In general, there are a lot of questions surrounding the topic of infertility in the field of maternal fetal medicine. According to the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine, Infertility is defined as not becoming pregnant after one year of trying to conceive with regular unprotected sex or after six months if you are over the age of 35. While this definition is quite clear, there are many key factors and causes that contribute to an individual’s inability to conceive.
What Causes Infertility?
Infertility is caused by a variety of factors and can affect both men and women. For women, the issues usually stem from complications with ovulation, the reproductive system, or hormones. For men, fertility concerns are more heavily related to sperm count and health.
Another factor in infertility is the age of the individual trying to conceive. Each woman starts with a fixed number of eggs. This number decreases with each passing year and has significantly declined after age 37 according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. A man’s fertility will also decline with age, however, this decline is less predictable.
There are a few avenues that can be taken for infertility treatment such as hormone therapy, ovulation therapy, surgical solutions for structural problems, and sperm count medications. Some of the most common treatments for infertility treatments are intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, and donor eggs and sperm.
- Intrauterine Insemination – For intrauterine insemination, a substantial amount of healthy sperm is placed in the uterus as close to ovulation as possible. This procedure is often is used for ovulation induction.
- In Vitro Fertilization – For IVF treatment, sperm is combined with the egg in a lab, and the embryo is surgically transferred to the uterus.
- Donor Eggs & Sperm – Donor eggs and sperm can come from sperm banks or other sources and are used to replace the absence of a partner or the availability of healthy eggs and sperm for conceiving.
Infertility can be affected by a variety of factors and often varies from person to person. If you are concerned about your fertility or are having trouble conceiving, talk to your provider today about your symptoms and treatment options.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!