What is infertility?
Approximately 48.5 million couples experience infertility, worldwide (Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology Journal). Fertility concerns are relatively common, yet defining what infertility is can seem a bit confusing. There are a variety of factors that can lead to infertility, and in some cases patients are diagnosed with unexplained infertility. What is infertility, anyway?
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), infertility is the inability to achieve pregnancy after a year of having regular sexual intercourse without using birth control, or six months for people over 35 years of age.
This definition explains the outcome but, does not discuss the underlying conditions that can lead to infertility.
What are the factors that can lead to infertility?
Every person’s fertility experience is unique, however there are some common factors that can contribute to trouble conceiving a child.
- Egg quality (due to age or health)
- Sperm quality (due to environmental factors, age, or health)
- The health and structure of the fallopian tubes and uterus
- Hormone levels
- Infectious diseases and genetic medical history
- Treatments for cancer (such as radiation and chemotherapy)
Experienced reproductive endocrinologists have the training and knowledge to diagnose these various factors, and work with you and/or your partner on a personalized treatment plan. Our dedicated reproductive specialists help hopeful parents achieve their dream of parenthood.
Did you know that common gynecological conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis, and structural defects in the uterus can cause infertility?
When should you consult a fertility specialist?
Making the decision to consult a physician is not an easy one for many patients, as it is often difficult to accept that you may need help getting pregnant. So when should you seek the help of a specialist? In general, if you are under the age of 35 and have not gotten pregnant after a year of trying (or 6 months for people over 35 years old) it would be a good idea to schedule a consultation. You may also want to meet with a fertility specialist if you’ve had recurrent miscarriages, damage to reproductive organs or tissue, or a family medical history of genetic disease such as Huntington Disease, sickle cell anemia, or cystic fibrosis.
The path to parenthood is not an easy one for people experiencing infertility. By working with a compassionate, experienced, and knowledgeable reproductive specialist, you are giving yourself the best chance you can to achieve your dream of building your family.