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Infertility is a problem of the reproductive system. It affects the body's ability to reproduce. It could be caused by a problem with the man’s system, the woman’s system, or both. For a pregnancy, the following must happen:
Infertility is not just a woman's concern. Half the time, a male problem causes or contributes. Many couples have more than one factor that plays a role.
In a few cases, a cause for infertility can’t be found.
If you think you are not able to get pregnant, see your doctor early. The age of the woman and how long the couple has been trying to get pregnant may affect treatment.
Many things can cause infertility. It can be a problem in the female reproductive system, the male reproductive system, or a mix of the two. The following are things that can affect infertility.
These lifestyle habits can also affect sperm quality and function:
A couple is believed infertile if conception does not occur:
To diagnose infertility, both the man and the woman are tested.
Some health care providers can do a basic infertility evaluation. But, many causes of infertility are best treated by a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist. This is an OB/GYN who has had education and training in infertility and is certified with the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Generally, the doctor will test both partners to find the cause of infertility. The health care provider is looking for answers to these questions:
These tests are often part of the basic workup for infertility.
Other tests may be done that test the sperm's ability to penetrate the egg, as well as male hormone testing.
Men may be sent to a urologist for further testing.
Your health care provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
Once a diagnosis is made, you can work with a fertility expert to find the best treatment. Most people with infertility are treated with conventional therapies. This includes drug treatment or surgical repair of reproductive abnormalities. Depending on the cause of infertility, there are many options to offer an infertile couple.
Types of treatments for women may include:
There is a range of treatment choices available for male factor infertility. Treatment may include:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.