When it comes to infertility, there are a lot of misconceptions.
For example, it might be easy to assume that your friend’s stressful job is preventing her from having a baby, or your 36-year-old overweight cousin can’t get pregnant just because of her weight and age.
For sure, all of these can be contributing factors to infertility, but they’re certainly not the main cause in most cases. To put some assumptions to rest, experts have shared some important facts about infertility that you should know.
1) Infertility is a fairly common problem. In fact, around 6.1 million, or 10 percent, of women ages 15 to 44 in the United States have problems with infertility, according to the Office on Women’s Health.
2) Both men and women are affected equally by infertility, according to Dr. Kajaal Patel, a Walgreens director for fertility preservation work.
3) The official diagnosis of infertility is given after a woman has been unable to have a baby after a year of unprotected sex, Patel said. However, women who are 35 or older are often considered to be infertile if they are unable to conceive after six months.
4) There are many factors that can be associated with infertility, including sexually transmitted diseases, autoimmune disorders, cancer treatment, body weight and smoking, she added.
5) Hormonal issues, tubal blockage, ovulation dysfunction, uterine abnormalities and age may also contribute to infertility, Patel said.
6) In many cases, infertility issues can be pinpointed and addressed, and women can eventually overcome these issues and have children, according to Dr. Francisco Arredondo of Reproductive Medicine Associates of Texas.
7) Fertility tests may include various types of blood work to check hormone levels, samples from the male partner, and a hysterosalpingogram, or HSG, to check out the fallopian tubes, Arredondo said.
8) Many infertility cases are associated with some type of ovulatory discrepancy, which can be caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or irregular ovulation, he added.
9) Dr. Jane Frederick, the medical director of HRC Fertility in California offers some recommendations. Don’t neglect to take care of your mind and body while dealing with infertility issues. Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Minimize your stress. Eliminate alcohol, caffeine and smoking.
10) Common treatment options for infertility related to endometriosis and other issues include a variety of medications (oral or injectable), ovulation inducton (OI), intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF), according to Dr. Susan Hudson, the CEO and founder of the Fertility Institute of Texas.
Patel, Kajaal. Email interview. July 22, 2015.
Office on Women’s Health. Womenshealth.gov. Is infertility a common problem? Web. August 14, 2015.
Arredondo, Francisco. Email interview. July 17, 2015.
Frederick, Jane. Email interview. July 20, 2015.
Hudson, Susan. Email interview. July 20, 2015.
Reviewed August 18, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith