How is “infertility” defined?
Infertility is the inability to achieve pregnancy while having frequent unprotected sex for at least one year. For couples who meet certain age and health criteria, the minimum time may be as low as six or three months of frequent sex without the use of contraception. It’s often the case that couples who are trying to get pregnant may not have success in the first few months, as conception is only possible for a few days surrounding ovulation – which happens about midway through your cycle.
The providers of Steward Medical Group Women’s Health Associates are experienced in helping women with a variety of fertility problems, from hormonal imbalance to blocked tubes and damaged internal structures. Learn more about the options that may be available to you below.
We’re having problems conceiving. When should we see a doctor?
Any time you are concerned about your health is a legitimate time to schedule an appointment with your gynecologist or PCP. Generally, most physicians and fertility groups agree that a minimum of 12 months of unprotected sex without becoming pregnant is grounds for seeking fertility care for women under the age of 35. If you are between the ages of 35-40, then wait to seek care until after at least 6 months of sex. If you are a woman over the age of 40, then you may seek care after 3 months of unprotected sex. Other reasons to seek fertility care around the six- or three-month mark include:
- Irregular (or no) menstruation
- You have had one (or more) miscarriages
- You’ve undergone cancer treatment
- You’ve had fertility problems in the past
- You’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis or another pelvic-area disease
The root of an infertility issue can be in either the male or the female. If the cause of your conception difficulties is unknown, your partner should also be a part of the fertility care process.
What are the causes of infertility?
There are many possible causes of infertility, only some of which are understood by physicians. Possible causes include:
- Problems with ovulation, such as PCOS or hormonal imbalance
- Blocked/scarred fallopian tubes
- Male fertility issues (such as low sperm count or motility problems)
Cause is indeterminable in approximately 10-15 percent of all couples challenged with infertility.
What fertility tests are available?
Providers may use one or more tests to look for the cause of your fertility issues. These may include a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), which is an x-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes done with special radiographic dye for enhanced viewing. A sonohystogram is another advanced imaging procedure for viewing the uterine cavity. During this in-office procedure, special fluid is injected into the uterine cavity (via the cervix). The provider then uses ultrasound technology to view the structure of the uterine cavity. Your physician may also order tests to evaluate your hormone levels. Your partner may be advised to have a semen analysis.
What fertility treatment options are available?
Fertility issues may be addressed medically, through surgery, by intrauterine insemination, or via assisted-reproduction technologies like in vitro fertilization.
- Medical therapies may include oral drugs that regulate ovulatory function. Women may use these drugs for up to six ovulation cycles before attempting other therapies. Gonadotropin treatment is another medical therapy that may be available to you. These injections can help stimulate ovulation.
- Surgery to remove fibroids or cysts or treat endometriosis may make pregnancy possible. At Steward Medical Group Women’s Health Associates, providers use the da Vinci Surgical System to perform these minimally invasive outpatient procedures.
- Intrauterine insemination is another option that can be performed at our locations. This therapy may be used in conjunction with fertility drugs.
Schedule An Appointment for Fertility Care in Gilbert, Mesa or Tempe, AZ
Call 480-257-2700 to schedule your appointment with our fertility specialist. Why wait any longer to take the first steps in growing your family?