If they attempt but fail to get pregnant within a year, healthcare providers consider a couple infertile. The amount of time attempting to conceive drops to six months for a diagnosis of infertility when the woman is older than 35.
Immediate assessment is warranted in women over 40. Infertility does not entail abortion or the failure to carry a child to term. Here are some of the frequently asked questions on infertility.
Table of Contents
- What causes infertility?
- How common is infertility?
- What are the types of infertility?
- What are the risk factors for infertility in men and women?
- What are the risk factors for female infertility?
- What are the risk factors for male infertility?
- How is female infertility diagnosed?
- How is male infertility diagnosed?
- When should you seek help for infertility?
- How is female infertility treated?
- How is male infertility treated?
- What are fertility treatment options for all genders?
- How can I prevent infertility?
- What is the prognosis (outlook) for people who have infertility?
- Does insurance cover infertility treatment?
- What questions should I ask my doctor?
What causes infertility?
Infertility causes vary:
- 1 in 3 infertile women has a female reproductive system issue.
- With the male reproductive system, 1 in 3 infertile men has an issue.
- 1 in 3 couples has an issue affecting both of them or an undetermined problem.
How common is infertility?
An approximate 1 in 10 females between 15 and 44 years of age have difficulty conceiving. The baby could be lost to women who have pregnancy problems:
- Before the 20th pregnancy week (miscarriage).
- Following the 20th week of pregnancy (stillbirth).
What are the types of infertility?
Infertility types include:
- Primary: A woman who has never been pregnant and who, after one year of not using birth control, cannot conceive.
- Secondary: Secondary infertility happens when, after having at least one successful pregnancy, a woman cannot get pregnant again.
What are the risk factors for infertility in men and women?
These determinant increase the risk of infertility in all genders:
- The Age (over age 35 for women or over 40 for men).
- Eating disorders, including bulimia and anorexia nervosa.
- Excessive use of alcohol.
- Exposure to contaminants, such as lead and pesticides, from the water.
- Exercising done.
- Therapy with radiation or other therapies for cancer.
- Sexually-communicated diseases (STDs).
- Abuse of drugs.
- Troubles with weight (underweight or obese).
What are the risk factors for female infertility?
These factors can contribute to female infertility:
- Abnormal menstruation.
- Thyroid disease.
- Blocked fallopian tubes.
- Celiac disease.
- Sickle cell anemia.
- Pituitary gland disorders, such as Cushing’s syndrome.
- Kidney disease.
- Past ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Ovarian cysts, primary ovarian insufficiency, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Uterine problems, including uterine polyps, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids.
What are the risk factors for male infertility?
These factors can cause male infertility:
- Varicocele(enlarged veins) in the scrotum, the sac that holds the testicles.
- Misuse of anabolic steroids.
- Injury to the scrotum or testicles.
- Undescended testicles.
- Genetic disorders, like cystic fibrosis.
- High heat exposure to testicles from frequent use of hot tubs and saunas or tight clothing.
- Low sperm count or low testosterone (hypogonadism).
- Premature ejaculation or semen flows back into the bladder( retrograde ejaculation).
- Testicular cancer and treatments.
How is female infertility diagnosed?
You may be required to report signs of ovulation by your healthcare providers, such as basal body temperature and cervical mucus. A home ovulation kit can also be used by you.
These tests can also help to identify or rule out a problem with female fertility:
- Pelvic exam: A pelvic examination will be carried out by your provider, including a Pap smear to check for structural defects or symptoms of the disease.
- Blood test: Hormone levels, like thyroid hormones, can be tested via a blood test.
- Transvaginal ultrasound: To check for issues in the reproductive system, the doctor sticks an ultrasound wand into the vagina.
- Hysteroscopy: To inspect the uterus, the physician inserts a small, illuminated tube (hysteroscope) into the vagina.
- Saline sonohysterogram (SIS): Your nurse uses saline (sterilized salt water) to fill the uterus and performs a transvaginal ultrasound. Within the uterus, a complete uterus makes it easier to see.
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): As it passes through the Fallopian tubes, X-rays capture an injectable dye. This test searches for blockages.
- Laparoscopy: In a tiny abdominal incision, the physician implants a laparoscope (a thin tube with a camera). Female pelvic laparoscopy helps detect conditions such as endometriosis, scar tissue, and uterine fibroids.
How is male infertility diagnosed?
