Infertility – What are the facts you need to know?

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  • Infertility refers to a condition which prevents people from becoming pregnant.  Obviously children and very old people are infertile so medically this only refers to people who are unable to become or cause pregnancy due to medical reasons.
  • Infertility is a common problem of about 10% of women aged 15 to 44.
  • Infertility affects both sexes.
  • Infertility in men can be due to varicocele, low or absent sperm count, sperm damage or certain diseases.
  • Risk factors for men’s infertility include alcohol and drug use, toxins, smoking, age, health problems, medicines, radiation, and chemotherapy.
  • Risk factors for women’s infertility include ovulation problems, blocked Fallopian tubes, uterine problems, uterine fibroids, age, stress, poor diet, athletic training, and those risk factors listed for men.
  • Aging decreases a woman’s fertility more than a mans. After the age of 35 about 33% of couples have fertility problems; older women’s eggs are reduced in number, not as healthy and less likely to be released by the ovary – the woman is also more likely to have a miscarriage and other health problems.
  • Women under 35 should try for a year or 6 months if 35 or older to become pregnant before contacting their doctor if they have no health problems.
  • Doctors use the histories of both partners and may run tests such as sperm studies, ovulation tests, ultrasound, hysterosalpingography, or laparoscopy.
  • Infertility may be treated with medicine, surgery, artificial insemination, or assisted reproductive technology, based on the couples test results and other factors.
  • There are multiple medicines that may be used to treat infertility in women.
  • Intrauterine insemination is artificial insemination where a woman is injected with sperm into the uterus.
  • ART (assisted reproductive technology) is when a woman’s eggs are removed, mixed with sperm to make embryos that are placed back in the woman’s body; it’s successful about 11% to 39%, depending on the woman’s age.
  • There are several types of ART; in vitro fertilization, Zygote transfer, Gamete transfer and intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
  • Surrogacy (the woman’s male partner sperm is used to fertilize another woman egg and that other woman carries the fetus to term and the infant is then adopted ) is a way for some couples to obtain a baby.
  • A gestational carrier is a woman who has an embryo placed in her uterus, carries the fetus to term and gives the baby to the couple (or responsible persons) that produced the embryo.