Any couple who has been unsuccessful for many months, or even years, to get pregnant will tell you how confronting, stressful and emotional this time can be. It can also be very confusing, you might be unsure about where to turn for advice, and what your options are. Yet infertility is not uncommon, in fact around one in six couples will have difficulty getting pregnant. There are many possible causes of infertility, and it affects both men and women.
Some Issues That May Cause Problems Getting Pregnant Are:
Sleep deprivation puts stress on the body and when you’re tired, you don’t run on all cylinders. People who don’t sleep enough have weakened their immune systems. Now they are more likely to get infections, which will affect their reproductive cycle.
Women after age 35, and men after age 40, often take longer to get pregnant. Even it's a common misconception in women to assume that if they get regular periods, their fertility is fine. Age impacts egg quality as well as quantity. Also, if your partner is five or more years older than you, this can further increase the risk of fertility problems for you both as a couple.
A disorder in which the lining of the uterine cavity, grows outside of the ovary in the abdominal cavity. This can result in painful periods, heavy bleeding, and infertility (30 to 50 per cent of infertile women has this as the reason for their infertility). If your fallopian tubes are open then IUI is the answer. If that doesn't work then chances are that your tubes might be blocked, so IVF will be the best option.
What Should You do if You Are Not Getting Pregnant? Who Should You Meet?
A urologist or an andrologist treats the fertility problem in men. Urologists are trained in the evaluation and treatment of disorders in the kidneys, urinary tract, bladder, and male reproductive organs, and have at least two years of general surgical training. A urologist will usually perform a semen analysis, look for varicoceles (varicose veins in the scrotum), check hormone levels, and order lab tests to check on the quality of sperm.
An andrologist is a physician that practices in treating conditions related to fertility and sexual function in males. Andrologists are urologists whose focus is primarily on male reproductive issues. They hold expertise in the male reproductive system, so, often they the most appropriate professional to consult for infertility and sexual dysfunction.
Fertility issues in a female which a primary physician can't resolve, are taken care of, by a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) — a doctor specializing in the treatment of hormonal disorders that affect reproduction. REs have completed at least two years of training beyond their ob-gyn residency and have passed oral and written exams.
Depending on the nature of her problem, a reproductive surgeon might also be suggested. OB-GYN, is a healthcare specialist in female reproductive health.
People trained as OB-GYNs specialize in both obstetrics and Gynecology:
- Obstetrics is regarding pregnant women, including delivering babies
- Gynecology involves and revolves around the female reproductive system. It covers a wide range of issues in female reproductive health, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and chronic pain
How will you be diagnosed?
Before infertility testing, your doctor or clinic will understand your sexual habits and may make certain recommendations to improve the chances of getting pregnant. In some infertile couples, no specific cause is found so it is termed as unexplained infertility. Infertility evaluation can be a bit expensive, sometimes it also involves uncomfortable procedures. Usually, medical plans do not cover the cost of fertility treatment. Finally, there's no guarantee — even after all the testing and counselling — that you'll get pregnant.
Infertility Test for Males
- First are the general physical examination and the medical history, they include examining genitals and questions regarding any inherited conditions, chronic health problems, illnesses, injuries or surgeries that might have affect fertility. Questions regarding sexual habits and sexual development during puberty are also a common part of the procedure.
- Semen analysis. Semen samples can be collected in different ways, most common is by masturbating and ejaculating into a special container at the doctor's office. Another common method is using a special condom during coitus, it will collect the semen and preserve it. (For more details, contact a doctor)
Infertility Test for Females
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): An X-ray procedure to check the shape of the uterine cavity or whether the fallopian tubes are open. A catheter with an iodine solution is inserted inside the body through the vaginal opening. The solution fills through the uterus, entering the tubes. It flows through the whole length of the tubes and spills out if their ends are open.
- Transvaginal Ultrasonography: In this, the abnormalities in the uterus and ovaries are checked for fibroids or cysts. The whole process is carried out through an ultrasound probe which is inserted inside the body.
- Ovarian Reserve Testing: The doctor tries to predict that whether the woman can produce an egg, if yes then the quality of the egg and also that how well her ovaries respond to the hormonal signals from the brain. The most common method to assess ovarian reserve is a blood test for follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) drawn on cycle day 3.
How Will The Doctor Help You Get Pregnant if You Are Diagnosed to be Infertile?
- Medications and counselling to treat problems with erections or ejaculation.
- Hormone treatments if the problem is a low or high level of certain hormones.
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI)- Collection of healthy sperm and inserting it directly into the uterus during ovulation.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF)- Collection eggs and sperm of the couple, fertilizing them in a lab and inserting the developed embryo back into the uterus.
- To help the woman ovulate or restore levels of hormones by fertility drugs or hormones
- Surgery to treat open fallopian tubes or removing the blocking tissue (such as endometriosis)
Infertility can be a very heartbreaking thing, especially if you’ve wanted kids for a long time. It feels like a sudden shock in knowing that the couple might not get pregnant ever. Don’t lose hope! There’s still a way you can conceive and bring home your bundle of joy and happiness!