An Introduction to Female Fertility

How much do you really know about female fertility, menstrual cycles, and conception? Join us to learn more with Dr. Joyce Harper, a Professor of Reproductive Science at the Institute for Women’s Health, University College London, and the head of the Reproductive Science and Society Group. She is the author of Your Fertile Years.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Understanding the menstrual cycle
  • Understanding the basic of conception
  • Predicting ovulation
  • Basics of Infertility
    • How is infertility defined?
    • How common is it?
      • % female, % male, % unknown?
    • What conditions would warrant an immediate infertility workup without waiting the recommended amount of time?
      • Absence of or irregular menstrual cycle
      • Known or suspected uterine, tubal, or peritoneal disease or sexually transmitted disease
      • Stage III or stage IV endometriosis
      • Known or suspected male infertility
      • Surgery on female reproductive tract
      • Fibroids
      • Mumps in male partner
      • Testicular issues in male partner
      • Thyroid issues
    • Recurrent pregnancy loss defined
  • What percentage of infertility is caused by the female partner, the male partner, or both?
  • What causes a woman to not ovulate?
    • Age
    • Hormonal irregularities
    • PCOS
    • Endocrine abnormalities
    • Thyroid disorders
    • Body weight
  • Initial workup for women who meet the definition of infertility
    • Essential components of an initial workup.
      • What questions should be asked about medical history that would be relevant to the potential etiologies of infertility?
      • What should be the focus in the physical exam?
      • What tests are commonly used to determine ovarian reserve, ovulatory function, and structural abnormalities?
    • Imaging of the female reproductive organs.
    • What imagining is usually recommended to detect tubal patency and pelvic pathology and assess ovarian reserve?
  • Workup for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
  • Treatment Options for Infertility 
    • Understanding the basics of fertility medications
      • Medications
      • How are they administered
    • IUI & IVF
  • How does the infertility workup differ for the LGBTQ+ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Non-binary, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and Gender Nonconforming Individuals)? 

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: cottonbro studio