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Infertility affects approximately 6 million people in the United States or roughly one out of seven couples. Infertility affects men and women equally with about one-third of infertility cases attributed to male factors and one-third to female factors. For the remaining one-third of infertile couples, infertility is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or, in about 20% of those cases, is unexplained. Some factors that have been attributed to causing infertility range from problems with ovulation, endometriosis, problems with sperm, and delay of childbearing.
How Do I Know If I'm Infertile?
A couple might suspect they have fertility problems if they have had unprotected intercourse for 12 months without conception; or if the woman is 35 years and older and has gone 6 months without conception. Women are also considered infertile if they have repeated miscarriages. Many people don't think about fertility problems until they actually start trying for a baby. Although the causes of infertility are often varied and unknown, there are some signs and symptoms that could indicate potential fertility problems for both men and women. In women, irregular periods (not having periods about every 25-28 days), or no periods at all could indicate a problem with ovulation and your hormones not working properly. Painful or heavy periods could indicate there is something wrong with the lining of your womb or endometrium. Benign growths such as a polyp or fibroid, or tissue may be growing in other places--this is a condition known as endometriosis.
For men, the most common cause of male infertility is related to sperm. Sperm related problems include low sperm count or no sperm, sperm that don't move quickly enough and sperm that are not formed correctly. In some cases, tubes inside the male reproductive organs are blocked.
The Initial Visit
It is important that both partners be tested initially to assess and determine the potential causes of infertility. Whenever possible, we encourage both partners to attend the first visit together.
The Female Evaluation includes:
- A physical exam and review of your medical history.
- A pelvic ultrasound to look at your ovaries and uterus.
- Hormonal testing (blood tests).
- A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to see if the fallopian tubes are open. (if necessary)
The Male Evaluation includes:
- Semen analysis**
**If the semen analysis reveals abnormalities, the male may need to consult a urologist who specializes in male infertility.
Once our physician has had an opportunity to do a full evaluation, he can review the various treatment options and give you a reasonable idea of your chances of achieving pregnancy. Thanks to the many options available, many of our patients will be able to experience the joy of parenthood. We invite you to give us a call. We’re standing by ready to help you build the family of your dreams.