INFERTILITY IS A DISORDER THAT HINDERS THE NATURAL REPRODUCTIVE PROCESS. PERSONS WHO ARE INFERTILE ARE EITHER UNABLE TO CONCEIVE OR UNABLE TO CARRY A PREGNANCY TO FULL TERM. INFERTILITY AFFECTS APPROXIMATELY 10-15% OF COUPLES RESIDING IN THE UNITED STATES*.
The three main causes of infertility are an unhealthy or low sperm count in the man, an imbalance in the woman’s reproductive system, or a combination of both.
When to Seek Help
Doctors may recommend a fertility workup if a couple has been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for at least one year*. Under the care of a specialist the couple will go through a series of tests to determine the cause of the disorder. After the cause of the infertility is identified a course of treatment will be determined to try to correct the problem.
The method of treatment depends on the cause of the disorder. If the tests reveal a pre-existing medical condition then treatment for that condition could reverse the side effect of infertility. Additionally, treatment can include medication, surgery, lifestyle change, and intrauterine insemination.
Infertility and its unsuccessful treatment can cause stress and tension in a relationship. Your healthcare provider will be there to help you through each step of any infertility treatment. They will support you and help you think positive thoughts during a trying time.
Approaches to Infertility Treatment
For couples who need special help becoming pregnant we will create a plan specifically for them to determine the best treatment to increase their chance of becoming pregnant.
Our plan includes a physical exam, possible ultrasound or special X-rays of the reproductive organs, and lab work for the woman. It might also include a semen analysis for the man.
Typically referred to as fertility drugs, these medications are given to a woman to improve her oocyte (egg) production. We will evaluate the ovaries to ensure they are responding appropriately to the current medication or we will make necessary changes. Normally a woman will release one oocyte each month, and these medicines will generate from 1-3 oocytes each month. Increasing the number of eggs released each month, and having timed intercourse or intraunterine insemination, may increase the chances of becoming pregnant. To further increase the chances of pregnancy, a "trigger shot" of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) may also be given. This is the same hormone that is detected in pregnancy tests. The shot is given when we identify a "mature" follicle on an ultrasound. HCG will simulate a woman's normal hormonal surge to help mature and release the egg.
lntrauterine insemination helps to increase the pregnancy rate by avoiding some of the possible causes of infertility associated with the woman's cervix. It also increases the number of sperm that can reach the egg. With intrauterine insemination the patient and her partner come to the office at a scheduled time. The patient's partner will have produced a sperm sample at home, typically within 30 minutes of arriving for the appointment, since timing is important in this procedure. A small catheter is inserted past the cervix and into the uterus of the patient and the sperm will be implanted. The patient will remain inclined on the table for a short time to help increase the chance of becoming pregnant. A pregnancy test can be taken about two weeks after the procedure, and the results will need to be called to the doctor's office.
*What is Infertility? (2018, September 10). Retrieved October 3, 2018, from americanpregnancy.org: www.americanpregnancy.org/infertility/what-is-infertility