The normal rule of thumb when it comes to infertility is twelve consecutive months of unsuccessful attempts at becoming pregnant. If a couple has tried to conceive for one year and failed, the resulting diagnosis is infertility. The evaluation for infertility can often begin after 6 months of not getting pregnant, depending on the circumstances. The doctor will perform a variety of tests on both potential parents to determine where the problem lies. The cause can be anything from insufficient sperm count on behalf of the father to hormonal imbalances on the part of the mother. Once the doctor knows where the problem lies, he can recommend possible solutions.
Most cases of female infertility are caused by problems with ovulation. Without ovulation, there are no eggs to be fertilized. Some signs that a woman is not ovulating normally include irregular or absent menstrual periods.
Ovulation problems are often caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a hormone imbalance problem which can interfere with normal ovulation. PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility. Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) is another cause of ovulation problems. POI occurs when a woman's ovaries stop working normally before she is 40. POI is not the same as early menopause.
One-third of infertility is because of the man. Infertility in men is most often caused by:
Sometimes a man is born with the problems that affect his sperm. Other times problems start later in life due to illness or injury. For example, cystic fibrosis often causes infertility in men.
Less common causes of fertility problems in women include:
Infertility can be caused by many different things. Obesity, endometriosis, ovarian fibroids, uterine fibroids, hormone imbalances, and poor nutrition can all play a role in a woman's reproductive health. Women who have abnormal periods due to uterine fibroids may have difficulty conceiving due to the internal environment of the uterus. Often times, it is a combination of factors that result in infertility. Hormonal imbalances can trigger a variety of issues, including the suppression of ovulation or an irregular cycle that can hinder conception. Doctors may be able to correct this particular problem with hormone-based medications to bring the body back into balance.
Depending on the cause, infertility can be successfully treated. If infertility is caused by obesity, hormonal imbalances, or physiological malfunctions within the body, the doctor may be able to correct the problem. In cases where ovarian cysts may be preventing the release of an egg, removing the cysts may be able to correct the problem. Other reproductive health conditions like endometriosis may need to be brought under control before the couple tries to conceive. There are certain conditions that may cause permanent infertility. Advanced diabetes may cause damage to the kidneys that makes it difficult to conceive and bear a child.
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