When you are planning for a baby and you leave everything to chance most healthy couples will conceive naturally i.e. about 70% of women get pregnant within 6 months of trying to conceive.1
For fertile couples the probability of getting pregnant is 20% in any given cycle. Clinical studies have shown that 73% of women that aren’t pregnant after 6 months go on to conceive within the next 18 months. By 30 months this has risen to 77%.
This means a potentially long and frustrating wait, not knowing whether anything is wrong and in most cases not getting the information you need.
Am I Ovulating?
We do understand a lot about ourselves and our body, for example we are born with a fixed number of eggs we have for life and that fertility declines naturally with age. What we often don´t understand though is our menstrual cycle and the hormones that are responsible for ovulation and a natural conception. Ovulation is when your ovary releases a mature egg. Knowing when you are about to ovulate will improve your chances of a natural pregnancy.
There are only a few days in your cycle when you are most fertile. Monitoring your fertility hormones and understanding this fertile phase can be important to improving your time to pregnancy. Whilst the average cycle length is 28 days, 95% of women fall between 22 and 36 days. 42.5% of these experience cycle length differences greater than 7 days.2 Only 30% of women have all their fertile days within the clinical guideline between day 10 and 17.4 The timing of the fertile window can therefore be highly unpredictable, even if you have regular cycles. This high variability makes it important to understand what is happening in your body.
Finding Your Fertile Phase
Your fertile phase lasts about 6 days and ends on the day of ovulation, taking into account the survival times of both the sperm and the egg.3,4,5 Studies show a rapid drop in the likelihood of conception after ovulation, which suggests a short survival time for the mature egg.3 As the day of ovulation can vary from cycle to cycle and is different from woman to woman, accurate information is required to track your fertile days. This can be done by measuring the changes in your fertility hormones.
The role of Luteinising Hormone (LH) in your fertility journey
One of your key fertility hormones is the Luteinising Hormone (LH), which is the most reliable indicator of impending ovulation. LH is present in your body at a certain base level, measured in milli-international units per milliliter (mIU/mL). The median average premenopausal LH base levels in women are about 5-20 mIU/mL. Just before ovulation there is a rise of LH (called the ‘LH surge’), which can be detected in urine tests and is indicative of imminent ovulation. The LH surge can be quite different from woman to woman, it can vary from twice the base level to as much as 10 times the base level or more. The LH surge triggers ovulation, which usually occurs approximately 24-48 hours later. The day of the LH surge and the day after are your two most fertile days in your cycle. If you have unprotected intercourse within your most fertile days you maximise your chances of becoming pregnant.
If it is that easy, why do many women still have problems identifying their fertile days? Studies show that there are variations in the range of LH concentrations in women, many women have an LH base level that is above or below the normal range. There are also huge variations of the individual LH surges and their profiles. 19% have a small LH peak.6 The average LH curve profile, which is a flat baseline with a sharp single-LH peak going back to baseline is only observed in 44% of the cycles in normally ovulating women.6 Traditional tests only provide qualitative results, i.e. they compare two lines in a urine test or indicate a ‘smiley face’ or ‘no smiley face’ which means that many women would not be able to pick up their LH surge nor their different hormonal profiles, as the threshold of these tests are based on an average woman’s data.
myLotus provides a new assessment of your cycle by measuring the LH hormone concentration levels to enable you to identify your fertile days even if your LH base level is above or below the normal range. It also allows you to assess your LH hormonal profile where it differs from the mean profile.
myLotus – tracking your fertility journey
1 S.Juul et al., Regional differences in waiting time to pregnancy: pregnancy-based surveys from Denmark, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden; Human Reproduction vol14 no5: 1250-1254, 1999.
2 Fehring et al., Variability in the phases of the menstrual cycle; JOGNN 2006.
3 Wilcox et al., Timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation; NEJM 1995.
4 Wilcox et al., Timing of the „fertile window“ in the menstrual cycle: day specific estimates from a prospective study; BMJ Volume 321, 2000.
5 Dunson et al., Day-specific probabilities of clinical pregnancy based on two studies with imperfect measures of ovulation; Human Reproduction 1999.
6 Alliende et al., Mean versus individual hormonal profiles in the menstrual cycle; Fertility and Sterility 2002.