Treating Infertility – Part 1
Many couples who want to have a child have not been able to do so. About 15% of couples in the United States are infertile.
Before you are treated for infertility, you and your partner must be evaluated by a doctor. This may help pinpoint the cause or causes of infertility. The type of treatment you receive depends on the outcome of your evaluation.
Causes of Infertility
For healthy, young couples, the odds are about 20 percent that a woman will conceive (become pregnant) during any one menstrual cycle. This figure starts to decline in a woman’s late 20s and early 30s and decreases even more after age 35. A man’s fertility also declines with age, but not as early.
Infertility may be caused by a problem with the woman, the man, the couple or their lifestyle. Infertility may be caused by more than one factor.
Sometimes a cause of infertility cannot be found. Whether the problem is with one or both members of the couple, there are a number of treatment options.
If the problem is linked to lifestyle, there are things you can do to help. For instance, your doctor may suggest you change when and how often you have sex. You may need to lose or gain weight or stop smoking. You may need to avoid being exposed to certain chemicals or substances.
Medical treatment may be needed to help you become pregnant. If so, you should be aware of what is involved. Some treatments require a great deal of expense and effort from both partners. You may want to check your health insurance to see if you are covered.
You also should know the expected success rates and how success is defined. Some clinics define success based on the number of live births. Others define success based on the number of pregnancies achieved. Discuss with your doctor the success rates of your options.
Next month’s article will discuss various treatment options.