Answering Common Questions About Infertility
Navigating the world of infertility can sometimes feel overwhelming. From evaluations to diagnosis to treatment, you will need to absorb a great deal of information. In our Las Vegas fertility clinic, we want our patients to know that we are here to offer support and guidance. Dr. Littman and our team focus on each patient as an individual, working to identify the causes of infertility and then developing a detailed treatment plan.
What You Should Know About Infertility
To help patients feel more comfortable about the process, we have provided the answers to some frequently asked questions. This information will give you a good foundation as you embark on the journey towards parenthood.
What is the Definition of Infertility?
Generally, doctors characterize infertility as the inability to get pregnant after 12 months of timed intercourse, six months for women 35 and older. It is important to know that infertility affects both sexes, men and women. While there tends to be more of a focus on infertility in women, men deal with infertility issues as well. Because of this, it is crucial that both partners get tested.
What are the Causes of Infertility?
Causes for Women
The causes of infertility vary for each person and each sex. Infertility in women can be caused by a multitude of factors that may or may not be obvious without proper testing. To help give you a general understanding, here are the main causes of infertility in women.
- Ovulation problems: Different conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), and thyroid imbalances can affect your menstrual cycle and ovulation.
- Older age: As you get older, your body isn’t as equipped to conceive and carry a fetus as it once was when you were young. You have less eggs and eggs that aren’t as healthy which can lead to high risks of miscarriage, genetic abnormalities, and health issues for both you and the baby.
- Endometriosis: This condition can cause infertility issues in women because it leads to blocked fallopian tubes, disrupted implantation, inflammation in the pelvis, and affected egg quality.
- Unhealthy bodyweight: An unhealthy bodyweight- whether low or high- can increase your risk of miscarriage and infertility.
- Uterine abnormalities: Fibroids are usually noncancerous masses of muscular tissue and collagen that can develop within the wall of your uterus. Fibroids can cause infertility issues depending on the number of fibroids you have in your uterus, as well as their size and specific location.
- Tubal issues: Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes can prevent sperm from getting to your eggs and prevent the fertilized egg from getting to your uterus.
- Abnormal cervical mucus: Abnormal cervical mucus can prevent sperm from reaching the egg by not allowing sperm to survive in the hostile, acidic environment of the vagina.
Causes for Men
Just as there are causes of infertility in women, there are causes in men as well. Men dealing with infertility issues may want to get tested to see if they are suffering from any of these conditions.
- Abnormal sperm production or function: Undescended testicles, genetic defects, health problems, infections, and enlarged veins in the testes can affect the quality and production of sperm.
- Problems with delivery of sperm: Sexual problems, genetic diseases, structural problems, or damage and injury to the reproductive organs may affect the delivery of sperm.
- Overexposure to environmental factors: Factors like pesticides and other chemicals, radiation, smoking, alcohol, anabolic steroids, antibacterial medications, high blood pressure, and depression can affect male fertility. Frequent exposure to heat, such as in saunas or hot tubs, can raise body temperature and may affect sperm production as well.
- Cancer-related damage: Treatment for cancer (radiation and chemotherapy) can impair sperm production, sometimes severely.
What are Some Symptoms of Infertility?
Infertility in Women
While the obvious symptom of infertility in women is not conceiving, there are smaller symptoms to keep an eye on long before this result becomes apparent. Take a look at these symptoms of infertility to see if they seem similar to anything you’re experiencing.
- Painful or heavy periods
- No periods
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Hormone changes
- Pain during sex
Infertility in Men
Along with the symptoms of infertility in women, there is a whole different group of signs common in men. Here are a few symptoms of infertility to pay attention to when you’re actively trying to conceive.
- Changes in sexual desire
- Testicle pain or swelling
- Problems maintaining erection
- Issues with ejaculation
- Small, firm testicles
Does Infertility Impact Many People?
Though it may seem like you are the only one struggling to have a baby, one in eight couples experiences infertility issues. Statistics show that:
- 35 percent of the time, the issue is female-related
- 35 percent of the time the cause relates to male factor infertility
- 20 percent of the time the problem is a combination of both partners
- 10 percent of the time, the diagnosis is unexplained, which means the testing yielded no conclusive explanation
How Long Should I Try to Conceive Before Seeking Help?
If you haven’t had success after a year of trying, you should make plans to see a fertility specialist. Individuals and couples with known infertility issues such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, male factor infertility or irregular cycles may want to consider seeing a fertility specialist right away.
What Are the Different Types of Infertility?
There are two different types of infertility that couples can be classified into, primary and secondary. Primary infertility is the term used for individuals who have never conceived or successfully carried a pregnancy to term. Secondary infertility refers to the inability to conceive and complete a pregnancy after at least one successful pregnancy.
Though dealing with infertility issues can lead to stressful situations in your life, Red Rock Fertility can offer resources to help you achieve a successful pregnancy. Developing a basic understanding of infertility in women and men, as well as potential treatments, can empower you and your partner as you take action to become parents.