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Infertility

Helping you get pregnant

Infertility can be devastating if you've dreamed of getting pregnant. If you've tried everything to conceive but you're still having problems, you probably have questions about what you should do next and how you should deal with this news.

What is Infertility?

Infertility is the inability to conceive a child. A couple is considered infertile if they have been trying to conceive for a year or more, but cannot. Age plays a large factor in a couple's fertility – if both partners are over 35, their fertility goes down. If they are under 35, waiting a little longer and trying to conceive regularly may yield results. Many cases of infertility are caused by a problem with either the woman's or the man's reproductive system. Approximately 50 out of 100 cases are due to female infertility, making it a significant womens health issue, but approximately 35 out of 100 cases are due to male infertility. A small number of infertility cases have an unknown cause.

Fertility Options

A fertility specialist is a doctor who can help you with fertility problems. He or she will provide information on infertility treatment and run some tests on you and your partner to see if you actually are infertile, or if there are other factors affecting your ability to conceive. Some infertility problems can be fixed. If they cannot, there are other options a fertility specialist may suggest, including:

  • Charting your basal body temperature to find your most fertile days. Often, couples find that they are simply missing the woman's most fertile time to conceive.
  • Medication to help the woman ovulate. Some popular medications include Dostinex, which inhibits an overdose of hormones from the pituitary gland, or Clomid. Clomid may cause multiple pregnancies, though, since it induces ovulation.
  • If the problem is due to a low sperm count or with the woman's reproductive system, the doctor may suggest surgery to correct a blockage or to increase sperm count.
  • Artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. In the former, semen is inserted into the woman's body at her most fertile time of the month. In the latter, an artificially-fertilized egg is implanted into the woman's uterus. In both, younger couples have a better chance at getting pregnant. Older couples may experience miscarriage or failure to implant.
  • In the case of scar tissue, male infertility or varicose veins in the scrotum, the doctor may suggest surgery to improve the quality of the sperm.

When Infertility Treatments Don't Work

Although infertility treatments do have a relatively good rate of success, sometimes infertile couples cannot get pregnant. When this happens, there are other options to be considered. They include:

  • Adoption, either domestic or international
  • Use of a surrogate, which means that a fertilized egg from the couple is implanted into another woman's uterus
  • Foster care

All infertility treatments and options should be discussed by the couple and carefully considered. With luck, an infertile couple will conceive.

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