According to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately ten to 15 percent (10-15%) of couples in the U.S. are dealing with infertility, meaning they have not conceived after at least one year of regular, unprotected sex. Studies indicate that slightly over half of all cases of infertility are a result of female conditions, while the rest are caused by either sperm disorders or unidentified factors.
Finding the Factors
Factors that contribute to infertility include: age, smoking, excessive alcohol use, obesity, eating disorders, over exercising, sexually transmitted infections, chemical exposure, and mental stress. Other causes of infertility include ovulation disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), thyroid dysfunction, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, blocked Fallopian tubes, chronic illnesses, and even medications. Male causes of infertility are due to low or poor quality of sperm.
A formal evaluation of infertility is started by reviewing your history and performing an exam. Various diagnostic tests, including blood tests, ultrasound, and semen analysis may be ordered. Additional testing may include a hysterosalpingography (to check for blocked tubes) laparoscopy (to treat endometriosis and fibroids), or genetic testing to see if there may be a genetic element in play that is preventing pregnancy from occurring. Treatment will be based on the findings of these test results. If you’ve been struggling with getting pregnant, it’s time to talk with your doctor.