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What is Infertility?
Infertility is defined as the absence of conception after actively trying to conceive for 12 months. When conception does not occur after the first few months, it may cause some patients to become stressed or worried. Since pregnancy is the result of a complex chain of events, it is normal for a couple to try for 6-12 months before achieving a pregnancy. If a woman is having irregular periods or is over the age of 30, she may want to consider seeking fertility advice prior to the 1 year mark.
How is it Treated?
Appropriate timing of intercourse is the first step in trying to achieve a pregnancy. Ovulation, when an egg is released, generally occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle, or around day 14. With longer cycles, ovulation is probably occurring later, which means intercourse would need to occur later in the cycle. It is best to have intercourse every other day starting 4-5 days prior to ovulation and continuing 2-3 days after ovulation. If cycles are irregular, it may be helpful to chart them. If it appears no ovulation is occurring, additional work up will be required.
Listed below are steps taken when infertility occurs. Some or all of these tests may be done.
Semen Analysis: This test checks to make sure your partner is producing mature sperm in an adequate amount. The specimen can be collected in the privacy of your home and then taken to the hospital lab. Hormone, Thyroid, and Prolactin levels are checked through a blood test.
Hysterosalpingogram: (HSG) is a test done in the hospital’s radiology department to assess the shape of your uterus and to see if your tubes are open. This test is performed in the first half of your menstrual cycle and will be scheduled by our office.
Follicle Study: a follicle study is done by ultrasound to check the size of your follicles (eggs) near ovulation. If your body is failing to produce a mature follicle, Clomid or Femara may be prescribed. These medications are used to stimulate ovulation. These medications are often helpful for women diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
More complex treatments are available in our office, such as intrauterine insemination. You may also be referred to a Reproductive Endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in infertility problems.