Fertility in a woman refers to her ability to ovulate and beget offspring, which is technically possible when her eggs are fertilized by her partner’s sperm. While this is a natural process, some instances predispose women to become excessively fertile, whereas others render her to become extremely infertile. Since both these scenarios happen to be “out-of-box” occurrences, they indeed demand to be addressed appropriately to protect a woman from the consequences imposed by these two extremely opposite conditions, i.e., fertility and infertility. Having stated all of these, the current article has thus chosen to focus on the factors that lead to excessive fertility in women. It will begin by primarily examining the signs and characteristics that indicate this condition, while also considering the importance of comprehending the physiological attributes of this condition. It also serves to address the consequences of increased fertility in women.
Understanding High Fertility in Women and its Signs
It has been understood that high antral follicles are one of the major signs denoting excessive fertility in women. However, one should realize that such a sign otherwise indicates that her reproductive health is good enough to convey that her reproductive organs are functioning adequately.
Interestingly, the stage at which a girl attains her puberty or menarche is that which marks her capability to become fertile as she advances to her childbearing age later in life.
Here, you must also understand that babies who are assigned female at birth (AFAB) have a million thousand eggs in their ovaries, and these eggs become active during puberty, specifically when they start to menstruate. While the ovaries themselves trigger the onset of menstruation by releasing an egg or ovum every month, there are instances where they release more than one or two eggs simultaneously.
This phenomenon, known as hyperovulation or multiple ovulation, occurs when either one or both of the ovaries release eggs or ova simultaneously. When a woman hyperovulates, this increases her chances of getting pregnant with multiple babies, either twins, triplets, quadruplets, or even more!
The statements provided above are enough to make anyone infer that high antral follicles, regular menstrual cycles, and hyperovulation account for excessive fertility in a woman.
Factors Driving Excessive Fertility in Women
Considering that high fertility increases the chances for women to become fertile by 60% or above, researchers have found it reasonable to identify the factors that actively drive or influence the increased fertility in women. With that said, it’s worth mentioning here that genes and environmental factors mostly play a significant role in causing hyperfertility in women. While the former involves a history of multiple pregnancies running in a family, the latter is inclusive of age, ethnic background, past pregnancy, height and weight, breastfeeding, diet, fertility medication intakes, stopping birth control pills (or measures), and assisted reproductive technology to list a few.
History of Multiple Pregnancies in Family
If a woman presents with a history of multiple pregnancies in her babies, this highly subjects her to either become pregnant with multiple babies or conceive more than twice.
It has been generally noted that women over 30 possess a fair chance of becoming pregnant with twins.
Women belonging to a particular ethnic community, i.e., those classified based on their skin color, are likely to beget twins. Of note, women from Asia and Native America are the ones to have increased fertility.
The likelihood of a woman attaining multiple pregnancies is higher if she has had the same in the past.
Height and Weight
It has been understood that taller women, say above 165.8 cm, have a higher likelihood of becoming pregnant with twins. Considering the weight, those with a BMI of more than 30 increase their odds of acquiring multiple pregnancies (again, bearing twins). Breastfeeding: Women who breastfeed when conceiving increase their likelihood of having twins by 11.4%.
Consuming dairy products in excess increases the possibility for a woman to become pregnant with twins.
It has been learned that taking fertility medications for stimulating/improving ovulation can result in the release of more than one egg, further making a woman attain multiple pregnancies.
Stopping Contraceptives (Birth Control)
A woman tends to produce/release more eggs once she has stopped the contraceptive measures.
Assistive Reproductive Technology
Techniques, such as embryo transfer facilitated by the IVF procedure/es are likely to result in the transfer of more than one embryo into a womb to increase the likelihood/success rate of implantation.
Consequences of High Fertility in Women
While a high fertility rate significantly increases a woman’s capability of becoming pregnant with a single baby, twins, triplets, or more, or repeat pregnancy carries individual, social, and economic implications.
Individual: Women presenting with increased fertility expose them to severe health issues, also causing death. Moreover, sources have also mentioned that shorter inter-pregnancy intervals (less than six months) place a woman at higher risks of acquiring severe anemia, third-trimester bleeding, premature membrane rupture, puerperal endometritis (decidual infection) affecting all uterine layers, and last, but not the least, maternal death.
Social: Multiple births in a family worsen unemployment-related issues.
Economic: A family with multiple children limits them to invest far little for every child.
Addressing the Consequences of High Fertility
Based on the consequences listed above related to high fertility rates in women, where these present as individual, social, and economic implications, addressing the same has included improving the education system, introducing and promoting low fertility policies in communities/societies with high fertility rates, and extending the availability of contraceptive products.
Education: Though education has been contemplated as a likely measure to limit fertility in women, the effectiveness of the same stays limited due to the lack of conclusive evidence.
Promoting Low Fertility Policies: Raising the age of marriage, and age at first births, and also increasing the spacing between two childbirths, and availing equal accessibility of modern contraceptive methods to countries and communities will help reduce fertility rates to the desired level.
Extending the Availability of Contraceptive Methods: Women of reproductive age can try contraceptive methods to help reduce their chances of fertility during ovulation. If all these prove ineffective, can consider measures such as tubal ligation that will permanently resolve issues associated with high fertility.
The current article discussed the signs of high fertility in women, which included high antral follicles, regular menstruation, and hyperovulation. It also explained the physiology of the condition as involving the release of more than one egg during ovulation, either from one of the ovaries or each from both ovaries, causing increased fertility. Additionally, factors leading to excessive fertility in women were discussed (see the factors section), highlighting the consequences with measures to address the same.