Infertility Meaning and How to Treat It
Building your family is an exciting and promising time in your life. Looking around it seems like it would be easy to get pregnant but it turns out that many couples have difficulties getting pregnant. There are more people who have trouble getting pregnant than it seems and even more who struggle with a diagnosis of infertility. Official statistics show that in the United States alone, around 9% of men and 11% of women struggle with fertility problems. Many of them don’t know how to recognize signs of infertility, and they suffer emotionally and in their relationships when they cannot seem to get pregnant.
Knowing what infertility is and how to go about treating it is important if you are having difficulties building your family. Understanding the details of infertility and what options you have to overcome it will aid in maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner and with yourself.
The definition of infertility is one year of unprotected intercourse without a conception. A woman’s age is one of the most important factors contributing to infertility; younger women are more fertile. For women, the chances of getting pregnant with age, especially after 35 years old, decreases. For men, sperm quality is also affected by age, although the decline in fertility is much slower than in women.
When it comes to infertility, there are fertility doctors that specialize in diagnosing infertility. After a couple has been trying for over a year (or 6 months if over 35) they will recommend fertility testing to help determine the cause and possible treatments.
A fertility doctor will begin checking for infertility with a few tests. The quickest and easiest test is to check for Male factor infertility which is usually determined by a semen analysis. In a semen analysis, sperm is looked at under a microscope to see if the total sperm count is too low, if the sperm are not moving well, or if the sperm look abnormal.
Female infertility tests are more extensive and multiple tests may have to be done in order to fully understand what fertility issues a couple may be facing. Female fertility testing includes an evaluation of the ovaries. The first part of that evaluation is a blood test to look at the ovarian hormone levels two or three days after a menstrual cycle begins. Other blood tests may also be done to see if there are any underlying conditions that might be affecting fertility.
The second part of the ovarian evaluation is an ultrasound. This ultrasound accomplishes several things that can paint a fuller picture of female fertility. It allows your doctor to count the number of eggs that are in the ovaries during that month as well as look at the uterus to see if there are any irregularities or growths.
Finally, in order to determine if the fallopian tubes are open, a hysterosalpingogram is done. This is a procedure in which a non-toxic and safe dye is placed into the uterus and fallopian tubes to make sure there is a clear path for an egg to travel through.
Lifestyle and Infertility
Lifestyle choices can also contribute to infertility. Excessive drinking has been shown to affect fertility and increases risks of fetal alcohol syndrome and miscarriage in women. Smoking causes issues with egg and sperm quality and also increases the risks of infertility and pregnancy.
Weight can be another factor in both men and women. Studies have shown that individuals who are overweight or severely underweight often have higher chances of infertility than those who maintain a healthy weight while trying to get pregnant. Proper nutrition has been determined to be a key factor for fertility health.
Stress can negatively affect fertility as well and have an impact on fertility treatments. Dealing with fertility problems is a heavy burden, so reducing stress through yoga, meditation, exercise, or counseling is important when combating infertility
Thankfully modern technology has made it easier to get pregnant and success rates of fertility treatments have only been going up throughout the years. There are many fertility options available, and for people who are diagnosed with infertility, there are still hopeful prospects of a successful pregnancy.
Your fertility doctor has an arsenal of tools to battle against infertility. There are fertility pills like clomid, letrozole, and insert metformin blog link and fertility injections such as r-FSH, Hmg, and Lupron. In addition, there are treatments like Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). IVF has seen increasing success rates over the years and allows for doctors to give your baby a headstart by screening for chromosomal disorders that may be causing infertility or pregnancy loss. There is also the option of Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). This is when a single sperm is injected directly into an egg to promote fertilization.
Couples may need to use a gestational carrier (surrogate). This can allow a couple that cannot carry their own child to still have a biological baby by using their own sperm and egg and having someone else carry the pregnancy for them. In other cases, a donor egg or sperm donor may be used if one or both parents do not have the ability to provide a healthy egg and/or healthy sperm.
At Reproductive Health and Wellness Center, we are constantly looking for the most cutting-edge infertility treatment options. Our founder, Dr. Marcus Rosencrantz, is an expert in fertility care, and he has made it his life’s mission to continue advancing infertility treatments until success rates are at 100%. We are passionate about helping people build their families, through financing options for treatments, wellness programs to target every aspect that may be causing infertility, and personalized treatment programs to provide the highest chances of a successful pregnancy for you and your family. We are always willing to answer any questions a patient may have and encourage you to reach out to us for any of your infertility needs! To book a consultation, you can click here, or, we can always be reached by phone at (949) 516-0606.