These tests can aid diagnose or rule out a male fertility problem:
- Semen analysis: This test tests for sperm issues, such as low sperm count and poor mobility. To extract sperm from the testicles and test it, some men need a needle biopsy. This is the only test that will be needed in the infertility workout for most men.
- Blood test: Testosterone, thyroid, and other hormone levels may be tested via a blood test. Chromosomal variations are looked for by genetic blood tests.
- Scrotal ultrasound: Varicoceles or other testicular issues are detected by an ultrasound of the scrotum.
When should you seek help for infertility?
A healthcare professional should be seen by women under the age of 35 who are not pregnant after one year of trying. Sooner (after six months of trying), you can seek support if you’re older than 35.
The odds of a woman getting pregnant decrease with Age. A 30-year-old woman is half as fertile as a woman in her 20s. Regardless of gender, if you have a risk factor that affects fertility, you should seek assistance early.
How is female infertility treated?
Treatments for infertility include:
- Medications: To induce ovulation, fertility drugs modify hormone levels.
- Surgery: Blocked fallopian tubes may be opened by surgery and uterine fibroids and polyps removed. Endometriosis surgical treatment doubles the likelihood of pregnancy for a woman.
How is male infertility treated?
Treatments for male infertility include:
- Medications: Testosterone or other hormone levels may be elevated by drugs. Drugs for erectile dysfunction still exist.
- Surgery: Some men need surgery in order to open blockages that store and hold sperm in the tubes. Surgery with varicocele can make sperm healthier and can increase pregnancy chances.
What are fertility treatment options for all genders?
Some couples need more support to conceive. A woman may first take medications to stimulate ovulation to increase pregnancy chances before trying one of these options:
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI): A healthcare provider places sperm directly into the uterus using a long, thin tube.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF): IVF is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART). At the end of the stimulation, it includes collecting the eggs and positioning sperm and eggs in a lab dish together. Fertilize the eggs with sperm. One of the fertilized eggs (embryo) is transferred into the uterus by a provider.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): IVF is similar to this method. In each of the collected eggs, an embryologist (highly specialized laboratory technician) directly injects a single sperm, and then a provider moves an embryo into the uterus.
- Third-party ART: Donor eggs, donor sperm, or donor embryos may be used by couples. A gestational carrier or surrogate is required by some couples. This person agrees to bear your baby and give birth.
How can I prevent infertility?
These steps can be taken by men and women to protect their fertility, especially when attempting to conceive:
- Eat a diet that is well balanced and maintain a healthy weight.
- Don’t unnecessarily smoke, misuse drugs, or drink.
- Get yourself screened for STDs.
- To limit exposure to toxins.
- Keep engaged mentally, but don’t overdo the workout.
What is the prognosis (outlook) for people who have infertility?
Since completing fertility therapy, about 9 out of 10 couples get pregnant. Depending on the cause of infertility, the ages of the pair, and other factors, success rates vary.
- Each IUI attempt has a rate of success of 20 percent.
- An estimated 1 in 2 women under the Age of 35 conceive with ART. That number drops to 1 in 30 women (3%) for women in their early to mid-40s.
Does insurance cover infertility treatment?
Health insurance policies differ, so you can consult with your insurer at all times. The majority of insurers cover medically required treatments, such as endometriosis surgery and uterine fibroids.
Some plans cover fertility procedures such as IUI, but they do not cover drugs that induce ovulation.
Nineteen states have regulations requiring insurers to fund such fertility procedures, according to The National Infertility Association. Each law of the state is different.
To see what rights, if any, your state provides, you can visit the National Infertility Association’s website.
What questions should I ask my doctor?
Your healthcare provider might want you to ask:
- What causes our infertility?
- Will my partner and I both get tested for issues with fertility?
- How soon can we get tested for fertility issues if my partner or I am older?
- For us, what is the right treatment?
- What is the success rate for treatment?
- What are the side-effects or complications of treatment?
- Am I supposed to watch out for signs of complications?
A note from Us
Infertility can cause many problems. Your relationships and mental wellbeing can be affected. Treatments for infertility can also be expensive and strain your finances. The cause of infertility can be determined by your healthcare provider.
This first step helps you decide on the right medication to help you grow your family successfully. Eventually, most couples get pregnant, but some turn towards adoption. For you, your provider will review your choices.
- Infertility Causes: Types, Risk Factors, Diagnosis & Treatment: Cleaveland
- Infertility Causes Management and Treatment: Cleveland Clinic.
- Infertility Causes Outlook / Prognosis: Cleveland Clinic.