with a 23% birth rate compared to letrozole pregnancy rates of 18%.

You should know that Femara can also increase the odds of having twins, triplets, or multiples. A 2015 study showed that Clomid has the fewest twin and multiple births at a rate of 5.7%, while letrozole fertility multiples occurred in 14.3% of pregnancies.

It’s possible to have a positive pregnancy test after letrozole first-time use. Some women find they have Femara success first cycle, though having a period after letrozole doesn’t mean the medication doesn’t work.

As with any fertility treatment, it may take several rounds of medication to become pregnant.

Femara (Letrozole) and IUI

Femara can successfully be used with intrauterine insemination (IUI). If you and your fertility specialist choose this route, you’ll take Femara as prescribed, but will watch closely for signs of ovulation.

In many cases, women use an ovulation predictor kit or visit their doctor’s office to detect ovulation and undergo IUI at the right time.

Femara can increase the chances of a successful IUI procedure. While IUI results in a live birth between 1% and 6% of the time without fertility drugs, Femara can boost the odds to 4% to 9%.

Femara (Letrozole) Cost

The cost of fertility medications can make it tricky to determine what course of action you should take when undergoing fertility treatments.

Fortunately, Femara is a lower-cost fertility treatment option. Depending on how much you are prescribed, and for how long, Femara can range anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars.

Is Femara covered by insurance? In cases, yes. This can reduce the price, sometimes dropping the cost down less than $100.

You should also know that there are generic versions of letrozole that can make it more affordable. But even if you prefer to use the name-brand version, Femara coupons are often available to help with the cost.

Femara (Letrozole) Reviews

Many women and couples who are considering Femara seek out letrozole success stories online. If you’re interested in learning about the experiences of other women, and reading reviews about Femara, there are many reliable resources.

Beyond women and couples sharing their personal experiences on a variety of message boards and forums (such as popular sites Whattoexpect.com and Babycenter.com), medication rating websites such as Drugs.com can give you an insight as to successful Femara is, and how women felt taking it.

For additional resources, finding an in-person support group, such as a group listed by the National Infertility Association, can help you meet Femara users for real-life feedback.

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Fertility Clinics Near Me

Fertility Clinics By State

While there are fertility clinics throughout the U.S., some states have a denser population of reproductive specialists, giving residents in those areas more fertility clinic options.

California

California may have the largest number of fertility clinics of any state — so much so that the state is considered the country’s “fertility treatment destination.”

From the southern portion of the state all the way up to its Washington board, California has countless options, with many of the clinics being leaders in new, innovative fertility treatments.

In addition, ranking by the National Infertility Association’s annual Fertility Scorecard gives California a B grade for it’s legislation and support for fertility patients.

Popular California fertility clinics include HRC Fertility in Encino, The Kaiser Permanente Center for Reproductive Health, and the Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area.

New York

Like California, New York is a huge draw for fertility clinics and patients. The state has more than certified 130 fertility specialists who help patients diagnosed with a variety of fertility concerns.

Because New York has such a diverse population with differing needs, there are a variety of clinics, from upscale Manhattan centers to university fertility research clinics. Like California, New York’s wide range of options give patients a larger chance at finding a clinic that best suits their needs.

Popular New York fertility clinics include Columbia University Fertility, Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, and CCRM New York.

Illinois

Illinois may be a rural, Midwest state, but the city of Chicago is home to several popular fertility clinics.

According to the National Infertility Association, Illinois has more than 60 board-certified fertility doctors located throughout the state, though the largest density of providers is closer to Chicago.

Unlike many Midwest states, Illinois also has laws that require insurance providers to cover fertility treatments.

Popular Illinois fertility clinics include Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, Vios Fertility Institute, and the Fertility Centers of Illinois.

Texas

Texas is a great resource for infertility patients simply because the state has a high number of fertility specialists.

As of the last Fertility Scorecard, Texas had nearly 100 fertility doctors practicing within the state — a huge benefit for the half-million women in the state diagnosed with infertility.

While Texas does require insurance providers to cover fertility treatments, residents should know that employers can opt out of this requirement based on religious exemptions.

That means if you get your health care through your employer in Texas, it’s important to be sure that the clinic you select will be covered by your insurance provider.

Popular Texas fertility clinics include The Houston Fertility Institute, The Center of Reproductive Medicine, and the Center for Assisted Reproduction.

New Jersey

Despite being a small state, New Jersey is home to many fertility clinics.

The state is considered by the National Infertility Association to be fertility friendly and received an A grade thanks to its mandates that insurance companies cover fertility treatment, as well as the number of available support groups for people diagnosed with infertility.

In addition, New Jersey has more than 60 board-certified fertility specialists in the state, which gives patients options at finding the right fit.

Popular New Jersey fertility clinics include Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, The Fertility Institute of New Jersey and New York, and the Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey.

Top 10 Fertility Centers in the United States

While there are countless fertility clinics and centers throughout the country, some stand out from the rest in terms of patient satisfaction, success statistics, and innovation.

he following U.S. fertility centers are considered to be some of the top medical resources in the country.

Western Fertility Institute (WFI) in Encino, California

According to WFI, the center was ranked by the CDC as being the top clinic in the country in 2018 (it also takes the honor as the top clinic in the state of California).

It claims to have some of the highest success rates with IVF and fertility treatments within the entire assisted reproductive technology field. WFI staff includes top-rated doctors and reproductive endocrinologists.

CCRM Fertility, various locations

With clinics throughout the country, CCRM Fertility centers have been able to help many couples and individuals grow their families.

The brand is considered an industry leader in fertility science and research, and utilizes a large network of top-notch fertility specialists to serve patients.

CCRM Fertility has clinics in California, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Georgia, and along the East Coast.

Boston IVF in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston IVF has been an award-winning East Coast fertility center for several years running. Locally, its physicians have been selected as the best doctors in Boston since 2016, and the center’s success rates include more than 90,000 babies born since 1986.

Boston IVF is also a leader in the fertility treatment field, and has scooped many of the region’s fertility firsts, including orchestrating the first egg donor pregnancy in New England, as well as the first birth from egg freezing in the state.

Dallas IVF in Dallas, Texas

Located in northern Texas, Dallas IVF is an award-winning fertility clinic that features some of the to reproductive specialists in the field.

The center is accredited by the American College of Embryology, a designation only given to the top 25 percent of IVF laboratories and clinics in the United States.

In addition, its physicians have regularly been recognized by regional and state publications and organizations for their compassion, care, and knowledge.

HRC Fertility in Encino, California

HRC Fertility takes a well-rounded approach to caring for its patients, blending cutting-edge fertility treatments with complementary therapy services such as acupuncture.

The clinic is known for its infertility research and testing methods. In addition, it is the first fertility clinic on the West Coast to provide IVF intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a procedure that directly injects sperm into harvest eggs for fertilization.

Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ), various locations in New Jersey

With more than 10 locations throughout the state of New Jersey, RMANJ is available to fertility patients at all times (it’s literally open 365 days a year).

The center provides treatment for both men and women struggling with infertility, and its life birth rate for women under 35 is above the national average at 82.9%.

The center is open to patients of all ages, and caters to women who are older than 35 and looking to become pregnant.

New Hope Fertility in New York, New York

Winning mentions from the U.S. News & World Report and other publications, as well as local organizations, New Hope Fertility is a top-of-line fertility clinic in New York City.

The center offers a variety of traditional and holistic approaches to infertility, including innovations such as Needle-Free IVF and Minimal Stimulation IVF.

New Hope has also been a leader in egg freezing since 2004, and specializes in difficult infertility cases such as PCOS, endometriosis, and multiple failed cycles.

Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, with three Chicago locations

If you’re looking for a fertility center in Chicago, Advanced Fertility Center offers three locations near the city. The fertility center success rates for IVF are higher than average at 62% (compared to the national average of 46.8%).

The center offers affordable fertility screening — including a male fertility clinic — and also has a money-back guarantee for patients who use frozen donor eggs.

Center for Reproductive Medicine in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota

The Twin Cities’ Center for Reproductive Medicine is a strong option for fertility patients in the northern Midwest.

The clinic has offered services for more than 30 years, and has IVF success rates that bypass the national average.

It offers monthly seminars and educational programs for prospective parents, and is a member of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, as well as the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

In addition, the center’s mission includes support for all couples, and is one of many top-notch fertility clinics for gay couples.

Emory Reproductive Center in Atlanta, Georgia

Based in Atlanta, Emory Reproductive Center is part of Emory University, which gives the benefit of a wealth of information and research regarding infertility.

Emory Reproductive Center offers top-notch infertility specialists and has an IVF success rate higher than the national average for at least a decade.

How to Find a Good Fertility Clinic

If you search “fertility clinics USA,” you might be amazed at just how many options are available to U.S. residents.

And what each specialist and center offers — from doctors that support fertility clinics for gender selection to free fertility clinics — varies incredibly. That can make it overwhelming when it comes to selecting the right fertility clinic for you.

What to look for in a fertility clinic

So, how do you get started? Here’s what to consider when trying to find the best fertility clinic that fits your needs and budget:

  • Does your insurance provider cover the fertility clinic?How long has the clinic been open, and does it have a good reputation in the field of fertility medicine?
  • What are the clinics’ success rates, and how does the clinic define success?
  • What fertility treatments does the clinic offer? Does it offer just IVF, or a variety of other kinds of treatments?
  • Is the clinic board certified? Does it have any awards or memberships to reproductive medicine organizations?
  • What financial options are available? While there’s generally no such thing as free fertility clinics, many fertility centers and providers of IVF in USA are able to set up payment plans or offer sliding-scale services based on your ability to pay.
  • Does the clinic offer programs such as egg and sperm donation or pair with clinics that do?
  • What limitations does the clinic offer on age, types of treatment, and rounds of fertility medications or IVF?

You can use this time to take notes about the clinic’s atmosphere, practices, and staff.

Remember to trust your gut, and know that a clinic may not be the best option for you just because it is covered by your insurance provider or offers competitive rates and incentives.

