Infertility is when partners are not able to conceive a baby successfully despite having regular, unprotected intercourse for at least 12 months. Some couples are successful and can get pregnant right away, but for others, it can take longer.
If you and your partner have not been able to conceive naturally after a year of trying, it may be a good idea to see a fertility specialist.
Infertility can have many causes and may be due to an issue with either you, your partner or a collective combination of factors that prevent pregnancy. sometimes one partner cannot contribute to conception, other times a woman is unable to carry a pregnancy to full term.
It has been reported that around 1 in 7 couples may have difficulty conceiving, but many safe and effective therapies can considerably increase your chances of getting pregnant.
There are 2 types of infertility:
Issues that lead to infertility can be present from birth, or sometimes can develop later in life through different risk factors.
For a couple to get pregnant and have a successful conception, all the steps through ovulation and fertilization need to happen accurately; therefore, infertility cause can affect either one or both of the partners.
Generally, in infertility cases:
Male infertility is usually associated with the following:
A range of different, medical conditions, and medications, and risk factors can also affect fertility in men.
Risk factors associated with infertility in men include, but aren’t limited to:
Different medications and drugs can also affect male fertility, such as:
Female infertility can be caused by a variety of complications that affect or interfere with the following biological processes:
A range of different medical conditions can affect the female reproductive system and cause infertility in women.
Benign (non-cancerous) tumors in the uterine wall (also called uterine fibroids) may cause infertility by obstructing the fallopian tubes or blocking a fertilized egg from attaching itself to the uterine wall.
The causes for early menopause are largely unknown, however, specific factors such as immune system diseases, genetic disorders including Turner syndrome or carriers of Fragile X syndrome, and radiation or chemotherapy treatment, can be linked to increasing early menopause risks.
Risk factors for female infertility include:
Various medications and drugs that may cause female infertility include:
The main symptom of infertility is not being able to get pregnant after frequent unprotected sexual intercourse.
While symptoms vary, there may be no other obvious signs. For some women with infertility issues, they may have irregular or no menstrual periods.
For men, those with infertility may experience some signs of hormonal issues. These can be changes in sexual function or hair growth.
If you and your partner have been having issues with conception despite trying frequently, for at least 12 months, it may be time to visit a specialist.
Men should talk to a doctor if they have:
When visiting your doctor, they will perform a physical examination where they check your genitals for any structural abnormalities or lumps.
In addition, your specialist will take your medical history. During this time, you will be asked about your overall health, your sexual history, and factors such as medical conditions or illnesses that could affect your fertility.
A semen analysis will likely then be performed. Your doctor will ask you to provide a sample of semen. This sample will then be checked in a laboratory to see how many sperm are present and determine whether the sperm are shaped and moving properly.
Your doctor might suggest performing additional tests depending on the results of your initial semen analysis and exam.
These tests may include:
Women should talk to a doctor earlier if they:
A woman’s fertility begins to decrease after the age of 30. Women under 35 should visit a doctor after one year of trying to get pregnant while women 35 and over should visit a doctor after 6 months of trying.
For your consult, your doctor will first take your full medical history. They will ask about the current state of your health, your sexual history, and any medical conditions or illnesses that could result in infertility.
After that, your doctor will examine your pelvic area to check for any abnormalities such as fibroids or conditions such as endometriosis or PID.
To determine whether you are ovulating every month, your specialist will test you’re your blood at the office. This can also be done through an at-home ovulation testing kit.
Your doctor may also perform an ultrasound to evaluate the ovaries and uterus.
Some other common tests for women include:
The type of treatment that’s recommended by your doctor will depend on a range of different factors, including:
Male infertility can be treated in a variety of ways, depending on the cause. Treatment options for men can include surgery, medication, and assisted reproductive technology (ART).
Surgery can fix complications and blockages that are preventing sperm from being present in the ejaculate. It can also correct conditions such as varicocele.
Medications can be used to treat conditions that can affect male fertility, such as erectile dysfunction (ED) or infections that affect sperm count. They can also treat other problems relating to infertility such as hormonal imbalances.
ART refers to treatments in which eggs and sperm are handled outside of the body. It can include treatments such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Sperm for ART treatments can be received from ejaculate, direct extraction from the testicles, or a donor.
The treatment for female infertility can also involve surgery, medication, and reproductive assistance such as ART. Sometimes several types of treatment are needed to help address female infertility.
Surgery can improve fertility by:
Although surgery can sometimes be used to treat female infertility, it has become rarer now due to advancements in other fertility treatments.
Reproductive assistance can involve methods such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – where millions of sperm are injected into a woman’s uterus near the time of ovulation, and ART.
IVF is one type of ART that is done by removing the eggs from the female, and then fertilizing them with a man’s sperm in a laboratory. After fertilization, the embryo(the mix of egg and sperm) is placed back into the uterus.
The medications used to treat female infertility work like the hormones that are naturally present in the body, to encourage or regulate ovulation.
Some types of infertility aren’t preventable, however, several measures and strategies can improve your chances of pregnancy.
For women, several factors can improve the chances of becoming pregnant:
Being diagnosed with infertility can be emotionally draining, both for you and for your partner. However, it doesn’t mean that your dreams of having a child have come to an end.
It may take some time, but several couples who experience infertility will eventually be able to conceive a child and carry a full-term pregnancy. Some will do so on their own, while others will need medical assistance.
Depending on the cause of infertility, or your personal preferences, you can decide whether you want to undergo any specific treatments, Including frozen embryo transfers, IVF, IUI, etc.
You can choose the best infertility treatment plans we offer.
Also if you are undecided and have doubts or questions about your condition and/or treatment, you can always ask our experts for a free medical consultation.