What is infertility?
Infertility refers to having trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant. Fertility problems can happen in people of all genders and can have many causes. You are generally diagnosed with infertility if you do not get pregnant after 1 year or more of trying or have multiple miscarriages. When a couple faces difficulty getting pregnant, either person is equally likely to be the cause. That is why both are tested for infertility, when a couple is having trouble getting pregnant.
What treatment can help infertility?
Treatment depends on several factors, including the age of the person who wants to conceive, how long infertility has lasted, personal preferences, and their general state of health.
In men, fertility is treated with:
- Surgery, if the cause is a varicocele (widening of the veins in the scrotum) or blockage in the vas deferens, tubes that carry sperm.
- Antibiotics to treat infections in the reproductive organs.
- Medications and counseling to treat problems with erections or ejaculation.
- Hormone treatments in case the problem is a low or high level of certain hormones.
In women, infertility is treated with:
- Fertility drugs and hormones for helping the woman ovulate or restore levels of hormones.
- Surgery for removing tissue that is blocking fertility (such as endometriosis) or for opening blocked fallopian tubes
Infertility in both men and women can also be treated with assisted reproductive technology or ART. There are several types of ART:
- IUI (intrauterine insemination): In this process, sperm is collected and placed directly inside the women’s uterus while they are ovulating.
- IVF (in vitro fertilization): In this reproductive technology, the sperm and egg are brought together in a lab. The fertilized egg grows for 3-5 days. Then, the embryo is placed into the woman’s uterus.
- GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer) and ZIFT (zygote intrafallopian transfer): The sperm and egg are collected and quickly placed in a fallopian tube in these processes. With GIFT, the sperm and eggs are placed into the fallopian tube. In ZIFT, the sperm and eggs are brought to a lab. Then, a fertilized egg is placed in the tube for 24 hours.
How can a doctor help with infertility?
Most people will visit a physician if they are not pregnant after 12 months of trying. If the woman is over 35 years of age, the couple may wish to see a doctor earlier since fertility testing can take time, and female fertility starts to drop when a woman is in her 30s. A doctor gives advice and carries out some preliminary assessments. It is always better for a couple to see a doctor together. The doctor generally asks about the couple’s sexual habits and makes recommendations regarding these. Tests and trials are available, but remember that testing does not always reveal a specific cause.
How do I know if I have infertility issues?
You can know if you have infertility issues through various infertility tests:
The doctor asks the man about his medical history, medications, and sexual habits and carries out a physical examination. The testicles are checked for lumps or deformities. The shape and structure of the penis are also examined for abnormalities.
- Semen analysis: A sample is taken to test for sperm concentration, motility, quality, color, any infections, and whether or not any blood is present. Sperm counts can fluctuate; hence, several samples may be necessary.
- Blood test: This is to test levels of testosterone and other hormones.
- Ultrasound: This may reveal specific issues such as ejaculatory duct obstruction or retrograde ejaculation.
- Chlamydia test: Chlamydia can affect fertility; however, antibiotics can treat it.
A woman undergoes a general physical examination, and the doctor asks about her medical history, menstruation cycle, medications, and sexual habits. She also undergoes a gynecologic examination as well as a number of tests:
- Blood test: This can be used to assess hormone levels and also whether a woman is ovulating.
- Hysterosalpingography: Fluid is injected into the woman’s uterus, and X-rays are taken to determine whether the fluid travels properly out of the uterus and into the fallopian tubes. If a blockage is present, surgery can be necessary.
- Laparoscopy: A thin and flexible tube with a camera attached at the end is inserted into the abdomen and pelvis. This allows the doctor to look at the fallopian tubes, the uterus, and the ovaries. This can reveal signs of endometriosis, blockages, scarring, and certain irregularities of the uterus and fallopian tubes.
Talk to our team at North Tex Medcare to learn more about treatments. We serve patients from Addison TX, Carrollton TX, Richardson TX, Farmers Branch TX, Hebron TX, and Highland Park TX.