Choosing a fertility doctor

When it comes to choosing a fertility doctor, don’t be afraid to set a consultation appointment. Because fertility treatment is invasive and personal, it’s important that you’re comfortable with the doctor you choose.

And, because of the expense and time-sensitivity of infertility, you’ll also want to ensure that the doctor you choose is a board-certified physician with experience at handling difficult fertility cases.

These other factors should play a role in your path to choosing an OBGYN fertility specialist:

  • Your doctor’s certifications and experience in infertility treatment
  • How the doctor and staff greet and treat patients, as well as the general atmosphere — infertility can be frustrating and isolating, so you’ll want to be sure that the doctor and clinic you choose is caring and positive, yet realistic about your chances at becoming pregnant
  • When the clinic is open, and if there is an after-hours doctor on call for emergencies or questions — in a situation where you have questions about time-sensitive injections or medical care, it’s important that you be able to contact your fertility doctor
  • What treatment practices the doctor supports or does not prefer to use
  • If the doctor may be conducting studies or research into new IVF and fertility treatment methods that could benefit you

Choosing a fertility specialist is a big choice, but know that it’s OK to switch providers within a practice or find a new doctor altogether if you don’t feel like you’ve found a fit during the consultation process.

Using the CDC’s Latest ART Report

One tool at your disposal in selecting a fertility clinic is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) ART Report.

This report is generated annually, and compiles fertility clinic success rates.

If you’re narrowing down your search to fertility clinics in your area — or even considering treatment at a top fertility clinic in another state — the ART Report can give you insight into a fertility clinic’s success.

The CDC’s latest ART Report can give you information such as:

  • What kinds of fertility treatments a specific clinic offers, and how often
  • The kinds of fertility problems patients at a specific clinic are being treated for
  • The outcomes of egg and embryo transfers (that is, pregnancy or failed cycle)
  • How frequently the clinic uses donor eggs or sperm
  • The total number of fertility cycles the clinic performs in one year

Having this information is a great tool at confirming a clinic’s advertised success rates, and can also be good information at understanding if a clinic is successfully treating patients with similar infertility diagnoses.

The Best Fertility Resources

When it comes to doing research on fertility clinics, treatment, or diagnosis, there are a variety of resources to explore. Some of the best fertility resources include:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • The National Infertility Association
  • The World Health Organization
  • The American Pregnancy Association
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • The Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

In addition, speaking with your current OB/GYN for resources and support groups in your area can open up a world of additional information — such as treatment and clinic recommendations from others undergoing infertility treatment.

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Freezing Eggs Costs

What is Egg Freezing?

Commonly known as “egg freezing,” oocyte cryopreservation is a medical process used to harvest, freeze, and store an adult woman’s reproductive eggs. While the process is becoming more and more popular — partially because it’s become much more accessible to a larger group of women — it’s not at all new.

In fact, oocyte cryopreservation has been around for decades, with the first successful birth from frozen eggs occurring in 1986.

While there’s a lot of scientific jargon involved in oocyte cryopreservation, you should know that freezing eggs is a relatively straightforward process. The procedure is focused on harvesting unfertilized eggs from a woman’s ovaries, then freezing and storing the eggs at super cold temperatures for preservation.

The eggs can then be used whenever a woman is ready to have a baby; one of the biggest perks of freezing your eggs is that it allows you more flexibility in starting a family, which can be especially helpful for women who know they want children but have certain health concerns or life and career goals they want to accomplish first.

Why Egg Freezing is Done

There are a variety of reasons why women consider freezing their eggs. But the most common reason women consider oocyte cryopreservation has to do with age. That’s because age can drastically impact how easy it is for a woman to conceive.

How Age Affects Fertility

A woman’s “biological clock” is often the punchline of jokes or used to explain why some women feel the impending, sudden need to have children — but there’s some truth to the importance of time in relation to parenthood. Age is a major factor in how easily a woman may get pregnant.

That’s because unlike men, who continue to produce sperm throughout their entire lives, women are born with a certain number of eggs, and that reservoir of eggs actually decreases with age.

It’s impossible to know just how many eggs a woman is born with, though fertility specialists know that number varies from woman to woman. Generally, fertility researchers believe that a 20-week female fetus has an astonishing 7 million eggs.

But, by birth, that number has dropped to about 2 million eggs, a quick decrease of about 30 percent. By the time a girl hits puberty and begins menstruating, she’ll only have about 300,000 to 500,000 remaining eggs.

The number of eggs a woman has decreases each year of her life, more and more rapidly as menopause approaches. But even though most women still have far more eggs than they’ll ever need to use, time doesn’t just reduce the number of available eggs.

It also diminishes their quality. As a woman gets older, so do her eggs. Older eggs are more likely to have genetic abnormalities that could lead to miscarriage, the inability to conceive, or other fertility issues.

Fertility research shows that as a woman ages her egg quality is reduced; while a woman in her 20s may have mostly healthy eggs with few abnormalities, a woman in her 40s is more likely to have a larger percentage of abnormal eggs than normal eggs.

Who is Egg Freezing For?

Technically, any woman who has eggs can choose to undergo egg freezing, but you may have noticed that the bulk of advertising and marketing regarding egg freezing targets women under the age of 30. Knowing that age is a major factor in a woman’s chances at conceiving is part of the reason so many women choose oocyte cryopreservation with the hopes of using their higher-quality eggs later in life.

Still, there are other reasons some women choose to freeze their eggs, including:

  • They’re having difficulty conceiving and plan to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • They require medical care that could impact their fertility, such as chemotherapy or radiation
  • They have a family history of early menopause or infertility
  • They are potentially a carrier for a genetically inherited disease and want to freeze genetically tested eggs for future use.

Choosing to freeze your eggs is a big decision and one that’s very personal. There’s no right or wrong reason to freeze your eggs if you feel that you may need them in the future.

The Egg Freezing Process

Oocyte cryopreservation sounds technical, but it’s a fairly straightforward process. Like any medical procedure, there’s medications and testing involved before the procedure is performed, but in general, it’s minimally invasive.

How does egg freezing work?

The egg freezing process can be broken down into three main stages: preparation, egg retrieval, and cryopreservation.

The preparation stage includes all the consultations, testing, and application of fertility drugs. During this phase of the process, your fertility specialist will work with you to evaluate the health of your eggs, estimate how many eggs you have left, and then help you get ready for the egg retrieval process.

As part of the preparation stage, your doctor will prescribe you synthetic hormones that help stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs at one time. These injectable hormones are normally taken for several weeks, and about eight days to two weeks before the egg retrieval procedure, your doctor will prescribe a round of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone that helps eggs mature so that they can be collected.

Next comes egg retrieval, which usually happens about 36 hours after HCG has been injected. During the egg retrieval process, you may be fully or partially sedated to minimize any discomfort you may feel.

Your fertility doctor will use a transvaginal probe to determine the location of your follicles (which house your matured eggs) before retrieving them. For the eggs to be collected, a needle attached to the ultrasound wand will puncture the selected follicles and then suction out the eggs and fluid. Those eggs are then prepped for storage.

The oocyte cryopreservation process, the collected eggs are dehydrated to remove water that could actually damage them during storage. The water is replaced with a solution that prevents ice crystals (which destroy the egg’s cells).

Your eggs are then flash-frozen in a process called vitrification, which quickly drops the temperature to about -196 Celsius. From there, your eggs will be stored in a facility that maintains their frozen state until you’re ready to use them.

How long can the eggs remain frozen?

Modern egg freezing techniques have increased the lifespan of frozen eggs, and there’s no hard-and-fast rule about how long you can keep your eggs frozen for. Many people use their eggs within five to 10 years, though some successful births have come from eggs closer to 15 years old.

How long you choose to keep your eggs frozen mostly depends on when you plan to have a child and the age at which you store them.

The Costs of Egg Freezing

If you’re considering freezing your eggs, it’s important that you know the full cost of the procedure as well as storage. Over the long-term, egg freezing can be a hefty expense.

The cost to harvest and freeze eggs isn’t a one-time expense, and for some people, years of oocyte cryopreservation can lead to thousands of dollars. Overall, the cost to freeze eggs 2019 averages around $12,000 and increases by region.

Costs of egg freezing based on what type of patient you are

One of the biggest factors that increases the cost of egg freezing is age. While the egg freezing general cost is an approximate $12,500, you should know that the number of eggs you have and how many rounds of egg retrieval are required can increase this amount.

Women who choose to harvest and store their eggs at a younger age may require fewer rounds of egg harvesting, making the cost to harvest and freeze eggs relatively cheaper. But for women who are older or have additional fertility concerns, the price can drastically increase.

Women who choose to freeze their eggs in their 20s may require fewer rounds of egg harvesting, while a woman who chooses to harvest and freeze her eggs in her mid-30s may need more rounds to collect enough eggs.

The annual fees of egg freezing

Egg freezing pricing exists on a wide spectrum. That’s because the cost to harvest and freeze eggs varies by clinic and region.

While the preparation and retrieval stages may cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, storage of your eggs can range anywhere from $200 to $1,300 per year, with an average of $500-$600 in annual fees. Many people consider freezing their eggs outside of the country to reduce price.

If you’re looking for the cheapest country to freeze eggs, you may consider medical tourism in Ukraine, Cyprus or the Czech Republic, where egg freezing is cheaper than the U.S. and the UK.

The costs of using the eggs

When thinking about the cost of freezing your eggs, you should also consider the additional expense of actually using your eggs. While the egg freezing general cost ranges between $10,000 and $15,000, there are hefty costs associated with actually using your eggs.

The cost of IVF, which is the process frozen eggs are used for, can range between an additional $10,000 and $17,000 per cycle.

Payment Options for Egg Freezing

Many women wonder “how much to freeze eggs,” not fully understanding that this elective procedure can set them back thousands of dollars. The cost of egg freezing can be daunting, but there are some strategies to seek out for financial assistance.

Does insurance cover egg freezing?

In most cases, private insurance, unfortunately, does not cover egg freezing because it is often considered non-medically necessary. So, is egg freezing covered by Medicare?

