If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you’re not alone. Infertility is heartbreakingly common, affecting 1 in 8 couples, according to RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association.
Infertility can have a variety of causes. Fortunately, however, many of the conditions that interfere with pregnancy can be successfully treated.
Here at Albany Obstetrics & Gynecology, our team of care providers includes doctors with expertise in diagnosing and treating infertility. We would like to share the following information with you to help you understand more about infertility and the treatments that can address it.
Having infertility means not being able to get pregnant despite having regular unprotected sex for a year (or for six months if you’re a woman over the age of 35). It also refers to women who can get pregnant but experience repeated miscarriages.
Although you may think of infertility as being more of a woman’s issue than a man’s, that’s not true. One-third of infertility cases occur because of a problem in the female partner, one-third occur because of a problem in the male partner, and one-third are either unexplained or a result of a problem with both partners, according to RESOLVE.
In men, common causes of infertility include enlarged veins on the testicles and problems with the production or number of sperm.
In women, common causes of infertility include:
In addition, lifestyle factors such as excessive stress, being overweight or underweight, smoking, drug and alcohol use, poor diet, high-intensity exercise, and sexually transmitted diseases may interfere with the ability to conceive. Certain medications and health conditions may also impair fertility.
If you’re not able to get pregnant or stay pregnant, our providers perform a full evaluation of your reproductive health. They may also run tests on your partner and/or refer your partner for evaluation by a doctor who specializes in male infertility.
Your evaluation typically includes a discussion about your health and reproductive history, a physical exam, a pelvic exam, a urine test, and blood work. Your provider may also recommend that you track your ovulation.
If needed, we may also recommend tests, such as ultrasound or hysterosalpingography, which use dye and X-ray imaging to check the health of your reproductive system.
Once we understand more about your condition, your treatment options may include one or more of the following:
Medication: Various types of medication can address infertility, typically by stimulating ovulation or correcting hormone imbalances.
Lifestyle changes: These may include losing or gaining weight, cutting back on exercise, managing stress, or changing your diet.
Surgery: Depending on the cause of your infertility, your provider may recommend a surgical procedure to correct problems in your reproductive system. For example, if you have endometriosis, surgery may be performed to remove endometrial tissues (implants) from pelvic organs.
Intrauterine insemination: Using this procedure, your provider inserts sperm directly into your uterus.
In vitro fertilization: IVF is a type of assisted reproductive technique that joins eggs and sperm in a laboratory. After fertilization occurs, the embryo is implanted into your uterus.
If you’re not having luck getting pregnant, we invite you to reach out to us for an evaluation. Schedule an appointment by calling our office in Albany, New York, or using our convenient contact form.