It’s safe to say that the majority of people hope to one day have children and start a family of their own. When they want to do this and with whom will vary, of course, but that fundamental desire to bring a new life into the world is there. Unfortunately, the ability to have children doesn’t come easily to everyone. There can be many reasons why someone would be considered infertile. Seeing the word “infertile” may cause intense feelings, but it’s important to know that doesn’t mean you can’t have children. Infertility can be treated and there’s a good chance you’ll still be able to have children of your own. But, this requires a fertility evaluation to determine where in the process difficulty is occurring.
When discussing having children, it’s important to define what one means when they say “infertility” and what your expectations should be throughout the process of attempting to conceive. Often, it’s found that people have some misconceptions about how easy it is for the typical person to naturally conceive. Let’s take a look at some of the facts surrounding infertility, what causes it, and how it can be treated so you can have the family you’ve always wanted.
Is it infertility?
Chances are that if you’re reading this you’ve been trying to conceive for awhile but with no results. What you need to ask yourself is how long you and your partner have been trying to have a baby. A few months? A year? Several years? It’s important to know this information because generally a diagnosis of infertility isn’t made until after a year of unsuccessful attempts.
A full year at least should pass before being concerned enough that you should see a fertility specialist. That’s because it’s surprisingly harder to conceive even with no underlying health issues than people realize. Consider this statistic: A young and fertile couple in their childbearing primes only have about a 15-20% chance of conceiving during any given month. That’s early to mid 20s. Now consider that the percentages lower even more as you age. So, if it’s been a few months you shouldn’t get too concerned just yet. After a year, though, it may be determined that there are fertility issues present. That’s because the probability should generally be on your side after so many months. Once you’ve decided that something doesn’t seem right, it’s recommended that you schedule a fertility evaluation to confirm your suspicions.
What to expect during a fertility evaluation
A fertility evaluation is a multi-part process. There are many different causes of infertility so conditions will need to be systematically ruled out in order to pinpoint a probable cause. It’s also a good idea for your partner to be evaluated as well. In many cases, the man may be the source of fertility issues rather than the woman. In fact, if you’re both young and in your reproductive prime, statistically the issue could easily be male related because 35% of the time it has to do with an issue like low sperm count.
Multiple tests will be run to determine the issue. This will consist of interviews and a direct physical exam. Laboratory testing, a hysterosalpingogram, and transvaginal ultrasound may all be used to get a visual of your reproductive system in an effort to identify any abnormalities. For men, a semen analysis is often enough to determine if there is an issue. Often a low sperm count is identified. If it’s not the count, there may be an issue with the integrity of the sperm and it’s ability to survive a journey to the egg.
Once any conditions are identified, a treatment plan can be established and put into action.
How is infertility treated?
Depending on what is at the root of your fertility issues, different courses of treatment can be taken. It’s important at this stage to keep expectations in perspective. Sometimes infertility cannot be treated, but there are many options available to try. Sometimes it’s a matter of coaching and making lifestyle changes to better increase your chances of conceiving. Being in good health certainly plays a big role in fertility. Medications may be recommended to promote ovulation or stimulate egg development. If there is a structural issue, in vitro fertilization is a proper and effective treatment method for bypassing whatever is causing you and your partner to not conceive naturally.
If you’ve been trying to conceive for over a year and haven’t had success, you could be infertile. But, there’s only one way to find out and that’s to schedule an appointment with a doctor that specializes in fertility services. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Dr. Vicken Sepilian and his team are here to help you gain a better understanding of your fertility situation. With a proper diagnosis, you can begin the process of starting your family.