Just as with private insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid often do not cover the cost of egg freezing, though it may help with some medically necessary fertility treatments based on a doctor’s recommendation.

If you’re wondering “Does Aetna cover egg freezing,” or if private insurance providers such as Blue Cross help with the costs, you should know that some insurance companies may share the cost with you if a doctor determines egg freezing is medically necessary — for example, if you are undergoing chemotherapy that could impact your fertility.

Many people wonder if egg freezing costs are covered by FSA accounts; while there’s no specific provision that allows or denies you to use FSA funds, using FSA funds for medically necessary fertility treatments is usually allowed. If you have an FSA account and want to use those funds for egg freezing, it’s recommended that you contact your FSA administrator.

Financial programs for egg freezing

There are some companies that cover egg freezing costs, such as IntegraMed, LendingClub and Prosper. These companies offer loans to cover egg freezing bills.

In addition, egg sharing programs are one option at reducing the cost of egg freezing. To reap the benefits of an egg sharing program, you agree to donate some of your stored eggs to other patients.

Is Freezing Your Eggs Worth the Cost?

Because every woman places a different value on parenthood and having children, it’s hard to say whether or not freezing eggs is worth the cost for every woman. The biggest factors in determining whether or not you should freeze your eggs have to do with your fertility health, your family’s health history, your age, as well as your future plans for starting (or adding to) your family.

For women with no known fertility health issues and a family history of later-in-life menopause, freezing their eggs may not make financial sense. It also may not be the best financial option for women 35 and younger who are considering having children in the near future.

While there’s no egg freezing age limit, many fertility specialists find that there’s minimal benefit to freezing eggs in a woman’s late 30s and 40s.

Still, women who aren’t sure if they want children may benefit from egg freezing, as well as those who are undergoing a health procedure that could negatively impact their fertility.

The Pros and Cons of Freezing Your Eggs

As with any medical procedure, there are pros and cons to oocyte cryopreservation. If you’re thinking about freezing your eggs, here’s the positives and negatives of long-term egg storage:

Pros:

  • Freezing your eggs lets you plan a family based around major life events or goals that you want to pursue.
  • Choosing to freeze your eggs means that you’ll have better quality eggs at an older age, which can boost the chances of a successful pregnancy.
  • Planning for oocyte cryopreservation means that you can choose to have a baby in the future with or without a partner.

Cons:

  • The cost of egg freezing — including retrieval and storage — can be a major deterrent.
  • It’s possible that your eggs may not survive the freezing and thawing process.
  • It may be necessary for you to undergo multiple rounds of egg retrieval to increase the odds of having viable eggs after thawing.
  • Plans change — some women who choose to freeze their eggs find partners and end up conceiving naturally without using any of their frozen eggs.
  • Freezing your eggs doesn’t mean that you’ll easily get pregnant in the future. As you age, your fertility health can change drastically. Some women who freeze their eggs may attempt to use them, but not successfully conceive based on other factors.

Is Egg Freezing Right For Me?

Many women who explore egg freezing wonder if the procedure is right for them, especially when factoring in their life plans and the cost. If you’re thinking about egg freezing, you may want to ask yourself these questions to determine if the procedure is right for you:

Why do I want to freeze my eggs?

The reason why you choose to freeze your eggs is a major factor in the decision to do it. As egg freezing becomes more popular and targeted at women under 30 as a backup plan, it’s important to consider why you want to freeze your eggs, and if you really would benefit from doing so.

Would I want to have a child regardless of my marital status?

For some women, egg freezing equates freedom, meaning they don’t have to feel pressured to find a spouse and settle down. If you want to become a parent regardless of your marital status, freezing your eggs may be of benefit in the future.

What would I do with my frozen eggs if I don’t end up using them?

Many women who freeze their eggs end up becoming pregnant without using their stored eggs. In these cases, they may choose to discard them or store them for a bit longer in case fertility issues arise.

But, considering the cost of oocyte cryopreservation and storage, some women feel pressured to use their eggs even if they don’t need IVF or other fertility treatments.

Can I plan ahead for the costs of egg storage?

Egg storage costs can be hefty, so it’s important to remember that the upfront costs of oocyte cryopreservation aren’t the only associated bills you’ll have to pay. How much you pay to store your eggs long-term depends on how long you choose to store them, how many you store, where you live, and the storage facility you choose.

Keeping all the costs of egg freezing in mind is important when you make this decision.

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How Much Does A Surrogate Cost?

When it comes to determining what options are available to them, many people who are hoping to expand their family rule out surrogacy simply because they assume it is too expensive. Still, by understanding what’s involved in a surrogacy experience, as well as the attached expenses, many families choose this route.

Here’s what you should know about surrogacy before making a hard-and-fast decision.

What is Surrogacy?

Surrogacy isn’t a fertility treatment, but it is a form of assisted reproduction. Intended parents — the common term for people who seek out an individual to help them have a baby — work with a gestational surrogate, who becomes pregnant with their baby.

The surrogate then carries the intended parents’ baby and births the child, though even though they are pregnant doesn’t mean that the baby is genetically theirs. In fact, many surrogates are not biologically related to their intended parents’ child despite carrying and giving birth to them.

Surrogacy is an option for potential parents who struggle with infertility, but it’s also commonly sought out by LGBTQ+ parents who are looking to start a family. Many people also seek out surrogacy when they want to have another child who is biologically their own, but they are unable to become pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term because of health issues.

The Surrogacy Process

While many people think that surrogacy simply means carrying and giving birth to someone else’s baby, there’s much more involved. Here’s what you should know about the surrogacy process.

How does surrogacy work?

Surrogacy works by first locating a surrogate. Many intended parents choose to work with an agency that has vetted, experienced surrogates who meet particular agency requirements.

Still, other intended parents look to having private surrogacy relationships where they seek out a potential surrogate through ads, or by asking a friend or family member to carry their child.

After a surrogate is selected, the intended parents and surrogate (and surrogate agency, if applicable), create a contract detailing the ins and outs of the surrogacy experience. This includes rules about prenatal care and testing, how you’ll communicate and interact, responses to potential problems with a pregnancy, and more.

From there, depending on whether you choose to use a traditional or gestational surrogate, your surrogate will become pregnant. During the course of the pregnancy, intended parents provide coverage for the surrogate’s medical expenses, legal expenses, and pregnancy-related needs.

After a healthy pregnancy and successful delivery, your surrogate’s job is complete, and your family will welcome home a new baby.

Gestational Surrogacy vs. Traditional Surrogacy

There are two kinds of surrogacy, and in the most basic sense, they differ based on the genetic material that is used to create the pregnancy. Gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy are two different paths intended parents can take when considering the option of surrogacy.

Traditional Surrogacy

This form of surrogacy occurs when the surrogate mother uses her own eggs to become pregnant. Her eggs are artificially inseminated with an intended father’s sperm, meaning that she is the child’s biological mother.

Despite being genetically linked to the baby, a surrogate understands that the child is not her own, and she carries the child with the agreement that she will give birth as well as custody of the child.

Traditional surrogacy is often considered for gay couples who do not have eggs to use for the conception of a child. It is often also used by intended parents who have known genetic conditions they do not want to pass along to their child, or in situations where the intended mother is infertile and cannot use her own eggs.

Gestational Surrogacy

Modern technology has made it so much easier for intended parents who want a child who is biologically theirs, but can’t become pregnant on their own. Gestational surrogacy utilizes in vitro fertilization (IVF) to implant fertilized embryos into a surrogate’s uterus.

Eggs can be collected from an intended mother and fertilized with the intended father’s sperm, meaning that in gestational surrogacy, the child and surrogate are not biologically related.

Gestational surrogacy is often sought out for families where health conditions such as cancer treatment or high-risk pregnancy complications have made it difficult for intended parents to become pregnant on their own, despite having the available eggs and sperm. It’s also an option for LGBTQ+ couples who want to use a donor egg instead of the surrogacy’s eggs.

What Is The Average Cost of Surrogacy?

The costs of surrogacy can quickly add up — and for many families, the expense can be off-putting. On average, the cost of a surrogate in the United States is $100,000.

While this number can vary by region, surrogacy agency, and other factors, it’s not common for intended parents to pay between $75,000 and $130,000 or more to have a child through surrogacy.

Calculating Surrogacy Costs

Many people falsely believe that the entire amount paid for a surrogate goes straight to the surrogate mother as payment. In reality, much of the costs of surrogacy account for agency services and fees, medical costs, and more. Here’s a surrogacy cost breakdown:

Surrogate compensation and reimbursement

If you’re wondering “how much does a surrogate mother make,” you should know that compensation for a surrogate heavily depends on where you live, regional demand, and her prior experience as a surrogate. First-time surrogates make less than more experienced surrogates, but compensation generally ranges between $30,000 and $60,000.

The costs of agency fees

Agency fees cover the cost of working with an agency to find a surrogate and completing the surrogacy journey. This cost often ranges between $5,000 and $30,000, and varies heavily based on the surrogacy agency you select.

The costs of advertising services

How intended parents choose to seek out a surrogate can impact what they’ll pay in advertising fees. If you choose to hunt for a surrogate without the help of an agency, you may pay less for advertising services (sometimes less than $100 for online directory posts).

Still, advertising costs can reach as high as $1,000 depending on where you advertise, how you advertise, and if an agency helps.

The costs of matching services

Matching services are often included in surrogacy agency fees, so prices can vary. These fees cover the process of matching and screening potential surrogates, and can range up to $5,000.

The costs of counseling and support

Surrogacy costs with an agency include counseling and support sessions for both the surrogate and the intended parents, simply because it’s an emotionally involved process. This can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000.

The costs of additional agency services

Sometimes, surrogacy pregnancies require additional support, such as in situations of twin births or pregnancy complications. Some services even provide stipends for maternity clothing, bed rest compensation (where the surrogate can no longer work at her personal job), groceries, and more.

You should speak with your agency to determine what additional services they build into the cost of surrogacy and know these could total an additional $2,000 to $10,000.

