Questions About Fertility
Many men and women who are trying to add to their families face fertility issues along the way. If you are also having concerns about your fertility, than you realize how emotionally stressful and frustrating it can be. It is important to learn as much as you can about fertility and conception when dealing with infertility issues. Asking as many questions as you can is often the best way to get accurate and to-the-point information that will help you to put your anxieties to rest. This article outlines some of the more commonly-asked questions about fertility.
What is infertility?
Infertility is typically defined as the inability to conceive after regularly having unprotected sex for a set period of time. Unless there is a known problem in either partner, individuals under the age of 35 are not thought to be having issues with fertility until they have been trying to conceive for at least one year. In couples over the age of 35, infertility may be suspected after six months of trying.
So why the long wait period? Humans are actually one of the least fertile species on the earth. As a result, even the healthiest, most fertile couple only has about a 20% chance of conception taking place in any given month. As you age, though, your fertility begins to decline. This deterioration tends to be most notable in women after the age of 35, although both men and women experience a reduction in their fertility as they age.
How common is infertility?
Infertility is actually a lot more common than many people realize. It has been estimated that as much as 10% of the population suffers from fertility problems and this number is increasing every year. In America, more than 5 million individuals are currently dealing with infertility. However, because many couples never seek treatment for their fertility difficulties, this number could possibly be higher.
Are there different types of infertility?
While many people assume that having one child automatically ensures your fertility, in reality, this is not the case. Couples can be classified as having either primary infertility or secondary infertility. Primary infertility refers to couples who have never had children and are experiencing fertility issues. Secondary infertility encompasses couples that are dealing with infertility after already having at least one child.
Surprising to many is the fact that secondary infertility is actually much more common than primary infertility, accounting for as much as 60% of all infertility cases. However, because many assume that their fertility is assured once they have had one child, couples experiencing secondary infertility are not as likely to seek out treatment. It is important to remember that fertility difficulties can strike a couple at any point in their life, regardless of how many children they may already have. It is also important to remember that age can greatly influence your ability to get pregnant and is one reason why more couples experience secondary infertility.
After how many months of trying to conceive should I begin to wonder about my fertility?
Many couples have a hard time admitting that they may be facing fertility issues. Often, after each menstrual period, couples hope that next cycle will be the one that works. When these hopes fail each month, a woman will often turn to her regular ob/gyn or clinic.
After six months of trying, you might consider making an appointment to have a general workup. Most physicians advise you not to be concerned unless you have been trying to conceive for at least one year. However,if you are over 30 years old, have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, painful periods, miscarriage, irregular cycles, or if your partner has a known low sperm count, you may want to seek help sooner.
Should I see my gynecologist?
For your basic work up, that would be fine. However, a Reproductive Endocrinologist is a great person to seek help from. Infertility issues are their specialty.
Can men suffer from infertility?
Most definitely YES! While infertility was once thought of as strictly a woman's problem, over the years it has been recognized that male infertility contributes to conception difficulties just as often as female infertility factors. In fact, recent research into male fertility has shown that the number of men being diagnosed with infertility, particularly low sperm count and poor sperm quality, is on the rise. It is believed that male factor infertility could soon surpass female factors as the main cause of infertility in a couple.
What should I expect from my first appointment?
Your doctor will first take a medical history from you, including how long you have been trying to conceive. Your doctor will also want to know if you have been keeping track of your morning temperatures or using any ovulation predictor kits. Your doctor will conduct a pelvic exam and may also do a basic hormone blood workup, depending on which day of your cycle you are on.
For the most part, your first appointment will consist of getting a game plan together. You might find it very helpful to bring a list of any particular questions you might have to your first appointment.
I've been diagnosed with unexplained infertility - what does that mean?
A diagnosis of unexplained infertility is given to approximately 10% to 20% of infertile couples. In these instances, despite going through the usual fertility testing procedures, no reason or cause can be found as to why the couple is having troubles conceiving. While this can be incredibly frustrating and discouraging, it is important to remember that scientific knowledge is limited. While there may very well be a reason for your infertility, the appropriate testing and diagnostic procedures have yet to be created for it.
What treatment options are available for infertility?
Although you may not realize it, there are many infertility treatment options available. While some might think that if you are infertile, you must choose between IVF and being childess, this is not the case. In many cases, surgery is sufficient treatment to repair a damaged or blocked tube. There are also numerous medications that can help stabilize hormonal imbalances or promote proper ovulation. And, while IVF is a popular treatment choice among those who decide to use ART methods, only 2% of all infertile couples turn to IVF to help them conceive. Other infertility treatments inlcude IUI, adoption, surrogacy and using a donor.