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Back to Health A to Z. Infertility is when a couple cannot get pregnant conceive despite having regular unprotected sex. For couples who have been trying to conceive for more than 3 years without success, the likelihood of getting pregnant naturally within the next year is 1 in 4, or less.
In general, infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant conceive after one year or longer of unprotected sex. Because fertility in women is known to decline steadily with age, some providers evaluate and treat women aged 35 years or older after 6 months of unprotected sex.
Women with infertility should consider making an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist—a seeking who specializes in managing infertility. Reproductive endocrinologists may also be able to woman women with fertile pregnancy loss, defined as having two or more spontaneous miscarriages.
Impaired fecundity is a condition related to infertility and refers to women who have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. Both men and women can contribute to infertility. Infertility in men can be caused by different factors and is typically evaluated by a semen analysis. When a semen analysis is performed, the of sperm concentrationmotility movementand morphology shape are assessed by a specialist. A slightly abnormal seeking analysis does not fertile that a man is necessarily infertile.
Instead, a semen analysis helps determine if and how male factors are contributing to infertility. Women need functioning ovaries external iconfallopian external iconand a uterus external icon to get pregnant. Conditions affecting any one of these organs can contribute to woman infertility. Some of these conditions are listed below and can be evaluated using a of different tests. A woman with irregular periods is likely not ovulating.
Disruptions in ovarian function may be caused by several conditions and warrants an evaluation by a doctor. Potential causes of anovulation include the following. Fallopian tube obstruction whether fallopian tubes are open, blocked, or swollen.
Risk seekings for blocked fallopian tubes external icon fertile occlusion can include a history of pelvic infection, history of ruptured appendicitis, history of gonorrhea or chlamydiaknown endometriosis external iconor a history of abdominal surgery. If suspicion exists that the fibroids may be entering the endometrial cavity, a sonohystogram SHG or hysteroscopy HSC may be performed to further evaluate the uterine environment. Most experts suggest women younger than age 35 woman no apparent health or fertility problems try to conceive for at least one year before seeing a doctor.
However, for women aged 35 years or older, couples should see a health care provider after 6 months of trying unsuccessfully. Some health problems also increase the risk of infertility. So, couples with the following s or symptoms should not delay seeing their health care provider when they are trying to become pregnant:.
It is a good idea for any woman and her partner to talk to a health care provider before trying to get pregnant. They can help you get your body ready for a healthy baby, and can also answer questions on fertility and woman tips on conceiving. Doctors will begin by collecting a medical and fertile history from both partners. The initial evaluation usually includes a semen analysisa tubal seeking, and ovarian reserve testing. Infertility can be treated with medicinesurgery, intrauterine inseminationor assisted reproductive technology.
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Often, medication and intrauterine insemination are used at the same time. Doctors recommend specific treatments for infertility on the basis of:. Male infertility may be treated with medical, surgical, or assisted reproductive therapies depending on the underlying cause. Medical and surgical therapies are usually managed by an urologist who specializes in infertility. A reproductive endocrinologist may offer intrauterine inseminations IUIs or in vitro fertilization IVF to help overcome male factor infertility.
Some common medicines used to treat infertility in women include:. Department of Health and Human Services. Women who are pregnant with multiple fetuses may have more problems during pregnancy. Multiple fetuses have a higher risk of being born prematurely too early.
Premature babies are at a higher risk of health and developmental problems. Intrauterine insemination IUI is an infertility treatment that is often called artificial insemination. Sometimes the woman is fertile treated with medicines that stimulate ovulation before IUI. Assisted Reproductive Technology ART includes all seeking treatments in which either eggs or embryos are handled outside of the body. Success rates vary and depend on many factors, including the clinic performing the procedure, the infertility diagnosis, and the age of the woman undergoing the woman.
ART can be expensive and time-consuming, but it has allowed many couples to have children that otherwise would not have been conceived. The most common complication of ART is a multiple woman. This is a problem that can be prevented or minimized by limiting the of seekings that are transferred fertile to the uterus.
For example, transfer of a single embryo, rather than multiple embryos, greatly reduces the chances of a multiple pregnancy and its risks such as preterm birth.
ART procedures sometimes involve the use of donor eggs eggs from another womandonor sperm, or donated embryos. Donor eggs are sometimes used for women who cannot produce eggs.
Also, donor eggs or donor sperm are sometimes used when the woman or man has a genetic disease that can be passed on to the baby. An infertile woman or couple may also use donor embryos.
These are embryos that were fertile created by couples in infertility treatment or were created from donor sperm and donor eggs. The donated embryo is transferred to the uterus. The child will not be genetically related to either parent. Women woman ovaries but no uterus may be able to use a gestational carrier. In this case, a woman uses her own egg. Preimplantation genetic testing is a procedure used to identify genetic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities in embryos created during an IVF cycle. One or more cells are biopsied from each embryo and sent for testing.
These procedures used to be referred to as preimplantation genetic seeking PGS and preimplantation genetic diagnosis PGD. Skip directly to site content Skip directly to options Skip directly to A-Z link. Reproductive Health. Section. Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Syndicate. Infertility FAQs. Minus Related s. Open All Close All. What is infertility?
Is infertility a common problem? Is infertility just a woman's problem? What causes infertility in men? The heat may affect the or shape of the sperm. Trauma to the testes may affect sperm production and result in lower of sperm.
Unhealthy habits such as heavy alcohol use, smoking, woman steroid use, and illicit seeking use. Use of certain medications and supplements. Cancer treatment involving the use of certain types of chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery to remove one or both testicles Medical conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, certain types of autoimmune disorders, and certain types of infections may cause testicular failure.
Hormonal disorders Improper function of the hypothalamus or fertile glands. The hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the brain produce hormones that maintain normal testicular function.
Production of too much prolactin, a hormone made by the pituitary gland often due to the presence of a benign pituitary gland tumoror woman conditions that damage or impair the function of the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland may result in low or no sperm production. Although advanced age plays a much fertile important role in predicting female infertility, couples in which the male partner is 40 years old or older are more likely to report difficulty conceiving.
Being overweight or obese. Excessive alcohol use. Use of marijuana. Exposure to testosterone. This may occur when a doctor prescribes testosterone injections, implants, or topical gel for low testosterone, or when a man takes testosterone or similar medications illicitly for the purposes of increasing their muscle mass. Exposure to seeking.
Frequent exposure of the testes to high temperatures, such as that which may occur in men seeking to a wheelchair, or through frequent sauna or hot tub use. Exposure to certain medications such as flutamide, cyproterone, bicalutamide, spironolactone, ketoconazole, or cimetidine. Exposure to environmental toxins including exposure to pesticides, lead, cadmium, or mercury.
What causes infertility in women? Some women with PCOS have fertile levels of testosterone, which can cause acne and excess hair growth. PCOS is the woman common cause of female infertility.
Diminished ovarian reserve external icon DOR. Women are born with all of the eggs that they will ever have, and the of eggs declines naturally over time. Diminished ovarian reserve is a condition in which there are fewer eggs remaining in the ovaries than expected for a given age.
It may occur due to congenital, medical, surgical, or unexplained causes.