The costs of legal services

Legal services are one area that should not be skimped on to reduce the cost of surrogacy; some agencies build this expense into their agency fees, while others do not. These legal services are important at ensuring a binding contract is set between you and your surrogate; you should budget for anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000.

The costs of medical expenses

Medical expenses are one of the largest expenses of surrogacy; they often range between $10,000 and $25,000 depending on what kind of supplemental insurance is used and what kinds of medical care is required. You can expect to pay more in medical expenses for twin births, as well as in the event of a C-section during delivery.

Low-Cost Surrogacy Options in the U.S.

Because surrogacy can be, many intended parents find ways to minimize the cost of having a child this way. Many individuals and couples who decide on surrogacy have found some ways to reduce the cost, including:

  • Asking a friend to be a surrogate: This route is often taken if a friend volunteers and is a benefit because it allows intended parents to seek someone they truly know and feel comfortable with. Surrogacy cost with a friend can range from $15,000 to $30,000 thanks to medical fees and legal fees. Still, this can reduce the cost of surrogacy drastically. The cost of surrogacy without an agency can make this journey much more affordable.
  • Having a family member be a surrogate: For some intended parents, a willing family member may offer to birth their child. The cost of surrogacy with family members often drops, costing anywhere between $15,000 and $30,000, accounting for medical and legal fees. The reduced cost of having a family member being surrogate can make surrogacy a reality for families with a smaller budget.
  • Seeking a twin pregnancy: Intended parents who either want twins or are looking to have only one surrogacy experience but multiple children may consider twin pregnancies. While the surrogate mother cost for twins does increase due to the higher risk associated with a twin pregnancy, some families consider this cheaper than pursuing two separate surrogate pregnancies. On average, a surrogate agency may charge an additional “twins” fee of $5,000 or more.
  • Searching for volunteer surrogates: Because many surrogates find the experience to be rewarding, there are some who volunteer their services. For families looking to pursue surrogacy without the cost of an agency, searching for free surrogate mothers online may help them find a goodwill surrogate.
  • Hiring surrogates outside of an agency: It’s not required for intended parents to utilize a surrogacy agency. In fact, independent surrogacy cost can cost almost half of surrogacy with an agency, ranging anywhere from $30,000 to $75,000. The cost of surrogacy without agency is low enough to make surrogacy a reality, though it is recommended that intended parents work closely with an attorney to cover all legal bases.

Surrogacy Procedures Covered Under Health Insurance

Whether or not your insurance provider will cover the care of your surrogate is hard to determine, simply because there’s no universal rule regarding surrogate care. While almost all surrogacy agencies will require health insurance coverage for surrogates (and the unborn baby), it can be tough to figure out how to obtain health insurance.

So, does insurance cover surrogacy, and who’s insurance helps with the cost of care?

Since the popularity of surrogacy has increased, many insurance providers have provided stipulations that only non-surrogate, “in-family” pregnancies are covered. This makes it difficult for a surrogate to use her own health care for prenatal care and hospital delivery.

And for many intended parents, it’s a toss-up regarding if their insurance provider will cover the surrogate’s care, and if so, to what extent.

For that reason, it’s important to contact your insurance company to determine what level of coverage it offers for surrogate situations. If you find that your insurance provider doesn’t offer surrogate coverage, there are still other options.

Some insurance companies provide supplemental surrogacy policies that are specifically used to help cover the medical expenses associated with surrogacy.

Since many surrogacy agencies require some kind of insurance to be provided by the intended parents for the surrogate, it’s important to understand the potential costs of surrogacy insurance. If an agency doesn’t require insurance, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll still be required to cover all medical fees, though you’ll likely be paying out of pocket with no insurance help.

The Costs of Surrogacy vs. Adoption

Unfortunately, surrogacy and adoption can both carry hefty costs. Still, you can expect surrogacy to cost more than adoption due to a variety of costs you must cover, including medical bills, prenatal care, and legal expenses.

In the United States, the adoption costs vary because there are several avenues to adopting a child. For example:

  • Adopting a child that you foster costs, on average, $2,500 or less. However, some families who adopt foster children do so at minor or no cost thanks to government assistance.
  • The average cost of adopting a child through a private adoption agency is between $5,000 and $60,000, depending on the child’s age and other factors. In 2017, the average adoption through an agency cost more than $43,000.
  • Families who choose to adopt independently with the help of an attorney (also known as a private adoption) but without the help of an adoption agency see the largest range of prices, from $8,000 to $60,000. However, according to 2017 adoption research, families seeking private adoptions paid an average of $38,000.
  • Families who adopt children from other countries may also see a large variance in price, though many people consider adopting a foreign child because of lower costs.

In comparison, surrogacy can be double or triple the cost of adoption. This often pushes many prospective parents towards adoption over surrogacy.

Is Surrogacy Right for Me?

Just like there’s no one type of fertility treatment that works for everyone, surrogacy isn’t the best option or top pick for every expecting family. If you’re wondering if surrogacy is the right choice for you, consider asking yourself these questions:

How do I feel about the surrogate and intended parent relationship?

The surrogate experience, for many people, is very personal. While the surrogate and intended parent relationship is focused on the conception and birth of a healthy baby, there’s more involved — such as the emotional bond you may end up having with a potential surrogate.

For people who are interested in creating some kind of bond or relationship with the person who helped them expand their family, surrogacy can be a wonderful option. Still, there are many intended parents who do not want a deep level of connection with their surrogate, and that’s perfectly fine.

Before starting the search for a surrogate or entering into a surrogacy agreement, it’s important to understand your own feelings about the process.

Do I fully understand the cost of surrogacy, and can I afford it?

Because surrogacy comes with a large price tag — much of it upfront — it’s important that you fully understand all of the costs involved, including in situations where the surrogacy agreement may not work out. And, because surrogacy generally isn’t covered by insurance, you’ll need to be sure that you have researched ways to reduce the cost of using a surrogate without the help of your insurance provider (as opposed to fertility treatments, which are sometimes covered by private insurance and Medicare).

Have I considered other options and weighed the pros and cons?

Because surrogacy comes with a large price tag, it’s important to explore all the available options. Many families who consider surrogacy but can’t afford the price weigh the choices of adoption or fertility treatments, and those who have exhausted those options may consider surrogacy to be their best bet.

Researching the pros and cons of surrogacy, and understanding your personal feelings, can help you best determine if surrogacy is the right choice for you and your family.

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Basal Temperature

What is Basal Body Temperature (BBT)?

Tracking your basal body temperature can provide useful fertility information if you’re looking to become pregnant (and even if you’re looking to prevent pregnancy). Often considered a form of fertility awareness family planning, basal body temperature is something every woman can utilize. So, what is basal body temperature?

Basal body temperature (BBT) is your body’s temperature after resting and before starting any movement for the day. Normally collected at the same waking time each day and before you get out of bed, basal body temperature can have small fluctuations that reflect changes in your fertility cycle, specifically those related to ovulation.

During the first half of a woman’s cycle, her body temperature remains lower. But after ovulation, the body creates progesterone, which causes her BBT to slightly increase and signals that she is no longer fertile for the remainder of the cycle.

Following ovulation, her BBT will likely remain higher than the first half of her cycle.

Temperature fertility tracking works by taking your temperature orally or vaginally each morning, then inputting that information into a chart (a process often referred to as “charting”). From there — and with additional data you collect about your body, such as the presence of cervical fluid, cramps, or other menstrual symptoms — you are able to analyze your chart to find the likely date ovulation occurred.

Why track basal body temperature?

Tracking your basal body temperature each day can give you insights to where your body is in the menstruation and fertility cycle. Temperature fertility tracking can help predict ovulation, which is beneficial for women who are looking to get pregnant and need to time sex near their ovulation date, as well as for women who don’t want to get pregnant and need to avoid having sex around ovulation.

If you’re trying to get pregnant, tracking your basal body temperature can also help you determine if conception has occurred, and if you are likely pregnant before even taking a test. And for women who are having difficulty conceiving, tracking their basal body temperature can give them and their doctor big clues as to why they’re not getting pregnant.

How accurate is the BBT method?

There’s no clear data on how accurate tracking BBT is, though many women find success with taking and charting their temperatures. If you choose to track BBT, you should know that the body is not a clock and can often deviate from the rules.

So, when is a BBT chart inaccurate? Because BBT isn’t an exact science and requires an understanding of your body’s fertility cycle, as well as dedication to following the rules and charting every day, there’s room for error. It’s common for a BBT chart to be inaccurate if:

  • You do not take your basal body temperature at the same time every day
  • If you get up and move around prior to taking your BBT, which raises your body temperature and invalidates that day’s results
  • You use a thermometer that is not designed for BBT charting
  • You are undergoing fertility treatments or use fertility medications that impact ovulation
  • You have consumed alcohol the night prior, which can impact body temperature
  • Your body temperature doesn’t noticeably rise after ovulation.

Still, temperature fertility tracking can be a great tool for learning about your fertility cycle, especially if you are pursuing pregnancy.

Tools You Need To Take Your Basal Body Temperature

Unlike other forms of birth control or fertility treatment, using BBT tracking to prevent or become pregnant is fairly inexpensive. There are only three main tools you’ll need to get started:

  • A basal body temperature thermometer
  • A basal body chart, or an app that creates the chart for you
  • A daily alarm to help you collect your BBT on time before getting out of bed

What basal body thermometer should you use?

If you want to pursue BBT charting, it’s important that you specifically find a thermometer designed for this purpose. While regular thermometers show your body temperature with one number after the decimal point (for example, 97.9 degrees) a basal body temperature thermometer is more sensitive and shows your body’s temperature with two numbers after the decimal point (for example, 98.02).

Basal body temperature thermometers are also designed with higher accuracy; while regular thermometers are accurate within 0.2 degrees, BBT thermometers are more fine-tuned to 0.1 degrees of accuracy. This is important because changes in BBT can be very small and difficult for regular thermometers to pick up.

Where to get a basal thermometer

While basal body temperature thermometers are a bit more costly than regular thermometers, they’re just as easy to find. You can purchase them at a drug store or online, and the often cost between $5 and $15.

