Health Women's Health

Fertility 101: The Options For Family Planning You Need To Know

What is fertility? Fertility is the ability to conceive and have a child. Several factors, including age, sex, overall health, and lifestyle choices, influence it.

How Does Fertility Work

For a woman to conceive, an egg must be fertilized by a sperm. This can happen naturally during sexual intercourse or through assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the like.

Once an egg is fertilized, it implants in the uterus lining and grows into a baby. Pregnancy lasts for about 40 weeks, after which the baby is born.

What Are The Different Factors That Can Affect Fertility

Several factors can affect fertility, including:

  • Age: It’s said that fertility naturally declines with age, especially for women.
  • Overall health: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), can affect a person’s fertility.
  • Lifestyle choices: Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug use can all reduce an individual’s fertility.

Family Planning 101

If fertility is being discussed, avoiding the subject of family planning is impossible.

What’s family planning? Family planning is the process wherein a couple is in discussion with one another about the matter of how many children they want, how frequently they can accommodate a pregnancy, and the like through the use of various methods like the abortion pill and so on.

What Are The Various Options Available For Family Planning

There are several options available for family planning, both natural and assisted. Check them out below.

  • Natural Methods

Natural family planning methods involve tracking your menstrual cycle to identify your fertile days. You can then choose to avoid sexual intercourse or use a barrier method of contraception, such as condoms or diaphragms. 

In case you’re unable to monitor your menstrual cycle diligently, you can avail yourself of other methods like taking the abortion pill. Do keep in mind the potential effects that it can pose on your health.

  • Assisted Methods

Assisted methods of family planning include:

  • Intrauterine Devices (IUDs): IUDs are small devices that are inserted into the uterus and can prevent pregnancy for several years.
  • Hormonal Contraception: Hormonal contraception includes birth control pills, patches, and injections. These methods work by preventing ovulation or thickening the cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to reach the egg.
  • Sterilization: Sterilization is a surgical procedure that can be performed on men or women to prevent pregnancy permanently. Before the procedure, an individual is subjected to numerous counseling sessions to make them fully understand the effects of sterilization.
  • Diaphragm: A diaphragm is a device that’s inserted inside a woman’s vagina to avoid pregnancy. It works by blocking sperm from traveling further down a female’s cervix to meet a fertile egg. Experts recommend using a spermicide product alongside a diaphragm for a higher success rate.
  • Spermicide: A spermicide is any product that’s intended to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. They work by preventing the sperm from getting to a fertilized egg. Family planning experts generally recommend using spermicide alongside other forms of family planning, like condoms and diaphragms. Spermicides are over-the-counter products that can be easily obtained in pharmacies.
Condoms in hand on a blue background

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)

ART can be used to help couples who are having difficulty conceiving naturally. ART includes procedures such as IVF, intrauterine insemination (IUI), and egg donation.

IVF is a procedure where a woman’s fertilized ovum is harvested out of their ovaries so that it can be fertilized by a sperm in a culture medium in a highly supervised and strictly monitored laboratory. Meanwhile, IUI, or also known as artificial insemination, is the process wherein sperm is directly inserted in a female’s uterus so that it can meet with a fertile egg. Lastly, egg donation is the process where a woman gives their egg to another woman who’s unable to get pregnant.  

Abortion Pills

Abortion pills are a medication that can be used to end a pregnancy early. They’re safe and effective when used as directed.

How Do Abortion Pills Work

Abortion pills work by blocking the production of a hormone called progesterone, which is needed to maintain a pregnancy. Without progesterone, the pregnancy will come to an end.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Abortion Pills

Abortion pills are a safe and effective way to end an early pregnancy. In addition, they’re private and convenient and can be taken at home.

What are the risks of using abortion pills? The risks of using abortion pills are very low. Some people may experience mild side effects, such as bleeding, cramping, and nausea.

If you’re considering using abortion pills, it’s essential to talk to a healthcare provider to discuss your options and make sure that abortion pills are right for you.

Which Family Planning Option Is Right For You

The best option for family planning for you will depend on your individual circumstances and preferences. It’s important to talk to a healthcare provider to discuss your choices and choose the one that’s right for you. 

Furthermore, make sure that you keep an open line of communication with your partner and discuss the subject of family planning and the options both of you can try exploring.

In Conclusion

Fertility is a complex topic, and there’s a lot of information to learn. It’s important to talk to a healthcare provider to understand your individual fertility and family planning options. With the right information and support, you can make the best decisions for yourself and your future family.

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