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Obstetrics & Gynaecology

What is infertility?

Most experts define infertility as not being able to get pregnant after at least one year of trying. Pregnancy is the result of a complex chain of events. In order to get pregnant:

1. A woman must release an egg from one of her ovaries (ovulation).
2. The egg must go through a fallopian tube toward the uterus (womb).
3. A man's sperm must join with (fertilize) the egg along the way.
4. The fertilized egg must attach to the inside of the uterus (implantation).


Infertility can result from problems that interfere with any of these steps.

Is infertility a "women's problem"?

Infertility is a medical problem. Approximately 35% of infertility is due to a female factor and 35% is due to a male factor. In some cases, infertility results from problems in both partners, or the cause of the infertility cannot be explained.


What causes infertility in men?

Infertility in men can be caused by different factors and is typically evaluated by a semen analysis. A specialist will evaluate the number of sperm (concentration), motility (movement), and morphology (shape). A slightly abnormal semen analysis does not mean that a man is necessarily infertile. Instead, a semen analysis helps determine if and how male factors are contributing to infertility.


What causes infertility in women?

Women need functioning Ovaries, fallopian tubes, and a uterus to get pregnant. Conditions affecting any one of these organs can contribute to female infertility.

What things increase a woman's risk of infertility?

Age :Aging not only decreases a woman's chances of having a baby but also increases her chances of miscarriage and of having a child with a genetic abnormality.

  • Smoking.
  • Excessive alcohol use.
  • Extreme weight gain or loss.

Excessive physical or emotional stress that results in amenorrhea (absent periods).


How long should women try to get pregnant before consulting their doctors?

Most experts suggest at least one year for women younger than age 35. However, women aged 35 years or older should see a health care provider after 6 months of trying unsuccessfully. A woman's chances of having a baby decrease rapidly every year after the age of 30.


How is Infertility treated?

Infertility can be treated with medicine, surgery, intra-uterine insemination, or assisted reproductive technology. Many times these treatments are combined. Doctors recommend specific treatments for infertility based on—

  • The factors contributing to the infertility.
  • The duration of the infertility.
  • The age of the female.
  • The couple's treatment preference after counseling about success rates, risks, and benefits of each treatment option.

What is intrauterine insemination (IUI)?

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is an infertility treatment that is often called artificial insemination. In this procedure, specially prepared sperm are inserted into the woman's uterus. Sometimes the woman is also treated with medicines that stimulate ovulation before IUI. IUI is often used to treat—
1.Mild male factor infertility.
2.Couples with unexplained infertility.


What is assisted reproductive technology (ART)?

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) includes all fertility treatments in which both eggs and sperm are handled outside of the body. In general, ART procedures involve surgically removing eggs from a woman's ovaries, combining them with sperm in the laboratory, and returning them to the woman's body or donating them to another woman. The main type of ART is in vitro fertilization (IVF).


What are the different types of assisted reproductive technology (ART)?

  • In vitro fertilization (IVF), meaning fertilization outside of the body. IVF is the most effective and the most common form of ART.
  • Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) or tubal embryo transfer. This is similar to IVF. Fertilization occurs in the laboratory. Then the very young embryo is transferred to the fallopian tube instead of the uterus.
  • Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), involves transferring eggs and sperm into the woman's fallopian tube. Fertilization occurs in the woman's body. Few practices offer GIFT as an option.
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is often used for couples with male factor infertility. Sometimes it is also used for older couples or for those with failed IVF attempts. In ICSI, a single sperm is injected into a mature egg as opposed to "conventional" fertilization where the egg and sperm are placed in a petri dish together and the sperm fertilizes an egg on its own.

For more information, or any questions you may have, please contact your doctor today!

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