Because there are many BBT thermometers on the market, just be sure to choose a reputable brand. Some basal body temperature thermometers have additional features, such as memory recall of prior temperatures and fast results.

There are even high-tech BBT thermometers that sync with phone apps to record your BBT straight into your chart.

Finding and Choosing a BBT Chart

BBT charts, also called ovulation charts, are easy to find online. You can easily download and print a chart from a reputable medical or pregnancy website.

If you don’t want to chart your BBT by hand, you can also consider a charting app. Phone apps such as Kindara, Glow, and Natural Cycles all help you record your BBT and analyze your chart throughout and after your cycle.

Many online BBT resources also provide BBT chart examples, so if you’re new to basal body temperature and charting, you can understand how to accurately record your temperature.

How to Measure BBT

If you’re wondering, “How do I take my temperature,” know that taking your temperature each day is one of the easiest parts of temperature fertility tracing. You’ll simply need to take your temperature, either orally, vaginally, or rectally each morning with a BBT thermometer while remaining calm, and before making any major movements.

What is the most accurate way to measure BBT?

To accurately record your BBT, you’ll need to remember these key steps on how to take basal body temperature:

  • Set an alarm for the same time each morning
  • Upon waking, do not talk, make drastic movements, or get up to use the bathroom
  • Take your temperature orally, vaginally, or rectally while remaining calm
  • Record the results in your BBT chart as soon as possible

Many fertility specialists believe that taking your BBT rectally provides the most accurate information, though don’t feel pressured to do so if you are not comfortable with it. Using your thermometer vaginally or orally still provides accurate results.

When should you chart your BBT?

While it’s best to record your BBT as soon as you take your temperature, it’s OK to head back to sleep after taking your temperature so long as you have a thermometer with memory recall. If your thermometer does not do so, you’ll want to record the information immediately.

For the most accurate BBT chart, get into the habit of inputting the information as soon as possible so that you don’t forget that day’s temperature.

Using a BBT Adjuster

One of the downsides of tracking your basal body temperature is that you’ll have to aim for the same time each day to have consistent results. But sometimes, you oversleep, forget to set an alarm, or wake up earlier than normal. In these cases, your BBT may be higher or lower and can cause inaccuracies in your chart.

If you miss your normal BBT time, it’s important that you still take your temperature. You can simply use a basal body adjuster app to make adjustments. These apps use calculations to estimate what your BBT should have been, based on the understanding that BBT raises about 0.1 degrees every 30 minutes.

Should you use a BBT adjuster? It’s a personal preference, and adjusters are easy to find. Still, many fertility specialists recommend against BBT adjusters, because they can skew your chart and cause inaccuracies.

It’s important that if you choose to use or not use an adjuster, that you be consistent in using it each time or not at all, and that you don’t rely on it regularly.

What should my Basal Body Temperature be?

No two women have the exact same BBT chart, and you’ll notice that your own BBT may fluctuate from prior cycles, during times of illness, or based on outside factors such as sleeping in a warm room. Generally, a normal basal body temperature prior to ovulation is between 96 and 98 degrees. After ovulation, this can range from 97 to 99 degrees.

Temperature fluctuations on a BBT chart

The whole point of charting your BBT is to watch for temperature fluctuations. These minor changes can be major clues into changes with your body.

While normal basal body temperature prior to ovulation is somewhere between 98 and 98 degrees, you may notice that this number fluctuates on a daily basis. For most women, BBT will remain higher during the second half of their cycle (after ovulation) than it was in the first half, signally that ovulation has occurred.

And for women who have abnormally high temperatures, it’s an indication that they may be pregnant. Basal body temperature, if you conceive, is normally high for at least 18 days, giving you a clue that you may have successfully ovulated and gotten pregnant.

How does BBT chart change after ovulation

As your body prepares for ovulation during the first half of your cycle, your BBT remains relatively low. Right before ovulation, many women notice a dip in their BBT.

One hint through basal body temperature ovulation has occurred includes watching for that dip followed by a rise in temperature (caused by progesterone created after ovulation).

So, how long after ovulation does BBT rise? It’s fast — your BBT will rise within 24 hours after ovulation and stay higher than the first half of your cycle until the last days of your cycle, where it may wane.

What if I’m not ovulating?

Tracking BBT is one way to find out if your body is not ovulating, and you can pass this information along to your doctor to determine why you may have difficulty getting pregnant. Though, you should know that if you want to use BBT in conjunction with other forms of hormonal birth control — such as the pill, ring, patch, injection, or implant — you won’t have accurate results.

That’s because BBT is based on tracking signs of ovulation, and hormonal birth control prevents ovulation from occurring, meaning minor changes your body would undergo in preparation of ovulation that impact BBT won’t occur.

How to Detect Pregnancy on Your BBT Chart

If you’re trying to get pregnant, tracking your BBT can be helpful. Generally, your basal body temperature after conception will rise, and stay high.

Most fertility experts agree that a rise lasting at least 18 days after ovulation signals pregnancy. If you’ve been charting for some time and suspect you have conceived, your basal body temperature when pregnant may be higher than previous pre-ovulation temperatures were.

Still, some women find they have no temp rise after ovulation but are pregnant. This can occur because not all women have a major BBT rise following ovulation, which can make it difficult to determine when ovulation occurred.

Other Things to Track

If you plan to use BBT as a way to get pregnant, or even prevent pregnancy, it’s important to track other bodily symptoms. These can help you determine if you may be pregnant, or help you understand when you are fertile if you are avoiding pregnancy. Other things to track on your BBT chart include:

  • Presence of cervical mucus
  • Cramps or ovulation pains
  • When you have sexual intercourse and whether you used protection
  • Period information, such as dates of menstruation and amount of flow
  • Stress, sickness or other health conditions that can impact your fertility

What are the Safe Days to Have Sex When Using the BBT Method?

If you’re using the BBT method to get pregnant, you’ll want to time sex around ovulation — up to five days before you suspect you will ovulate, as well as the day of. But if you’re looking to prevent pregnancy with the BBT method, it’s important that you avoid these fertile days.

According to Planned Parenthood, the safe day to have unprotected sex begin after your temperature has remained elevated at least 3 days following ovulation. However, you can still use the BBT method in conjunction with other forms of birth control (such as condoms) to have safe sex throughout your cycle.

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Positive Pregnancy Test: When Did I Conceive?

When exactly does pregnancy begin?

If you’ve got a positive pregnancy test, you likely have a lot of questions. One of them may be wondering exactly when you conceived. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to determine the exact day you got pregnant.

Even if you only had sex one time during your cycle and became pregnant, it’s possible that the day you had sex was not the day you conceived. That’s because sperm can survive inside the vagina for up to five days after sex, waiting for an egg to become available during ovulation.

And because no woman’s body is a clock, and ovulation occurs on different days each cycle, it’s easy to be unsure of conception date.

So, how do you find out the day you got pregnant? The most common way doctors date a pregnancy is off the date of your last period. So, if you’re wondering “how pregnant will I be” by the time you miss your first period, a doctor would inform you that you are one-month pregnant.

Unfortunately, if you’re waiting for your first missed period, asking yourself “Have I conceived?” it’s tough until you get a positive pregnancy test to know for sure.

Understanding Ovulation

If you’ve gotten a positive pregnancy test and are trying to determine if or when you’ve gotten pregnant, it’s important to understand just how ovulation and conception works.

When does implantation occur after ovulation?

Implantation is the process in which a fertilized egg becomes embedded in the uterus and starts to grow. In most pregnancies, this begins about eight to 10 days following fertilization (the date you have unprotected sex).

Many people wonder, “Can you get pregnant the days before and after ovulation?” You should know that it is possible to get pregnant around the time of ovulation. That’s because even though you are only able to get pregnant if an egg is present, sperm can survive in the vagina for up to five days after sex.

If you are close to ovulation, the sperm can survive long enough to be present for when an egg is released from the fallopian tubes, allowing it to become fertilized even if you didn’t have sex on the exact day of ovulation.

On the other hand, can you get pregnant right before your period? In most cases, no. That’s because after ovulation comes the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle — the time when your body is preparing for a possible pregnancy, but also menstruation if a pregnancy has not occurred.

During the luteal phase, a fertilized egg would implant in the uterus and hormones would work to help the start of a pregnancy. During this time, no more eggs are released from the fallopian tubes, meaning the body has shifted from trying to get pregnant to trying to support a pregnancy. That means it’s not possible to become pregnant.

Still — for women with irregular cycles or abnormally short cycles, it is possible to get pregnant during a period. That’s because the shortened cycle decreases the number of days leading up to ovulation, and combined with sperm’s lifespan, can lead to pregnancy.

How to figure out when you ovulate

For women who track their cycles through an app, or through basal body temperature tracking, you can use prior cycle information to determine when you may have ovulated. While ovulation varies from month to month, and it is nearly impossible to determine the exact date of ovulation, most women with a 28-day cycle can expect ovulation to occur around day 14 (essentially two weeks following the first day of their period).

Still, you should know that every cycle fluctuates, meaning it’s possible to ovulate early (such as on day 12) or late (such as on day 17) depending on the length of your cycle. Women with cycles longer than 28 days may ovulate later, while women when cycles shorter than 28 days may ovulate earlier.

Symptoms during ovulation

Even though it can be hard to determine when exactly you ovulate, it is possible to use your body’s clues to understand if ovulation is about to occur. If you’re trying to calculate how pregnant you are, or wondering what cycle day did you conceive, you can think back to when you may have experienced ovulation symptoms.

Some common symptoms of ovulation include:

  • A drop in basal body temperature, indicating that ovulation is about to occur
  • Changes in cervical fluid, becoming more slippery and “egg white”-like
  • Changes in the cervix, becoming higher up, soft, and wet-feeling
  • Increased sex drive or interest in sex
  • Light cramping on one side of the pelvis (often called mittelschmerz)
  • Breast tenderness

Combining ovulation symptoms you recall with an understanding of your cycle can make it easier to determine what cycle day you conceived.

