So what is infertility anyway? Anyone trying to conceive without success for more than 12 months may be infertile. For persons over 35, this window drops to 6 months. For a successful pregnancy, a healthy sperm travels to the fallopian tubes to fertilize an oocyte or egg. Anything that impairs this process could lead to infertility. About 1 in 8 couples suffer from infertility.
A constant battle for women
For women, infertility can be linked to several issues. For instance, there could be a blockage in the fallopian tubes, cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or fibroids. Cessation of periods or any other issues that impact the uterine lining can also affect fertility. Infertility can also be hormonal, with inadequate hormones produced for a successful pregnancy. There could also be lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol, or medication involved. To be sure, see a doctor for a full fertility test.
Infertility impacts men too
Despite the popular narrative, infertility is not just a woman’s problem. Statistics show that men are equally affected by infertility. Most male-factor infertility comes from issues with the sperm. There could be a low sperm count, poor sperm mobility, or poor sperm health. Other reasons could be tied to the physical health of the genitals. Similar lifestyle factors like weight, smoking, alcohol, and exposure to metals could signal infertility issues.
Turning to ART
In most cases, infertility is treatable, and there is a solution for almost every circumstance. Sometimes, doctors can help fix the physical issue. Doctors will try different methods, often with high success. These are called assisted reproductive technologies or ART. ART is a series of techniques combining science, technology, and medicine to help with pregnancy.
IVF is the gold standard
No ART technique is as well-known or established as IVF. Known as in vitro fertilization, IVF involves helping with pregnancy in the lab. A fertility clinic, consisting of embryologists and doctors, extracts eggs from the woman’s ovaries. These are then combined with clean sperm samples in a petri dish. The eggs soon fertilize, becoming embryos, which are then implanted into the uterus. IVF typically happens in multiple cycles as the first try is sometimes unsuccessful.
When to consider IVF
IVF may not be for everyone. IVF is an intense process with several steps involved. There are also some risks involved, as well as a high price point. Some couples may respond well to other treatments like intrauterine insemination (IUI). However, there are few reasons to consider IVF. If there is a clear, diagnosed issue that will affect pregnancy chances, IVF may work. Age is also a factor. Women’s fertility decreases rapidly after age 40. Poor sperm health and surrogacy are other reasons to go straight to IVF.
There is hope
Infertility can create an emotional toll on women and couples. Luckily, IVF brings a lot of hope to future families. The process continues to improve and has a strong success rate. For persons trying to conceive without success, IVF may be considered. Speak with a doctor or fertility specialist today.