ConceiveOnline: What is the most misunderstood thing about infertility or fertility, in your experience?
Toni Weschler: The myth that women ovulate on Day 14. That one myth alone is responsible for more unplanned pregnancies, as well as couples not getting pregnant when they desire and often thinking that they have an infertility problem. In reality, women are not Barbie dolls who are so regular that they can anticipate the day they will ovulate with complete regularity. Women’s cycles vary among each other, and often within each woman herself. And one of the easiest, least invasive ways to identify when that day will be is to chart cervical fluid. As a woman approaches ovulation, her cervical fluid will become wetter and wetter, ideally reaching a slippery and often stretchy quality just before ovulation. So by timing intercourse on those wet and slippery days (rather than just focusing on Day 14, which may or may not be accurate that cycle), a couple is more likely to conceive.
ConceiveOnline: What’s the best piece of advice you offer women and couples trying to have a baby?
Toni Weschler: Chart your two primary fertility signs (cervical fluid and waking temperature) and time intercourse properly for 6 months, being sure to have sex on your Peak Day, the last day of slippery or clear cervical fluid. If you have not gotten pregnant by then, there is no need to wait the standard year.
ConceiveOnline: If you could change one thing about how fertility/infertility is viewed, researched, treated, paid for, discussed, etc. – what would it be?
Toni Weschler: Educate teen girls about fertility when they are in high school! If I could stand on my soapbox in the middle of Manhattan, I would scream to high school educators to require a class in fertility awareness along with math and history -- NOT so that they can use the method as a form of birth control, but so that teens would grow up with a point of reference that would allow them to make informed choices throughout their reproductive lives.
Toni Weschler, M.P.H., is a women’s health educator and the author of the groundbreaking bestseller, Taking Charge of Your Fertility and a book for teen girls, Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen's Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body. You can learn more about Toni at TCOYF.com.