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Understanding Infertility

The Basics Of Fertility

Infertility: The inability to become pregnant after one year of trying.

Most people do not realize that 85% of all couples trying to conceive (TTC) will become pregnant within one year. So, if you have only been trying for a few months, do not despair…it may be a question of trying just a little longer. Yet, according the definition above, if you are unable to become pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse (six months if the female partner is older than 35), then there may be fertility problems with either yourself or your partner. Surprisingly, the causes of infertility are split evenly between the sexes: 40% are male factor and 40% are female reproductive issues. In the remaining 20%, both partners contribute to 10% and the remaining 10% of the time the cause cannot be identified.

Infertility is a disease. So many feel a certain stigma when faced with pressure from family, friends and coworkers to answer the question: “When are you going to have a baby?” Infertility is a tough and distressing condition to have and one that few in the general public understand. What is most important to remember is that it is most often a treatable condition, providing you go to the right doctor to be evaluated. Fifteen percent of all couples are estimated to be infertile, so you are definitely not alone!

When do you know if you need to be evaluated for infertility?

  • The woman is between 30 – 35 years of age and has been trying to conceive for over a year with unprotected, timed intercourse.
  • The woman is between 35-39 years of age and has not conceived after six months of unprotected, timed intercourse.
  • The woman is over 40 years of age and has not conceived after three months of unprotected, timed intercourse.
  • The male partner has a low sperm parameters.
  • Both the male and female partner have known fertility risk factors, such as azoospermia, amenorrhea, or a surgical reason such as an oopherectomy.
  • Single women or lesbian couples who need the assisted reproductive services.

 

Finding The Cause Of Your Infertility

After your consultation with Dr. Ramirez, if he determines that you fall into one of the categories listed above, you will be scheduled for an evaluation. The diagnostic process begins with taking thorough medical histories from both partners. In most couples, the cause of infertility is either sperm related (male factor), inadequate ovulation and/or tubal blockage (female reproductive factors). There are other factors as well which we will explain in further detail on the following pages: