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How do doctors treat infertility?

Infertility can be treated with medicine, surgery, artificial insemination, or assisted reproductive technology. Many times these treatments are combined. About two-thirds of couples who are treated for infertility are able to have a baby. In most cases infertility is treated with drugs or surgery.

Doctors recommend specific treatments for infertility based on:

  • Test results
  • How long the couple has been trying to get pregnant
  • The age of both the man and woman
  • The overall health of the partners
  • Preference of the partners


Doctors often treat infertility in men in the following ways:

  • Sexual problems: If the man is impotent or has problems with premature ejaculation, doctors can help him address these issues. Behavioral therapy and/or medicines can be used in these cases.
  • Too few sperm: If the man produces too few sperm, sometimes surgery can correct this problem. In other cases, doctors can surgically remove sperm from the male reproductive tract. Antibiotics can also be used to clear up infections affecting sperm count.

Various fertility drugs are often used to treat women with ovulation problems. It is important to talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of these medicines. You should understand the risks, benefits, and side effects.

Doctors also use surgery to treat some causes of infertility. Problems with a woman’s ovaries, fallopian tubes, or uterus can sometimes be corrected with surgery.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is another type of treatment for infertility. IUI is known by most people as artificial insemination. In this procedure, the woman is injected with specially prepared sperm. Sometimes the woman is also treated with medicines that stimulate ovulation before IUI.

  • IUI is often used to treat:
  • Mild male factor infertility
  • Women who have problems with their cervical mucus
  • Couples with unexplained infertility

How does age affect a woman’s ability to have children?

More and more women are delaying parenthood until their 30s and 40s. Actually, about 20% of women in the United States now have their first child after age 35. So age is an increasingly common cause of fertility problems. About one-third of couples in which the woman is over 35 have fertility problems. Aging decreases a woman’s chances of having a baby in the following ways:

  • The ability of a woman’s ovaries to release eggs ready for fertilization declines with age.
  • The health of a woman’s eggs declines with age.
  • As a woman ages she is more likely to have health problems that can interfere with fertility.
  • As a women ages, her risk of having a miscarriage increases.

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

Most healthy women under the age of 30 shouldn’t worry about infertility unless they’ve been trying to get pregnant for at least a year. At this point, women should talk to their doctors about a fertility evaluation. Men should also talk to their doctors if this much time has passed.

In some cases, women should talk to their doctors sooner. Women in their 30s who’ve been trying to get pregnant for six months should speak to their doctors as soon as possible. A woman’s chances of having a baby decrease rapidly every year after the age of 30. So getting a complete and timely fertility evaluation is especially important.

Some health issues also increase the risk of fertility problems. So women with the following issues should speak to their doctors as soon as possible:

  • Irregular periods or no menstrual periods
  • Very painful periods
  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • More than one miscarriage

No matter how old you are, it’s always a good idea to talk to a doctor before you start trying to get pregnant. Doctors can help you prepare your body for a healthy baby. They can also answer questions on fertility and give tips on conceiving.

How will doctors find out if a woman and her partner have fertility problems?

Sometimes doctors can find the cause of a couple’s infertility by doing a complete fertility evaluation. This process usually begins with physical exams and health and sexual histories. If there are no obvious problems, like poorly timed intercourse or absence of ovulation, tests will be needed.

Finding the cause of infertility is often a long, complex, and emotional process. It can take months for you and your doctor to complete all the needed exams and tests. So don’t be alarmed if the problem is not found right away.

For a man, doctors usually begin by testing his semen. They look at the number, shape, and movement of the sperm. Sometimes doctors also suggest testing the level of a man’s hormones.

For a woman, the first step in testing is to find out if she is ovulating each month. There are several ways to do this. A woman can track her ovulation at home by:

  • Recording changes in her morning body temperature (basal body temperature) for several monthsRecording the texture of her cervical mucus for several months
  • Using a home ovulation test kit (available at drug or grocery stores)

Doctors can also check if a woman is ovulating by doing blood tests and an ultrasound of the ovaries. If the woman is ovulating normally, more tests are needed.

Some common tests of fertility in women include:
Hysterosalpingography: In this test, doctors use X-rays to check for physical problems of the uterus and fallopian tubes. They start by injecting a special dye through the vagina into the uterus. This dye shows up on the X-ray. This allows the doctor to see if the dye moves normally through the uterus into the fallopian tubes. With these X-rays doctors can find blockages that may be causing infertility. Blockages can prevent the egg from moving from the fallopian tube to the uterus. Blockages can also keep the sperm from reaching the egg.

  • Laparoscopy: During this surgery doctors use a tool called a laparoscope to see inside the abdomen. The doctor makes a small cut in the lower abdomen and inserts the laparoscope. Using the laparoscope, doctors check the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus for disease and physical problems. Doctors can usually find scarring and endometriosis by laparoscopy.

Is female age important?

Age is extremely important as number and quality of eggs decrease with the age also risk of having genetic problems increase with increasing age. These days more and more women are delaying childbearing due to late marriage and career priorities leading to significant problems infertility.

Is infertility a common problem?

About 12% of women (7.3 million) in the United States aged 15-44 had difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term in 2002, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Is infertility just a woman’s problem?

No, infertility is not always a woman’s problem. In about one-third of cases, infertility is due to the woman (female factors). In another third of cases, infertility is due to the man (male factors). The remaining cases are caused by a mixture of male and female factors or by unknown factors.

Is infertility problem – very common?

Yes about 10% couples worldwide suffer with the problem of infertility.

Many things can affect a woman’s ability to have a baby. These include:

Many things can affect a woman’s ability to have a baby. These include:

  • Age
  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Athletic training
  • Being overweight or underweight
  • Tobacco smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Health problems that cause hormonal changes

What causes infertility ?

In about one-third of cases, infertility is due to female factors. In another third of cases, infertility is due to male factors. The remaining cases are caused by a mixture of male and female factors or by unknown factors.

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