fertility tracking with basal body temperature thermometers
Image: https://www.popsci.com/natural-cycles-contraception-app/

Fertility tracking is one of the most important things you can investigate when the time comes for you to start a family. While a man has a relatively even fertility from day to day (declining over the course of his whole life and affected by environmental factors like disease or smoking), a woman’s varies over the course of a month, or rather, over the course a menstrual cycle.

What you’re looking for is the fertile window: the span of days in each cycle when the average lifespan of sperm after ejaculation crosses over with the average fertile lifespan of an egg after ovulation. It’s during your fertile that you have the greatest chance of conceiving naturally, and its when you are furthest from it that you stand the last chance – or no chance at all!

The key to identifying your fertile window is finding when you ovulate. It’s obviously that ‘anchors’ your fertility for the month – if there’s no recently (or soon to be) ovulated egg, there’s nothing for sperm to fertilise. It’s not easy to do, but fortunately modern technology can help.

Ovulation Predictor Kits

Ovulation Predictor Kits or OPKs have been a valuable tool for parents-to-be for a long time, but they’ve become more sophisticated in recent years. Originally similar to pregnancy tests, with a result showing on a colour changing strip, a modern advanced fertility monitor based on the OPK principle is much more sophisticated. Even the basic modern versions will provide a digital readout, to avoid mistakes in interpretation. Advanced models will record your hormone levels over time, getting to know your personal hormonal backdrop to provide better results more tailored to you.

Basal Body Temperature Thermometers

Charting your basal body temperature is a fertility tracking method that’s been in use for decades, if not centuries. Taking a read of your core temperature first thing in the morning shows your basal temperature, which changes in response to your menstrual cycle. Looking for a drop of a tenth of a degree followed by a sustained, three day rise reveals that your body is ovulating.

Technology has made this method much less trouble to get accurate results and boosted it’s efficacy. Basal Body Temperature sensors can now work automatically, getting readings right through the night and processing them automatically into predictions of when your next fertile window will fall.

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