When a couple fails to conceive within a year, healthcare providers consider them infertile. When a woman is over the age of 35, the time spent trying to conceive is reduced to six months for an infertility diagnosis. Women over the age of 40 should be evaluated right away. Miscarriage or inability to carry a baby to childbirth is not considered infertility.
To become pregnant, all of the steps during ovulation and fertilization must be completed correctly. Sometimes the problems that lead to infertility in couples are present at birth, and other times they emerge later in life.
Infertility can affect one or both partners. There are times when no cause can be found.
The following factors contribute to infertility:
- One in every three infertile women has a problem with their female reproductive system.
- One in every three infertile men has a problem with their male reproductive system.
- One in every three couples has a problem that affects both of them or an unidentified issue.
How common is infertility?
- One out of every ten women between the ages of 15 and 44 has difficulty conceiving.
- Women who are having difficulties with their pregnancies may lose the baby:
- Before the twentieth week of pregnancy (miscarriage).
- Following the 20th week of pregnancy (stillbirth).
Types of infertility
There are several types of infertility.
- The term primary infertility refers to the inability to conceive for a woman who has never conceived and cannot conceive after a year of not using birth control.
- Secondary infertility occurs when a woman is unable to conceive after having at least one successful pregnancy.
Risk factors for infertility:
Several of the risk factors are the same for both male and female infertility. They are as follows:
Age. Women’s fertility declines gradually with age, especially in their mid-30s and rapidly after 37. Infertility in older women is most likely due to a decrease in the number and quality of eggs, but it can also be due to health issues that affect fertility. Men over the age of 40 may have lower fertility than younger men.
Tobacco consumption. Tobacco or marijuana use by either partner may reduce the chances of pregnancy. Smoking may also reduce the success of fertility treatments. Women who smoke have a higher rate of miscarriage. In addition to erectile dysfunction, smokers often have a low sperm count.
The use of alcohol. Alcohol consumption is not safe for women during conception or pregnancy. Infertility may be exacerbated by alcohol use. Heavy alcohol consumption in men can reduce sperm count and motility.
I was excessively fat. An inactive lifestyle and being overweight may increase the risk of infertility in American women. Being overweight can also have an impact on sperm count in men.
They are too thin. A woman who has an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, and those who follow a very low-calorie or restrictive diet are at risk of infertility.
Problems with exercise Obesity is exacerbated by a lack of exercise, which raises the risk of infertility. In women who are not overweight, ovulation problems may be associated with frequent strenuous, intense exercise.
Infertility diagnosis in women’s
Check the temperature of your body and cervical mucus to determine when ovulation occurs. A home ovulation kit can also be used.
These tests can also aid in the diagnosis or exclusion of a female fertility problem:
Pelvic exam: Your provider will perform a pelvic exam, which may include a Pap smear, to look for structural issues or signs of disease.
Using a blood test, you can check hormone levels, including thyroid hormones.
Transvaginal ultrasound: Your doctor inserts an ultrasound wand into the vagina to check for reproductive system problems.
Hysteroscopy: A thin, lighted tube (hysteroscope) is inserted into the vagina to examine the uterus.
Saline sonohysterogram: A procedure where your provider fills the uterus with saline (sterile saltwater) and performs a transvaginal ultrasound. When the uterus is full, it is easier to see inside the uterus.
Hysterosalpingogram: X-rays are used to capture an injectable dye as it travels through the fallopian tubes. This test looks for obstructions.
Laparoscopy: A laparoscope (a thin tube with a camera) is inserted through a small abdominal incision by your provider. Female pelvic laparoscopy aids in the diagnosis of conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and scar tissue.
Infertility diagnosis in men
These tests can aid in the diagnosis or exclusion of a male fertility problem:
Semen analysis: This test looks for sperm issues like low sperm count and poor mobility. Some men require a needle biopsy to remove and test sperm from their testicles. This is the only test that most men will require as part of their infertility workup. This is the only test that most men will require as part of their infertility workup.
You can test your blood for levels of testosterone, thyroid hormones, and other hormones. Chromosome abnormalities are detected in genetic blood tests.
Scrotal ultrasound: A scrotal ultrasound can detect varicoceles or other testicular problems.
When should you go for infertility treatment?
Women under the age of 35 who haven’t gotten pregnant after a year of trying should see a doctor. Over 35-year-olds should seek help sooner (after six months of trying). A woman’s chances of becoming pregnant decrease with age. A 30-year-old woman’s fertility is half that of a 20-year-old woman.
If you have a risk factor that affects fertility, regardless of gender, you should seek help as soon as possible.
Treatment for female infertility
Infertility treatments include:
Medications: Fertility drugs alter hormone levels to stimulate ovulation.
Surgery: Surgery can be used to open blocked fallopian tubes and remove uterine fibroids and polyps. Endometriosis surgery doubles a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant.
Treatment for male infertility
Male infertility treatments include:
Medications: Medications have the potential to increase testosterone or other hormone levels. There are also medications available to treat erectile dysfunction.
Surgery: Some men require surgery to clear clogs in the tubes that store and transport sperm. Varicocele surgery can improve sperm health and increase the chances of conception.
Infertility treatment options for all genders
Some couples require more assistance in conceiving. To improve her chances of getting pregnant, a woman may first use ovulation stimulants before attempting one of the following methods:
Intrauterine insemination: A healthcare provider inserts sperm directly into the uterus using a long, thin tube.
In vitro fertilization: IVF is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART). It entails collecting the eggs at the end of the stimulation and combining the sperm and eggs in a lab dish. The sperm fertilizes the eggs. A provider inserts a fertilized egg (embryo) into the uterus.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection: This procedure is similar to IVF. An embryologist (a highly trained lab technician) directly injects a single sperm into each of the harvested eggs, after which a provider transfers the embryo into the uterus.
Third-Party ART: Couples may use donor eggs, donor sperm, or donor embryos in third-party ART. Some couples require the services of a gestational carrier or surrogate. This person agrees to carry and deliver your child.
Infertility presents numerous challenges. It can have an impact on your relationships and emotional health. Infertility treatments can also be expensive, putting a strain on your finances. You can ask your healthcare provider what’s causing your infertility. This first step guides you in determining the best treatment to help you in successfully expanding your family. Most couples eventually become pregnant, but some choose to adopt. Dr. Morris can go over your options with you.