FAQ About Fertility
- Is infertility a woman's problem? Who is at fault?
Infertility affects both men and women. Approximately one-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third attributed to the male partner, and the final third is caused by a combination of problems or is unexplained.
- Does birth control have lasting effects that impair fertility?
Birth control pills generally do not affect fertility. Within a couple months of stopping pills, your menstrual cycle will return to normal.
- What are my chances of conception?
Chances of conception are dependent upon the quality and quantity of your eggs. Women are most fertile between the ages of 20 and 24, and fertility declines with age. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, every month that a healthy, fertile 30-year-old woman tries to become pregnant, her chances are around 20%. By the time you are 40 years old, your chance will be less than five percent per menstrual cycle.
- When is the best time to try to conceive?
In order to conceive, it is best to have intercourse during your luteinizing hormone (LH) surge. This happens halfway through a menstrual cycle (around day 14 of a typical 28-day cycle). At this time, the body releases an egg. The egg can only live for one day. If conception does not occur, the egg dies and pregnancy will not happen that month. However, sperm can live in the reproductive track for up to four days, so intercourse prior to the egg's release can still result in conception. For the greatest chance of conception, you should try between days 12 and 16 of the menstrual cycle.
- How can I know if I am ovulating?
If you have your period at the same time every month, it is easy to know when you are ovulating. However, not everyone's cycle is quite so predictable. Some signs that you are ovulating include: changes in cervical mucus, light spotting, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, increased sex drive, and slight cramping around the pelvis.
- When should I see a doctor or fertility expert?
If you are under the age of 35 and have been trying to conceive for over a year, you should schedule an appointment with a fertility doctor. If you are over 35 and have been trying to conceive for at least six months, you will want to see a specialist. You may want to seek help sooner if you suspect that you are infertile due to a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, irregular menstrual cycles, miscarriage, or any other potential indicator.
- What kinds of fertility testing will a doctor perform?
Your doctor will most likely perform blood tests to check hormone levels. You will also have an ultrasound to evaluate the appearance of the uterus and ovaries as well as an x-ray to look at the fallopian tubes. Your male partner will undergo a complete semen analysis.
- What sort of treatments are available?
As many as 85-90% of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy or surgery. "Assisted reproduction" treatments include in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT).
If you have any additional questions about fertility and pregnancy, please use the comment section below.