While many people shy away from discussing the matter publically, infertility is very common. For one reason or another, 12 to 15 percent of couples do not conceive within one year of trying, studies show. For both men and women, numerous factors can cause infertility, and in some cases, both partners show signs of infertility. Fortunately, technology and effective therapies have emerged that can significantly increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Know the Signs and Symptoms of Infertility
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines infertility as not being able to conceive after six months to one year of frequent unprotected sex. While infertility can have no apparent signs or symptoms aside from not conceiving, many women struggling with infertility experience abnormal menstrual cycles, irregular or painful periods, and back or pelvic pain.
In cases where hormone imbalance causes infertility in women, they often see weight gain, acne, and dark hair growth near the chin and lips. They can also experience a change in their sex drive and sexual desire. For men, symptoms associated with infertility include small and firm testicles, change in hair growth, change in sex drive, ejaculation and erection issues, and a lump near the testicles.
Talk to Your Doctor about Your Struggle to Conceive
If you have not been able to conceive despite trying for a year or more, you may consider discussing your concerns with your doctor. (Women over the age of 35 trying to conceive should consult their gynecologist.) You should also see a doctor about infertility if you have painful periods, irregular periods, have undergone any prolonged treatment such as cancer treatment, or have ever been diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease. Also it makes sense to do away with the myths of infertility. Men trying to conceive with a partner should see a doctor if they have a low sperm count or a family history of infertility.
What are Your Options to Help You Conceive?
Trying to conceive can cause great frustration and stress; however, several treatment options can make conception more likely. After assessing your overall health condition and the root cause of infertility, your doctor may treat you with medication, surgeries, or fertility procedures such as in vitro fertilization.
IVF, a common procedure for women trying to have a baby, involves artificial fertilization outside of the body. For intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, sperm is placed inside of a uterus to increase the chances of fertilization.
Understanding IVF – What It Is?
Understanding IVF correctly is important. It is a complex and long process. If you or your partner decides to move forward with IVF, you need to prepare mentally and may want to request time off from work. Keep in mind that you may need to undergo multiple IVF cycles to conceive successfully. From start to finish, the IVF procedure includes:
If a woman plans to use their own eggs for IVF, they receive a series of medications for ovarian stimulation.
Once the eggs mature, the woman undergoes sedation so the doctor can retrieve the eggs.
Couples can choose to supply their own sperm or use a donor’s sperm.
Fertilization is then done by either conventional insemination or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
Finally, the embryo is transferred to the uterus. An embryo can implant itself in the uterus within six to 10 days after egg retrieval.
How to Know if IVF is Right for You?
Those trying to conceive who have been diagnosed with a blocked fallopian tube or who have had their fallopian tubes removed often consider IVF. The process of IVF bypasses the function of the fallopian tubes, which typically serve as the passageways for a fertilized egg to travel to the uterus.
IVF also works well for couples if one or both partners have an unidentified fertility issue, if the woman has endometriosis or an ovulation disorder or if the man has a low sperm count. Women who have an abnormal ovulation cycle or women suffering from polycystic ovaries may also want to consider IVF.
The cost of IVF depends on how many cycles the couple opts to go through. While insurance doesn’t typically cover the full cost of IVF, it may partially cover the treatment. You can also enroll in a discount program if you’re going for bulk-billed IVF and refund programs.
If you and your partner are struggling to conceive, know that you are not alone. With the help of the right fertility treatment and understanding IVF properly, many couples have successfully conceived and had their own happy, healthy babies.