Infertility: What You Should Know

Babies are little bundles of joy for new parents, siblings or grandparents. However, many families who want a baby will struggle to conceive. One in eight couples (or 12% of married women) has trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant despite multiple, planned and unprotected attempts. According to American Pregnancy, female infertility factors contribute to approximately 50% of all infertility cases; men represent 30%, and the remaining 20% are due to undiagnosed or unknown factors.

Causes and Symptoms of Infertility

The main symptom is an inability to get pregnant. In many cases, there are no additional symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic. Causes for infertility include damage to the fallopian tubes or cervix, hormone imbalances, or issues with ovulation. Another factor for infertility is age, with fertility declining for women from about the age of 30, dropping down more steeply from the age of 35. Although fertility isself-diagnosable, you should visit fertility clinics to confirm infertility and get help.

Although most common in women, men also experience reproduction issues that cause them to seek medical help. Approximately one-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third attributed to the male partner and one-third is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or, is unexplained. A CDC study analyzed data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth and found that 7.5% of all sexually experienced men younger than age 45 reported seeing a fertility doctor during their lifetime—this equals 3.3–4.7 million men.

Treatments for Infertility

Infertility is treatable in many cases. Many women, approximately 44%, with infertility have sought medical assistance. Of those who seek medical intervention, approximately 65% give birth. The treatments for infertility include fertility drugs, hormone treatments and surgery. Approximately 85-90% of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy or surgical procedures. The Mayo Clinic recommends medical procedures that can help with infertility: artificial insemination, ovulation induction,and IVF. All of which can be done at fertility clinics nationwide. Fifteen states have passed laws requiring that insurance policies cover some level of infertility treatment: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia. You can find a fertility clinic or fertility centers in many of these states.

Artificial insemination is an assisted reproductive technology or (ART) that involves the insertion of sperm into a woman’s womb directly to get pregnant.

Ovulation induction is a result of medicine targeted to trigger ovulation. This process involves taking medications that trigger ovulation in women with irregular or absent ovulation. The Women’s and Infant Fertility Clinic believes that the goal of ovulation induction is to increase a woman’s chances of conceiving a child, either through sexual intercourse or by using intrauterine insemination (IUI) or another fertility treatment.

In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is another ART that involves the fertilization of the egg with sperm outside of the body; a test tube or Petri dish for example. Once merged, the egg is returned to the uterus. According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of IVF can include bloating, cramping, constipation and passing small amounts of clear or blood- tinged liquids. The American Pregnancy Association lists severe symptoms that include nausea , decreased urinary frequency, shortness of breath, and faintness.

If you believe you may be dealing with infertility, or have a diagnosis, remember it is possible to have a baby. Contact your doctor, or a fertility expert who can provide fertility clinics or reproductive centers with infertility services.

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