Fertility awareness constitutes fundamental knowledge for every woman and is an important tool for health professionals. The objective of this review is to show how fertility awareness can be useful in the assessment of a woman’s health. The main techniques for detecting ovulation are explained, and then the events that characterize a normal menstrual cycle are discussed. The relevance of cervical mucus from the perspective of female fertility is highlighted. Finally, the usefulness of fertility awareness 1) to identify fertile and infertile periods, 2) to help to detect several pathologies, and 3) in regards to how it exerts an important role in the success of programs in education for affectivity and sexuality are discussed.
Science of Fertility
The life of a new organism of the human species starts at the moment of fertilization. This is when the sperm and oocyte plasma membranes fuse. The ovarian continuum begins at fertilization, when the zygote starts its development.
Until now, a biological dogma has been that all sex differences in the brain arise from differences in the gonadal secretions. It has recently been demonstrated that the whole genome of males and females seems to be different; not only are the sexual chromosomes different, but also autosomes have a major role in sexual differentiation. For our purposes this will be very important to keep in mind, because during this
lecture I would like to invite you to look at ourselves the way we were created. I would also like to invite you to look at the many instances by which this creation can be distorted.
The title of this presentation contains two words which we must discuss a little, namely Fertility and Awareness. In the present context the word Fertility means the capacity to produce offspring. This capacity is, as we know, different for women and men. In a broad sense women have a cyclically varying fertility from puberty to menopause, while men are fertile from puberty onwards for the rest of their lives. The Fertility which is the subject for this presentation is mainly the normal cyclically varying capacity to conceive in women. To be fertile a woman has to have a mature egg cell available for conception and implantation, and hopefully carry the offspring until delivery. The other word, Awareness, means that a woman can know when she possesses this capacity. Human beings have existed for a long time, andwe may speculate that perhaps people have once had some natural feelings about the fertile periods in women. We know nothing about this in prehistoric and early historical time, and when people started to write in early times, this was probably restrictedto men only. Who has heard about a woman Hippocrata or a woman Aristotela?