Infertility: Problems having a baby
by: Karl Michelbach
Infertility is defined as not getting pregnant after at least one year of trying. Women who get pregnant but have repeated miscarriages may also have fertility problems. About 12% of women in the United States have trouble getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term. Problems with the woman’s fertility cause about one-third of cases of infertility. Another third of cases are due to the man’s fertility problems. The remaining cases are caused by a combination of male and female factors, or by unknown factors.

Factors that affect fertility

Problems with ovulation (the release of an egg by the ovaries) cause most cases of infertility in women. Signs that a woman is not ovulating normally include irregular or absent periods.

Other factors that can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant include:
● Older age
● Stress
● Poor diet
● Smoking
● Alcohol
● Being overweight or underweight
● Health problems that cause hormonal changes
● Sexually transmitted infections

Talk with your doctor

It’s a good idea to talk with your doctor before you start trying to get pregnant. Preconception checkups can help you prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy. Your doctor can answer your questions about fertility and give you tips on improving your chances of getting pregnant.

Because some health issues increase the risk of fertility problems, you should be sure to speak to your doctor if you have or have had:
● Irregular periods or no menstrual periods
● Very painful periods
● Endometriosis
● Pelvic infl ammatory disease
● Sexually transmitted infections
● More than one miscarriage

Identifying fertility problems

If you and your partner are having problems getting pregnant, your doctor will probably want to do a fertility evaluation. You’ll both need to have a physical exam and answer questions about your health and sexual history. Additional tests may also be needed.

Identifying the causes of infertility can be a difficult and emotional process. Keep in mind that it can take months for you and your doctor to complete all the needed exams and tests.

Finding a way

In the majority of cases, infertility can be treated once the cause is identified. Treatment options include medicine, surgery, artificial insemination, assisted reproductive technology, or some combination of treatments. Lifestyle changes such as reducing stress, eating a healthier diet, and stopping all use of drugs or alcohol may also help.

What you need to know

Most healthy women under the age of 30 don’t need to worry about infertility unless they’ve been trying to get pregnant for at least a year. Men should also talk with a doctor after this much time has passed. For women over the age of 30, it’s a good idea to go ahead and talk to a doctor about possible fertility problems if you have been trying to get pregnant for at least six months.

Did You Know?

Infertility in men is caused by problems making sperm or problems with the sperm’s ability to reach the egg and fertilize it. The number and quality of a man’s sperm can be affected by his age, his overall health and his lifestyle (for example, drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes).

Comments for "Infertility: Problems having a baby"
Jessica Caruso, D.C.
2009 12 10

Some natural approaches to infertilty:

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