How to Calculate Your Conception Date

Calculating your exact conception date is nearly impossible, but it is possible to calculate a small window in which you likely conceived. If you’re wondering “when did I conceive and how many weeks am I,” one of the best clues is to use the date of your last known period.

On the flipside, if you’re asking “when did I conceive based on how far along I am,” you should know that you can count backward to your last period to determine a possible conception date.

Generally, most doctors date a pregnancy based on your last menstrual period (LMP). If you have a regular cycle (around 28 days), you can estimate that ovulation took place around day 14 of your cycle.

So, if you’re trying to figure out when you conceived and how far along you are, think back to your last period, and add 14 days from the first day of menstruation. You can use this date to estimate when you may have conceived, and count from there how far along you may be.

If you know how far along you are, you can count back to your last period and add two weeks to determine the date of conception. For example, if a doctor says that you are 8 weeks pregnant based off your last period, you can count 14 days from the first day of your last period and use that date as a likely conception date.

In this example, a woman who is 8 weeks pregnant likely conceived about 6 weeks prior.

Knowing this, many people wonder: are conception dates accurate. It’s difficult to say, because you may have noticed that doctors date pregnancies based on your last period even though you would not have been pregnant that day, and base medical decisions off that date.

That’s because conception dates are difficult to pinpoint. Many women who know the window of conception use that information when making pregnancy and medical decisions going forward, because they can be rather accurate considering ovulation occurs in a small span of time.

However, for women with abnormal cycles or fertility issues such as PCOS or endometriosis, trying to pinpoint a conception date is difficult and may not be accurate.

Is dating from the last menstrual period (LMP) inaccurate?

Most doctors and OBGYNs date pregnancies based on the first date of the last menstrual period. While this is not exactly accurate, most doctors consider it the best shot at dating a pregnancy before an ultrasound.

In most cases, doctors will date a pregnancy based on the last menstrual period and add 280 days to a date to determine a baby’s due date. In many cases, early ultrasounds are now used to verify this date off a fetus’ measurements up to 13 weeks of gestational age.

How accurate are conception calculators?

Conception calculators can be a great tool at determining when you got pregnant for women who have regular cycles and are knowledgeable about when their last cycle began. Conception calendar calculators work by inputting your due date to estimate when you likely became pregnant.

These calculators simply subtract 280 days from your estimated due date to give you an idea of when you became pregnant. Other tools, such as reverse conception calculators can be used to determine the date of conception based on your last menstrual period, counting forward about 14 days to determine when you may have been fertile.

So, can a conception calculator be wrong? Absolutely! Conception planners and a conception date calculator based on birthday (that of your baby) are often based around an average 28-day cycle. Still, these calculators can’t anticipate that the human body isn’t a clock, and that there are major variances between different women, or even the same woman’s cycles.

The best pregnancy calculators available online will not only give you options for estimating conception date based on your due date, but also your last missed period. They’ll also give options for modifying the number of days in your regular cycles.

If you’re looking for a pregnancy week calculator by due date, which explains what happens week by week during your pregnancy, many will walk you through all 40 weeks, from estimated conception to birth, detailing the changes you and your baby will undergo.

Many pregnancy calculators, such as YourDueDate.com, will also let you input dates in the future, which can help if you are trying to determine the best time to get pregnant in the future.

How to Calculate Gestational Age

There are several different ways to determine how far along your pregnancy may be. Gestational age uses the fetus’ age to determine how far along you are, and when your baby may be due.

There are several ways to pinpoint how old your baby may be. Here’s how to calculate gestational age manually:

  • Determine the first date of your last period
  • Add 280 days (40 weeks) to the first day of your last period

Many doctors will use this method to determine how far along you are, before moving onto an early ultrasound to determine gestational age. That’s because it’s difficult to see a tiny fetus prior to six weeks of pregnancy.

From there, doctors can measure the fetus to make a more estimated guess at your baby’s gestational age.

Determining how far along you are can become confusing based on different dating methods and terms used. Here’s how they differ:

  • Gestational age vs. conception date: Gestational age is commonly used by doctors to count the length of a pregnancy but doesn’t account for conception date. In most cases, gestational age counts from the first day of the last period, meaning it often includes two additional weeks prior to conception.
  • Gestational age vs. fetal age: While gestational age determines a due date based on your last period, fetal age can be determined through an ultrasound. Because fetuses under 13 weeks grow at similar rates, doctors can determine how old your baby is based on their measurements. During an ultrasound, doctors will refer to a gestational age chart (also called a fetal growth chart) compare your fetus’ size to the size of average fetuses at certain ages. This can provide a more accurate date that may line up with
  • conception.

Difficulties in Determining Gestational Age

In some instances, it can be difficult for you and your doctor to determine how far along your pregnancy may be without the help of an ultrasound. This can be the case if:

  • You have an unusual or abnormal cycle
  • You don’t have a cycle due to a health condition or as a side effect of medications (such as birth control)
  • You can’t remember the date of your last period

In these situations, a doctor may require an ultrasound to determine your gestational age.

How to Calculate Your Due Date

There are several ways you can calculate your EDD (estimated due date):

  • Using a due date calculator to count gestational age (280 days from the first day of your last period)
  • Using a due date calculator based off your likely fertile window (possible dates of conception)
  • Undergoing an ultrasound, where a doctor can determine your fetus’ age and potential birth date based on crown-to-rump fetal measurements

The best due date calculator, such as one from AmericanPregnancy.org, allows you to input information about your last period, your estimated ovulation window, potential due date, and more. This can help you get a more balanced idea of when your baby will be born.

Why is your calculated due date different from the one on your ultrasound?

Many pregnant women wonder, “Can an ultrasound determine a more accurate due date?” The answer is yes! That’s because ultrasounds prior to 13 weeks are strong indicators of a fetus’ age and can help you hone in on when you likely conceived. For that reason, a due date calculated off gestational age (which uses the first day of your last period) may not be as accurate as a due date determined from an ultrasound.

Can my due date change?

It is possible for a due date to change based on information from ultrasounds. Because ultrasounds give the best dating information when done before 13 weeks, doctors can use this to give a more accurate due date.

If you were given one date based on gestational age, it’s possible for this date to change after an ultrasound.

So, does late ovulation change due date? Since we generally can’t tell when ovulation occurred, most doctor’s won’t base your due date off your believed date of ovulation or conception. During an ultrasound, a doctor may determine that your baby is a bit smaller than other babies of similar suspected age, meaning you could have ovulated a bit later than expected.

In this case, they may choose to update your due date to match fetal measurements and age.

Giving birth before your due date: What does it mean?

Many women give birth before the due dates, for a variety of reasons. Just because your baby is born before their due date doesn’t mean that they’ll be premature.

In fact, only an estimated 5 percent of women give birth on their actual due date. While many OBGYNs want women to carry close to 40 weeks, babies are often born on their own schedule. It isn’t abnormal for a baby to be born anywhere from three weeks prior to their due date to two weeks after.

Symptoms in the First Few Weeks of Pregnancy

Many women don’t know that they’re pregnant until they miss their first or second period, yet others begin to experience symptoms very early on. If you believe you may have conceived, the probability of being pregnant increases if you are experiencing any of these common early pregnancy symptoms:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Unexplained mood swings and moodiness
  • Tender or swollen breasts
  • Nausea
  • Light spotting (often occurring around implantation) and cramping
  • Aversion to certain foods and smells
  • Frequent urge to urinate

Many women who experience these early pregnancy symptoms do so starting around four to five weeks from their last period.

How to Determine the Father by Conception Date

Sometimes, a woman becomes pregnant but isn’t quite sure who the father may be. In these cases, many women search for how to determine the father of a baby by conception date, but unfortunately, there’s no “who got me pregnant” calculator.

In these situations, where a woman is pregnant with two possible dads, it helps to get out a calendar. Knowing how to calculate how pregnant you are can also help you determine when you may have gotten pregnant:

  • Circle the first day of your last known period (this is day 1 of your cycle).
  • Count 11 days out from day 1, and mark; this date, for most women with a cycle between 28 and 32 days, is the beginning of their fertile window.
  • Now, count out 10 additional days from the first fertile day; this date is likely the last fertile day (the close of your fertile window).
  • Note any days that you had sex within this fertile window, and with which partner. This can give you a clue as to which partner may be the father.
  • You can also count forward from the date of your last period to determine how pregnant you are.

You can use this information going forward when you meet with a doctor or undergo an ultrasound to determine fetal age. While the calendar method and ultrasound can’t hone in on a specific day you became pregnant, it can be helpful at determining who the father may be.

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Ultimate Guide to Secondary Infertility

What is the difference between primary and secondary infertility?

Primary infertility refers to never having been able to conceive or maintain a pregnancy. Secondary infertility refers to situations where a couple has conceived and had a child at least once before and then begins experiencing infertility. In both cases, infertility is marked by a period of one year without being able to get pregnant naturally (six months if your 35 or older).

What makes secondary infertility different?

Secondary infertility occurs when a couple is unable to conceive naturally after already having at least one child. While childless couples experience primary infertility, those who have been able to conceive a child on their own, and then are unable to, are experiencing secondary infertility.

Can you have fertility problems after having a child?

There is a common misconception that if you are fertile once, you will always be fertile. This is simply not the case every time. Couples who experience infertility after having a child where infertility issues were not present before are still susceptible to infertility issues.

The factors that cause infertility are not always carried lifelong and may manifest between pregnancies in the male or female partner. Infertility can happen at any time, no matter how many children you have.

Is secondary infertility common?

Secondary infertility is more common than you likely thought. Some secondary infertility statistics show that up to 60% of infertility cases are cases of secondary infertility.

According to the results of a 1995 National Health Statistics survey, 3.3 million women in the U.S. were experiencing secondary infertility. The same surveys in 1988 revealed only 2.7 million women were experiencing it at that time.

You may be wondering why, if secondary infertility is so common, we don’t hear more about it. Only recently, has the concern or recognition of secondary fertility being a problem, come into higher visibility.

