Conception (on a budget)

ovulation prediction kit

The Chefs Wife Guide:
(on a Budget)

Once upon a time, in a not-so-far-away land a happily married, success-bound couple decided to expand their brood. They had all the love and joy in the world and overall had been quite blessed.

Little did they know they would soon face challenges…

In 2002:

  • 11.9% or 7.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 years of age have received some sort of infertility services.
  • 6.1% have received professional advice.
  • 5.5% of women have received some sort of medical help to prevent a miscarriage.
  • 4.8% have undergone a fertility test.
  • 3.8% of women have received ovulation drugs.
  • 1.1% of women have received artificial insemination.
  • 11.8% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 years of age have impaired fecundity which means they not only have problems getting pregnant, they have problems carrying a baby to term.

Find out more about fertility statistics or see where this information is from.

The happily married, success-bound couple came to an obstacle that absolutely baffled them. They had some testing done at the local fertility clinic only to find that both the king and queen where in perfect fertile  health. The fertility specialist said “Well, happily married, success -bound couple, it seems to me that your timing is a bit off” and sent them on their way.

The happily married, success-bound couple rode home in their Cadillac of pumpkin carriages in silence with only one thought looping through their minds: “What ever shall we do now?!”

Being in a relationship with someone who has a career in the restaurant industry makes trying to conceive even more challenging than it has to be. Since I began my research on the topic I have come to know nearly a baker’s dozen worth of other couples in this same predicament. I’ve compiled months of research into this mini guide in hopes it will help you figure this stuff out.

  1. Know Your Cycle For some its as easy as marking your calendar on the day you start your period. Do this three consecutive months in a row to get the average length of your cycle. (Count the days between each start date, add them up and divide by 3. Easy, right?) You’ll want to know this information so you can know when to expect your period and so that you can figure out how many days into your cycle you ovulate.

    There are many helpful websites to help you keep track of all this information and will even give you an estimate of when you might ovulate. I’ve tried a few of these sites on for size and this one is by far my  favorite (it will even send alerts to your email!).

    Pick Your Poison There are so many fertility aids and tools to choose from ranging in price from the soda-pop equivalent to a supreme-o cable service package. I love a good bargain, so for me, the cheapest product was a good place to start. Options include:-

    1. Fertility Kits – Some websites that sell individual ovulation and pregnancy tests put just the right amount of each product into a package for you. You end up getting a discount for buying the kit as opposed to ordering individually. A three-month supply is about $15 and this site and this site both offer free shipping.-
    2. Teas, Vitamins & Pre-Seed FertilAid makes a pre-conception tea called FertiliTea ($14) as well as other pre-conception vitamins for men and women. These include a product for increasing libido, healthy mucus and other natural ingredients to promote fertility. Vitamin products vary in cost but average about $30 each. Pre-Seed is a moisturizing lubricant that is deemed safe for sperm. Depending on quantity you’re looking at $20 – $58.
    3. Basal Temperature – Taking your temperature every single day, as soon as you wake up but before you get out of bed is said to reveal when you’re ovulating based on when your temperature increases by 0.4 to 1 degree. This is a very slight change, so you won’t feel the shift within your body but it can be detected if you are taking (and recording) your BBT (basal body temperature) daily. A digital thermometer ($4 – $12) will do the trick.
    4. Ovulation Tests – Look just like a pregnancy test only they indicate ovulation not pregnancy. These vary in price from less than $1 to $25+ depending on if you get them in bulk, online or a dip strip (dip the tip of the test in your urine sample vs. holding the absorbent tip mid-stream as you urine).
    5. Cycle Beads – I know some women who swear by their beads. This method strikes me as tedious as I would likely forget to move the little band over each day. It’s easy enough though, there are enough beads on your necklace to complete your cycle. There is a red bead (marking the first day of your period) followed by several brown beads, then some white beads (marking your most fertile days) and then followed by several more brown beads. All you do is move an elastic band (or other clever bead marker thing) each day. This method does not work for everyone though. If your cycles are typically longer or shorter than normal  (28-30 days) this may not work unless you adjust the number of beads. Some folks even use this method to prevent pregnancy simply by refraining from baby-making activities during the fertile days. (The concept is also used for counting calories each day…) These are priced between $8 – $14.
    6. Chart It Now that you have the tools you need, put them to use. Grab a notebook and number the page starting at one, going all the way down the page, for as many lines as your cycle is long. (Mine is 31 days, so my notebook is numbered 1 – 31; a number on each line.) If you’re not into notebooks, you can use a calendar or the calendar with notes and charting capabilities on this free cycle charting site. Now, just keep track of your results.
    7. Get Down to the Get Down! Do you really need an explanation for this one?
    8. Wait and See This is what many of you might know of as “the two-week-wait”. It’s absolutely agonizing but it must be done. Remember not to test for pregnancy too early because you might get a BFN (big fat negative)  simply because there pregnancy hormone (HCG) wasn’t detectable. If you really want to save some money on pregnancy tests, wait until the day after your period is supposed to start to test.

      Finally, here are some miscellaneous tips from fertility experts that you might find helpful:

      Sperm: Quality over quantity. Having intercourse every other day during your window of fertility instead every day and/or several times a day.
      Pelvis: Elevate your pelvis to keep swimmers going in the right direction. You can achieve this by placing a couple pillows or a rolled beach towel beneath your buns as you lie on your back for about 20 minutes.
      Don’t Get Up: At the risk of sounding redundant, stay laying down. Think about gravity, ladies. Where will all those swimmers go when you stand up?
      Cool Down, Fellas: You’ve heard Chef Gordon Ramsay talk about his infertility, yes? He claims its because of the heat and there actually is some truth behind the matter. You could try this to help keep yourself cool. If that doesn’t work, well, as the saying goes: If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

      Lastly, I suggest coming up with a Get Down To The Get Down code word. This might be helpful if either you  or your partner get a little anxious or you just don’t want to sound corny trying to come up with some seductive come hither line.

      Hopefully this will help you get started on your way to conceiving on a budget. Of course, there are still  many, many more options, tools and techniques including body awareness. All of these things as well as paying attention to and tracking your body’s subtle changes can help you put all of the pieces together.

      Happy baby-makin’!


    9. Angie Leeks is a professional pregnancy and labor support person (Doula). She runs her business, Doulaville Birth Services, from her Seattle home while raising her children, (trying to conceive again) and being a loving, supportive Chef’s Wife.