Posted August 23, 2011on:
Every husband and wife need to understand the ovulation process that occur every month in a woman’s body. Unfortunately, in some women, ovulation does not occur every month and for a case like this the aid from infertility centre will be crucial. This chapter will explain in detail about ovulation. I am not going to go through all the scientific process of the ovulation, just some bits of information from here and there that I think is important.
When a baby girl is born, she already has million of ovarian follicles that contained the immature eggs. After the girl reach puberty, only a few thousands of follicles are left to develop mature eggs. The menstrual and ovulation cycle begin when a hormone released during the menstrual cycle and tell the body to start with the egg maturation process.
This is a nice photo of ovulation process that was captured by chance during a hysterectomy performed by Gynaecologist Dr Jacques Donnez (website source: http://believe-or-not.blogspot.com).
This findings were published in New Scientist magazine, and described as “fascinating” by a UK fertility specialist.
Dr Jacques Donnez said that some theories had suggested an “explosive” release for the egg, but the ovulation process that he witnessed took about 15 minutes to complete.
When do you ovulate?
Ovulation is the process in a female’s menstrual cycle by which a mature ovarian follicle ruptures and discharges an ovum (other known terms are oocyte, female gamete) or casually an egg. The time immediately surrounding ovulation is referred to as the ovulatory phase or the periovulatory period.
I use to believe that the ovaries will take turns ovulating. I’ve read from an article online that sometimes you can always ovulate from one ovary. Thinking back to my ovulation period, I did most of the time experienced ovulation pain only from one side. The ovary that will take turn to release the egg for each month depends on the dominant follicle during that time.
When the egg is released from the ovary, it will travel through the fallopian tube. The fallopian tubes are a dynamic organ where they have finger-like structures known as “Fimbria” on each of their ends. During ovulation, the fimbria closest to the producing ovary will be activated and hover around the ovary to find the active follicle. The released mature egg then sucked into the fallopian tube to meet the sperms where fertilization will take place.
After the mature egg is released, it will be viable for fertilization from 12-24 hours. During this time the lining of the uterus thickened, getting ready to receive the fertilized egg. If the matured egg is not fertilized, the uterus lining will shed and the woman’s body will experience the first day of menstruation cycle.
Ovulation occurs 14 days before the first day of the next menstruation cycle. For example, for a woman who has 28 days cycle, she will probably ovulate on the 14th cycle day. Another example, if a woman has 31 days cycle, her calculated ovulation day will be on the 18th cycle day. That is the reason why I use the ovulation prediction kit (OPK) to determine my ovulation day. My menstruation cycle is a 26 days cycle and surprisingly sometimes I ovulate on the 10th cycle day and sometimes on the 15th cycle day. I really appreciate the invention of the OPK for me to find out my fertile windows. And I believe every woman who are trying to conceive should have this routine every month.
The image from below, taken from the website http://php.med.unsw.edu.au shows the process of ovulation, conception and implantation within 2 weeks time.
Sign of ovulation
From my experience, the sign of ovulation is very simple and easy to detect;
- Increase in cervical mucus
- Increase in libido
- Ovulation pain
Once I notice the increase in cervical mucus, I will start to test to detect the ovulation day using the OPK. Usually the test line getting darker as the mucus amount gets heavier each day. And when the mucus dried up, I will get a negative test result on the OPK. From these results, I calculated the fertile time frame from the day I started to have increase in cervical mucus with positive OPK test and to the day the mucus dried up with negative OPK.
Increase in libido is crucial during this period of time since a woman need to be in the “mood” to ensure a successful fertilization. A woman who is under stress and is not in the best of mood to perform the sexual activity will be less likely to get conceived. The same goes to the partner. Both party should be relaxed, enjoy it and do not think of it as one task of “baby-making” since this will only increase the stress. Feeling stress will cause the brain to send signal to the body that the body is not ready for a baby and cause the couple to fail getting conceived.
Sometimes, I will experience the ovulation pain that followed by a fever and migraine. And this sign means no good for me, since it will decrease my “mood” and less likely to enjoy my time or totally wasted my mature egg of the month by abandoning the “baby-making” session.
But not all woman are lucky too have a clear sign as mentioned above. And indeed calculated ovulation and OPK test can help to determine the fertile window of the month. Another method is by taking the body basal temperature where you will need to chart your temperature daily. By monitoring the temperature trend you will be able to determine the fertile window. But I do not have any experience on this and would not be able to advice more.
Ovulation Calculator and Test Kit
There are a number of free ovulation calculator online. All along I’ve been using the Ovulation Calendar from www.babyhopes.com and a Period Tracking on my mobile. The reason for me to choose this website is, the calculated ovulation and next period is almost accurate and I love the calculated date for “boy” or “girl”. I will explain more in detail in another chapter (Baby Boy or Baby Girl?) about the way they calculate the date that help to determine the baby gender.
All this while, I’ve been using the Ovulation Prediction Kit (OPK) from www.early-pregnancy-tests.com. The test is very easy to perform and been using it for almost a year now and so far I did not encounter any test strip defect.
The test strip like most OPK(s) will detect the most fertile time of the month. The OPK is design to detect the Luteinizing hormone (LH) surge in your urine. The Luteinizing hormone in an elevated amount will trigger ovulation process where the egg release from the ovary. In the middle of a menstrual cycle, as discussed above is the ovulation phase, the hormone will suddenly increase and the OPK is specifically designed to detect this surge (known as LH Surge). A successful conception is most likely to occur within 36 hours post LH surge. More details about conception is in the Conception chapter. And I share my gallery of positive OPK in My Story.