Over the course of one year, 85% of couples having unprotected intercourse will become pregnant. You should see a doctor if you:
There are three categories of cause for infertility: Female, Male, and Unexplained.
Female infertility is strongly correlated with the age of the woman that is trying to become pregnant. If you find yourself trying to have children later in life, your egg quantity may be diminishing.
Other common causes of infertility in women include:
A common cause of sperm abnormalities, such as shape, lack of ability to swim (motility), or blockage of sperm, is from a condition called Varicocele, which is an enlarged vein in the testicle and present in about 40% of infertile men. Other reasons that influence the life span or mobility of the sperm come from inflammation in the testicles or having abnormally developed testicles.
Hormone imbalances, as well as reproductive organ blockages, are other common issues that can lead to male infertility. In 50% of cases, the cause of male infertility cannot be determined.
Common reasons for low sperm count or short life-span of sperm, include:
There can also be causes of infertility for men due to problems with ejaculation such as retrograde ejaculation, premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunctions.
On average, one in every four couples have no medical reason for infertility.
For these couples, fertility treatments may be beneficial, these treatments include:
Lifestyle changes you can make to prepare your body for pregnancy include:
Common tests your doctor may order include: thyroid testing, prolactin testing, and ovarian reserve testing. Ovarian reserve refers to the number of eggs that remain. Women are born with approximately 300,000 eggs and are used up throughout their lives. This testing does not predict if a woman can conceive but rather guide practitioners on how aggressive to treat the patient. Ovarian reserve can be evaluated with an ultrasound or blood work such as FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), Estradiol, and AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone).
Based on your test results:
Some common tests your doctor might use include:
A common misconception is that each month only one ovary produces an egg. This is not true. Each month, both of your ovaries are competing to create the largest egg or follicle. The largest egg or follicle will mature and be released into the fallopian tube.
As you approach menopause and start to skip periods, it is because the ovaries cannot find any eggs to send.
Another interesting fact–when a woman has an ovary removed, it doesn’t mean you will ovulate every other month, it just means your single ovary always sends the ‘winning’ egg for possible fertilization.
If you are struggling with fertility, your doctor may suggest having a test completed that determines whether your fallopian tubes are blocked.
A hysterosalpingogram involves the insertion of a small, flexible catheter into the uterus. Dye is then injected into the uterus and x-rays are done to see if the dye spills out of the fallopian tube.
Risk factors for blocked fallopian tubes include:
There are a few minimally invasive fertility surgical options your doctor may suggest if you are struggling with infertility.
Based on your medical history and exam, your gynecologist may offer a hysteroscopy, a procedure that looks at the inside of the uterus, or a laparoscopy, which looks into the abdomen to exam the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and outside of the uterus.
These minimally invasive fertility surgical procedures can help your doctor understand the root cause of your infertility and suggest an appropriate fertility treatment option.
Infertility can have a number of causes, including male infertility.
To evaluate male infertility, a physician may: