Infertility is a condition where a man or woman is unable to naturally conceive a child. The diagnosis is generally given to couples who have attempted to become pregnant for 12 months with no success. Women over the age of 35 are diagnosed as infertile after 6 months of attempting to become pregnant without conception. For women, an ovulation disorder is usually to blame. Problems such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), uterine fibroids, and egg generation can also cause female infertility. For men, the issue is usually related to the quality or quantity of his sperm.
Women and their partners will need to have an honest conversation about their health, lifestyle, and attempts to get pregnant. The doctor will collect medical details for both partners attempting to conceive to rule out any other conditions that could impede successful conception. If a woman under the age of 35 has not conceived within a year of having regular, unprotected sex, she and her partner should seek advice. Women over 35 should try for six months before seeking advice. In most cases, further tests will be necessary to diagnose the cause of the fertility issue to help guide the best course of treatment.
There are a number of fertility treatments available. The doctor will suggest the treatment that will solve the root cause of the infertility. Treatment may involve intrauterine insemination where the woman’s ovulation cycle is carefully monitored, and sperm is injected directly into the uterus during her most fertile time. In vitro fertilization, also referred to as IVF, is another common, and more complicated, procedure. IVF takes place outside of the womb and is used when other fertility treatments have not resulted in a viable pregnancy. IVF is a multi-step process where eggs are harvested and inseminated outside of the womb before being placed in the uterus during the most hospitable time during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Any additional embryos are frozen for future use if the treatment is not successful.
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