Infertility and You

Making Sense of What it All Means

Infertility - the inability to become pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse, or six months if a woman is 35 (or older), can result from fertility problems with either the male or female partner, or both. The split is roughly down the middle: an estimated 40 percent of diagnosed cases of infertility are due to male factors, another 40 percent are from female reproductive issues. In the remaining 20 percent of couples seeking help for infertility, there are contributing factors from both partners or no cause is found (unexplained infertility).

Infertility is most often a treatable condition. Still, it can feel like a crisis. A sense of guilt or inadequacy is common.

Am I Fertile?
Diagnosis begins with thorough medical histories of each partner. Topics to be addressed include previous and present medical conditions, medications, sexual histories, and reproductive experiences.

Male and female physical exam history is essential.

Semen analysis assesses sperm health and function.

Female ovulatory functions may be assessed by monitoring menstrual cycle history. Hormone levels are measured with blood tests performed on the third day of her menstrual cycle.

Additional testing may be required, including ultrasound examination of the ovaries and uterus, and hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to check for structural problems of the fallopian tubes or uterus.

In most couples, infertility is caused by sperm problems, inadequate ovulation, and/or tubal blockage. For about 15 percent of couples, all tests are normal and the diagnosis of 'unexplained infertility' is made.