Many share a sentiment that if you already have one or more kids, the desire to have another isn’t as validated as couples who have no children at all. Likely if you’re reading this, you know how just how much the misconception lacks understanding and empathy.

Luckily, others are recognizing this and elevating the importance of addressing secondary infertility.

Can secondary infertility be avoided?

Secondary infertility is no more preventable than primary infertility. The vast majority of issues that lead to infertility cannot be prevented.

However, certain lifestyle choices—not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, lowering stress, etc.—do positively affect fertility so maintaining adequate general health overall is your best weapon against preventable fertility problems.

Age plays a big role in fertility. Roughly one third of couples with a female partner over will have trouble conceiving.

That number rises to two thirds for women over 40. Age often, but certainly not always, accounts for the root cause of secondary infertility.

What are the signs of secondary infertility?

Secondary infertility is defined by an inability to conceive after having unprotected sex for over a year. If you are having frequent, unprotected sex for a) one year if you are under 35 or b) six months for women over 35, you are experiencing secondary infertility.

While trying to get pregnant without success is the most common sign of secondary infertility, there are others. If you experience changes in ovulation or irregular menstrual cycles, it may be a sign of secondary infertility.

If your period is irregular, it’s important to decipher the root cause, as that is an indicator of something being off in your reproductive patterns. Additionally, if you’ve experienced multiple miscarriages while trying to get pregnant with an additional child, it may be a sign of infertility.

Your doctor can help you identify the cause of the secondary infertility after miscarriage and hopefully a plan to avoid them in the future.

C-sections can also cause secondary infertility. In some cases, scarring from a C-section can cause fertility issues as well as pain and bleeding. If you feel your C-section has not healed properly or is causing issues, it is advised to contact a medical professional.

Certain fertility clinics specialize in fixing these kinds of issues and restoring fertility cause by C-sections.

How is secondary infertility diagnosed?

A couple is considered to have secondary infertility if they are unable to get pregnant while having frequent, unprotected sex over a set period of time. For couples with a female partner under 35, one year of regular, unprotected sex that does not result in a pregnancy is diagnosable as secondary infertility.

For couples with a female partner over 35, six months is the standard.

Diagnosing the presence of secondary infertility is arguable just the beginning. Without identifying the cause of the infertility, there is little chance of overcoming it.

From diagnoses, your doctor will present and explore options for figuring out what is causing the secondary infertility and how to treat that specific issue or issues. Secondary infertility is not treatable in and of itself, but rather by treating whatever is expected to be causing it.

When is secondary infertility diagnosed?

Secondary infertility is diagnosed when couples seek medical help after being unable to conceive. If you have been having consistent, unprotected sex for six months if 35 or older or twelve months if under 35 and seek medical intervention, you will likely be diagnosed with secondary infertility.

When should you see a doctor about secondary infertility?

If you’ve been having unprotected sex for over one year if you are under 35, or over six months if you are 35 or older and have not gotten pregnant, you should see your doctor about secondary infertility.

It is always wise to bring you doctor into the conversation when you are trying to conceive, especially if you are having trouble doing so. If you are 35 or older, you should speak to your doctor shortly after you begin trying for a baby. T

hey may be able to do some testing, though it is not always covered by insurance, to check for certain issues that can impact fertility. Since getting pregnant gets more and more difficult at this age, it’s smart to get as ahead of the timeline as possible.

Is secondary infertility curable?

Many couples are able to overcome fertility issues and get pregnant. Some root causes of fertility call for more invasive and expensive treatments, while others are relatively non-invasive and low cost.

That being said, the reason(s) for infertility are so wide-ranging, it’s impossible to speculate on how successful treating your specific case will be. The good news is, there are options for virtually all fertility issues and technology continues to get better and more effective.

Secondary Infertility Treatment Options

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

IUI is one of the fertility treatments lower in cost and invasiveness. It helps treat male infertility (e.g. men with low sperm count or misshapen sperm) by implanting sperm directly in the reproductive tract to help increase the chance of an egg being fertilized.

Using donor sperm increases the chances of success even more.

In vitro fertilization (IVF)

In vitro fertilization is one of the most expensive and invasive fertility treatments, but also the most effective. IVF involves harvesting eggs and sperm from donors or parents and creating embryos in a lab that are then implanted into uterus of the mother or a surrogate.

Infertility Medications

Medications are available to address issues such as irregular ovulation. These fertility medications help balance hormones and regulate ovulation, which can often be a source of infertility.

Can secondary infertility be treated naturally?

The same natural treatments that may work for primary infertility can work for secondary infertility. However, these methods, which include things like charting your cycle and improving lifestyle, are often less efficient and more ineffective than modern medical treatments.

If age is causing secondary infertility, choosing a method that takes time may not yield the result you want. Ultimately the best treatment will be determined by the reason you are experiencing infertility. Your doctor can help you decide what may work for you.

Where can I get treatment for secondary infertility?

Fertility clinics treat all types of infertility. Secondary infertility is very common and any fertility well versed in primary infertility will also be able to address your secondary infertility.

How to cope with secondary infertility

It is common for issues with secondary fertility and depression to go hand in hand. Infertility can bring up feelings of guilt, inadequacy and selfishness—“I already have a child and others don’t; I should feel lucky.”

Do not discount your feelings. Anyone who desires to have a child and is hitting roadblocks naturally experiences these ups and downs. Getting medical advice, being open with your partner and seeking support are all ways to cope with secondary infertility.

What type of support is available for those facing secondary infertility?

There are many online forums and support groups available for parents just like you. Just because secondary fertility isn’t a common household topic does not mean it is not common. You are not alone!

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Short Menstrual Cycle

Your menstrual cycle can have a lot to say about your health and fertility. Each woman’s menstrual cycle is different, creating a wide range or normal. But are there times you should be concerned about how your body is functioning? Definitely.

Your menstrual cycle can be a window into your health.

What is a regular menstrual cycle?

Each month, your body goes through a series of changes to prepare for the possibility of getting pregnant. These changes are called the menstrual cycle. The cycle includes ovulation—when an egg is released by the ovaries.

In conjunction with ovulation, hormonal changes work to prepare the uterus for implantation. When a woman ovulates, but the egg is not fertilized, the lining of her uterus falls away through the vagina.

This part of the cycle is called a menstrual period, most often referred to simply as a period. The Follicular phase happens just before ovulation when follicles in the ovary mature.

Since it’s the only readily visible sign of where a woman is in her menstrual cycle, the first day of her period is used to mark the start of it and it lasts until her next period begins. The exact timing varies from woman to woman, with regular menstrual cycles happening every 21 to 35 days.

Regular periods last anywhere from two to seven days. Long cycles are common from when a woman starts her period through the few following years. As she gets older, they are likely to shorten and become more regular.

“Normal” periods come in many forms. Your cycle may come like clockwork and last for the same amount of time each month.

Or it may be somewhat irregular and still “normal.” Some are light, some heavy, you may feel pain and others are pain free. They may be long or short. These variances do not necessarily mean your period is not normal.

Generally, having regular periods means what’s regular to you. Some contraception choices, like birth control and IUDs can alter your cycle.

Your doctor can tell you what to expect. Woman approaching menopause also experience changes in the menstrual cycle. This is normal and no cause for concern.

What is a short menstrual cycle?

A menstrual cycle that lasts less than 21 days is considered short.

Is a short menstrual cycle normal?

A woman’s menstrual cycle naturally shortens as she gets older and approaches menopause. For women who are still in childbearing years, a short menstrual cycle may indicate that you are not ovulating normally, which can make getting pregnant more difficult.

If you’ve always had short menstrual cycles, it may just be how your body functions. But if you have short menstrual periods combined with a difficulty conceiving naturally, you may want to check in with your doctor.

What causes a short menstrual cycle?

Your menstrual cycle is controlled by hormones, which can be influenced by many factors. If an imbalance of reproductive hormones caused by any number of factors occurs in the body, it may result in a short menstrual cycle.

Certain thyroid conditions, estrogen supplements, fibroids or polyps can all cause cycles that are shorter than normal.

How does stress affect menstrual cycles?

Stress plays a large role in many bodily functions and overall health. When the body experiences consistent or excessive stress it releases adrenaline and cortisol, which are stress hormones.

Adrenalines is the stress hormone that gives you an energy push and allows you to do things like pull an all nighter to get a project finished. Cortisol is the stress hormone that increases brain function and stops or slows nonessential bodily functions—digestive processes, cellular growth and the reproductive system.

Cortisol, derived from stress, is the culprit for why stress is linked to shorter menstrual periods. Cortisol can signal the brain to stop releasing reproductive hormones, interfering with ovulation and leading to shorter cycles. If cortisol levels are high and consistent enough, your menstrual cycle may stop all together.

How can I track my menstrual cycle?

You should begin tracking your menstrual cycle on the first day of your period for accurate results. You should capture when it starts and how long it lasts.

It will take several months for patterns to emerge, but you will be able to determine how regular—reminder this is a loose term—your menstrual cycle is. Knowing your menstrual cycle can also help time intercourse for conception. It should not be used to prevent pregnancy.

Does a short menstrual cycle affect fertility?

Oftentimes, menstrual cycles of less than 21 days indicate an issue with or absence of ovulation (“anovulation”). Short menstrual cycles affect fertility because if you do not ovulate, you cannot get pregnant.

Is a short menstrual cycle a cause for concern?

An abnormally short menstrual cycle may be a cause for concern if a) it’s less than 21 days long and/or b) you abruptly start having short cycles and are not approaching menopause.

When should you call your gynecologist about short menstrual cycles?

You should consult your doctor about short menstrual periods if they come on abruptly. Additionally, if you’ve always had short periods but then experience trouble getting pregnant, you should ask your doctor about it.

Why is your menstrual cycle getting shorter?

Your menstrual cycle may be getting shorter for many reasons. Menopause is the only “normal” reason that does not warrant a visit to the doctor. Other reasons include issues with ovulating and other reproductive health concerns.

