If you’ve been struggling to conceive without success for a year or longer, you know just how frustrating, emotionally exhausting, and even isolating infertility can be. Although it may seem like you and your partner are on a singular journey, the problem is fairly common, affecting up to 15% of all couples in the United States. The experienced fertility experts at Total Woman Care in Elkin, North Carolina provide comprehensive treatment solutions for women who are having trouble becoming pregnant. To find out more, call or book your appointment online today.
Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after one year of having regular, unprotected intercourse. For women past the age of 35, infertility may be diagnosed after just six months of trying. Women who are able to become pregnant, but not stay pregnant, may also be diagnosed with infertility.
It’s estimated that 10% of women of reproductive age in the U.S., or just over six million women, have difficulty becoming pregnant or staying pregnant.
Researchers estimate that one-third of infertility problems among couples are caused by women’s problems, one-third are caused by men’s problems, and one-third are the result of a combination of men’s and women’s problems, or by unknown factors.
Pregnancy is a multistep process that requires specific biological conditions to take place.
First, one of your ovaries must release an egg. As that egg travels through the fallopian tube toward your uterus, it must be joined, or fertilized, by a man’s sperm somewhere along the way. The fertilized egg must then attach, or implant, itself to the inside of your uterus.
Although infertility can occur if there’s a problem with any one of these steps, women’s infertility is often related to a problem with ovulation.
Ovulation difficulties are often caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance disorder and one of the most common reasons for female infertility. Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), another common cause of women’s infertility, occurs when a young woman’s ovaries stop working properly.
Blocked fallopian tubes, uterine fibroids, and physical problems with the uterus are other possible reasons for female infertility.
Not all women who struggle with infertility have an underlying health problem. For some women, infertility is the result of a confluence of factors that impact her ability to become pregnant.
Of all the factors that can influence female fertility, age is the most common: It’s estimated that about one-third of all couples in which the woman is older than 35 have fertility problems.
Other factors that are known to contribute to women’s infertility include:
For most women, it only takes a few menstrual cycles to accurately assess infertility. This evaluation process includes a comprehensive physical exam and medical history, menstrual chart review, and ovulation assessment.
It may also require you to undergo laboratory or diagnostic tests, such as hormone testing and pelvic ultrasounds, to help rule out any biochemical or structural abnormalities.
Although the precise cause of infertility can’t always be pinpointed, infertility can often be treated successfully through lifestyle changes, fertility medication, artificial insemination, assisted reproductive technology, or surgery.