What is Infertility?
There is approximately a 25% chance that conception will occur during any single ovulatory cycle; 80 to 90% of couples trying to get pregnant will succeed within one year. One out of every six couples will have trouble conceiving or carrying a child to term. Infertility is defined as a failure to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse. Research has found that about 40% of infertility is due to the female factor, 40% male factor, and 20% by a combination of both.
What Causes Infertility?
Ovulation most frequently occurs about 14 days before menstruation begins. An egg is released from the ovary and is swept into a fallopian tube where fertilization occurs. Two or three days later the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus. Any factor that impedes this process can prevent conception. Common causes of infertility included hormonal problems, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, endometriosis, and sperm of insufficient quantity or quality.
What Tests Are Performed?
Diagnostic tests are prescribed based on your medical history, a physical examination and the results of any previous testing or treatment. These could include a semen analysis, blood work up, a pelvic ultrasound, and an x-ray study to evaluate the uterus and fallopian tubes. The results are included in the infertility work up, which your physician uses to diagnosis, and treat your infertility.
What Is The Next Step?
You and your partner will meet with your physician to discuss the results of the work up. You are encouraged to take notes during the meetings, which may include test results, diagnosis and treatment plan. Do not be afraid to ask your physician for clarification if you are unsure what he or she is saying. Your health care provider/physician will advise you when you need to schedule a follow up consultation.
Infertility: Understanding of IVF (PDF)
PowerPoint presentation in PDF format by S. Samuel Kim, MD, Director, Fertility Preservation Program Center for Advanced Reproductive Medicine.