Can a short menstrual cycle be a sign of pregnancy?

Getting what you think is your period early, which indicates a short menstrual cycle, could actually be an early pregnancy sign. Someone women get period-like symptoms shortly after conceiving and mistake them for their actual period.

Is it normal for menstrual cycle to change every month?

Even slight hormonal changes can affect your menstrual cycle. This is why variances in menstrual cycles, even when it seems to happen every month may still be normal.

That being said, no one but you and your doctor can make that determination. If things seem out of sync, especially if you notice a significant change in what was previously a pattern, you should consult your physician.

What causes menstrual cycle irregularities?

Menstrual cycle irregularities may be brought on by a variety of factors:

  • Stress: As discussed above, stress causes the release of hormones (adrenaline and cortisol), which can influence other “non-essential” body functions like reproductive processes
  • Extreme weight gain: Large, upward fluctuations in weight trigger the release of testosterone in the body, which can interfere with regular menstrual cycles
  • Excessive exercise: Over exercising puts stress on the body, which can impact hormone levels. If you exercise yourself to an unhealthy weight, the lack of body fat may also hinder your body from maintaining a regular menstrual cycle
  • Alcohol: Alcohol also impacts hormone levels and can put the body out of balance
  • Smoking: Cigarettes can cause irregularities in your cycle, as well as severe PMS and pain during your period as it alters levels of reproductive hormones in the body
  • Medical conditions: Serious conditions, such as PCOS and Thyroid Disease can cause significant month to month changes in your menstrual cycle

Can a short menstrual cycle cause early ovulation?

Not all woman who experience short cycles do not ovulate. Getting your period early may just be a sign of early ovulation and shorter Luteal phase, which occurs between ovulation and your period.

When do you ovulate with a short menstrual cycle?

If you ovulate and have a short cycle, you ovulate right after you period. This is why you are not guaranteed to stay childfree if you have sex during or just after your period.

What are the chances of getting pregnant with a short menstrual cycle?

Your chances of getting pregnant when you have a short menstrual cycle all depend on why your cycle is so short. It’s imperative to work with your doctor to identify the root cause.

If you naturally have a shorter cycle, getting pregnant on your own may not be a problem. But shorter cycles linked to things like stress, PCOS or Thyroid disease can make it more difficult to conceive.

Do menstrual cycles get shorter with age?

Periods generally get shorter as you approach menopause, but menstrual cycles do not necessarily change in length. It’s common for menstrual cycles to get very irregular as menopause approaches.

Are short menstrual cycles a sign of menopause?

Short or irregular menstrual cycles and periods are a common sign of menopause. If you are approaching an age when menopause usually occurs, short cycles are no cause for alarm.

However, you may want to talk to your doctor about treatment options should other menopausal symptoms come into play.

Can you prevent menstrual cycle irregularities?

Depending on the cause of your irregular cycle, they may be preventable. For example, diet and menstrual cycle are closely linked. Diets high in carbohydrates have been linked to causing irregular menstrual cycles.

Additionally, mitigating stress helps ward off irregular menstrual cycles.

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How to Track Ovulation

When do you ovulate?

Each woman’s average cycle length is slightly different, lasting anywhere from 21 to 35 days. Ovulation usually takes place 2 weeks after the first day of your period, which is also about 2 weeks before the start of your next period.

What are the signs and symptoms of ovulation?

While ovulation is not always or easily detectable, there are some signs or symptoms you may notice if you are tracking your body changes closely.

The most common sign of ovulation, which is experienced by up to 50% of women is cramping and abdominal pain in the low belly. The pain level is mild to moderate and can last anywhere from a few hours to about 48 hours.

The pain is often concentrated on one side of the low belly and is not as painful as menstrual cramps, but does have a similar sensation.

Your vaginal discharge and cervical mucus also change at the time of ovulation. As ovulation approaches, your vaginal discharge may increase and appear clear or creamy white in color 48 hours before ovulation.

Your cervical mucus also changes to aid in fertilization. During this time, it’s thinner and more slippery than other times during your cycle. It is most often compared to egg whites.

When the egg is released (ovulation) it causes a rupture, which may lead to mid-month bleeding. It will be lighter than a normal period and usually occurs as just a little bit of spotting about 2 weeks before you expect to get your period. Many women never experience mid-month spotting.

Some women also experience tender or sore breasts and a heightened sense of taste and/or smell when they are about to ovulate. These symptoms are harder to detect, but may be noticeable in conjunction with our signs.

Finally, your basal body temperature (BBT)—your lowest temperature at rest—increases slightly just before ovulation. This is arguably the most reliable sign of ovulation.

That’s why many women use BBT to track ovulation. See How do you track ovulation? below for more info.

What are the benefits of tracking ovulation?

The biggest benefit of tracking ovulation is that it helps plan sex for pregnancy. If you’ve had trouble getting pregnant even though you’ve been having unprotected sex, tracking ovulation can help you pinpoint the best times to have sex in order to conceive.

It can also highlight irregularities in your menstrual cycle that may be a signal of infertility issues and can guide a conversation with your doctor. Tracking ovulation should never be used as a birth control method.

How do you track ovulation?

Use an Ovulation Predictor Test

Ovulation Predictor Tests are available over-the-counter at most pharmacies as well as online. These tests rely on a urine sample to detect signs of ovulation.

Generally, you begin testing when you expect ovulation is near, 14 days after your last period started. Once you receive a positive result, you can expect ovulation to occur within 1–2 days.

Calculating from Your Menstrual Cycle

The length of your menstrual cycle is the time between the first day of your last period and the first day of the subsequent period. Since many women’s menstrual cycles vary in length, you should use the average length of your cycles for as long as you’ve been tracking.

You may consider using an ovulation app or one of the many available online ovulation calculators to help your track.

Ovulation occurs about 14 days prior to getting your period. That means if you cycle is the average length of 28 days, you’re fertile window is 12–14 days after getting your period.

If you have a longer cycle, say 35 days, your fertile window is 19–21 days after your period. For women with a shorter cycle, for example 21 days, 7–10 days after your period is your fertile window.

Recording Your Basal Body Temperature

As mentioned above, your BBT is the most accurate sign of ovulation. You can measure BBT using a basal body temperature thermometer, which is a special thermometer that is more precise and measures in smaller increments than a regular thermometer.

You should record your BBT every day before getting out of bed. As patterns begin to emerge, you will see a slight spike in BBT just before ovulation. After a month or two of charting BBT, you can begin trying to time sex with ovulation.

Examining Your Cervical Mucus

Glands in and around the cervix secrete cervical mucus, which works to either prevent things from entering the cervix or help sperm enter the cervix when a woman is ovulating. Hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle cause changes in the consistency of the mucus to aid in either of its tasks.

A couple days before ovulation, your cervical mucus will resemble egg whites. When you see this indicator you are in or just outside the fertile window. You will need to use your fingers to manually check your cervical mucus.

Use clean hands and get a sample from as close to the cervix as possible for the most accurate results.

Resting Pulse Rate

A 2017 study showed that resting pulse rate rose two days before ovulation. Resting pulse rates is lowest when you’re on your period and can increase as much as 2 BPM as many as five days before ovulation.

Are these methods for tracking ovulation accurate?

Methods for tracking ovulation are generally pretty accurate, especially if you are someone who experiences regular menstrual cycles. Many women choose to use multiple tracking methods, which help strengthen results for better accuracy.

What is the most accurate method to track ovulation?

Ovulation predictor tests are the most accurate method for tracking ovulation. Next to ovulation predictor tests, charting BBT is one of the most accurate methods, but also takes the most time and consistency.

When is the best time to track ovulation?

Ovulation predictor tests will come with instructions that tell you when to track for best results. If you are using the BBT tracking method, you need to take your temperature first thing in the morning before getting out of bed for the most accurate results. Other methods are not as time sensitive.

How long after ovulation are you fertile?

After you ovulate, you are still fertile for 1–2 days.

Can tracking ovulation be used to prevent pregnancy?

Ovulation tracking is nowhere near accurate enough to be used as birth control. Menstrual cycles change often and suddenly and you should never rely on self-reported patterns to prevent pregnancy.

How do you track ovulation with irregular periods?

For women with irregular periods, all tracking methods except calculating your menstrual cycle are good options to try. You may consider ovulation predictor kits as your first choice as they rely least on patterns and consistent tracking.

How do you track ovulation with PCOS?

Women with PCOS do not experience regular periods. The same tracking methods, aside from calculating menstrual cycle, can be used to detect when ovulation is coming.

When can you track ovulation after miscarriage?

Your body may ovulate as soon as two weeks after a miscarriage. However, it’s wise to at least wait until you’ve had one period before tracking ovulation and trying to get pregnant again. The most important thing during the weeks following a miscarriage is to let your body readjust.

Can you track ovulation while on birth control?

Birth control pills inhibit the body from ovulating, which is how they work to prevent pregnancy. Since birth control prevents ovulation, there is no ovulation to track if you are on the pill.

Can you track ovulation to improve your chances of having a girl or a boy?

According to the Shettles method, you can increase your chances of having a girl by timing conception 3–4 days before ovulation. If you desire a boy, time sex no more than one day before ovulation and no more than 12 hours after.

Does ovulation always happen on the exact day of calculated ovulation?

The menstrual cycle is a finicky thing that often changes without warning. Every single ovulation tracking method can get it wrong at times.

What are the chances of pregnancy when tracking ovulation?

Tracking ovulation to find your fertile window can increase your chances of getting pregnant by 30%. If a 30% chance of conceiving during the estimated fertility window doesn’t seem like a lot, just think of the 0–10% chance you have on other days of the month.

Consciously tracking ovulation can have huge affects on how quickly you conceive.

What if the tracking ovulation method does not work?

While tracking ovulation can help some couple with minor fertility issues, like irregular periods, it is not a common cure for most infertility issues. Many couples that have trouble getting pregnant need medical intervention to help them conceive.

If you are tracking ovulation and are unable to get pregnant, it’s time to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help determine what, if any, fertility issues are present in both partners and how they may be treated.