Deciding to bring a baby into your life marks the beginning of an incredibly unique journey. It’s the start of a period of great excitement, but also one of great anxiety. The cycle of anticipation followed by the disappointment of a negative pregnancy test is one of the most difficult experiences that a couple can go through together, especially for the prospective mother, who is ready to embrace the challenges and joys of pregnancy.
For many women, pregnancy isn’t something that happens on the first try. Despite this, many women are ashamed to talk about their experiences with infertility, keeping concerns about pregnancy and the difficult months of trial and error to themselves. But if you talk about it, it’s likely you’ll find that infertility is something that affected a friend, a sister, a co-worker or even your own mother.
Infertility may be a common problem, but it is far from untreatable. There are countless reasons why a couple may experience difficulties getting pregnant, and stressing about infertility is only going to add to that list of potential problems.
Working with a fertility expert can help you determine what may be going wrong, and can ultimately help you finally bring a child into your life.
Causes of Infertility
When pregnancy doesn’t happen as quickly as you initially hope, the worst thing that you can do is to start playing the blame game. Infertility can be caused by either partner, and it doesn’t do much good to start pointing fingers and letting frustration grow.
Infertility affects one in every six couples, and about 60 percent of those cases are caused by female infertility. Female infertility is largely the result of irregular ovulation, damage to the fallopian tubes or uterus, or medical conditions such as endometriosis. Hormonal issues, especially those caused by increased age, can also limit fertility potential.
There are a wide number of environmental factors that can contribute to infertility. These factors include:
- Hormone imbalances
- Eating disorders
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Thyroid gland problems
- Excessive exercise and heavy lifting
- Irregular menstrual cycles
These factors contribute to infertility by disrupting ovulation. However, they can frequently be addressed by working with your fertility specialist to make simple lifestyle changes.
More severe cases of infertility may be caused by damage to the fallopian tubes or uterus. Some of the most common cases of this include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Adhesions or scar tissues
- Chronic disease, including autoimmune disease
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Birth defects
While these issues are slightly more difficult to treat, there are plenty of options that can help correct them and ultimately improve fertility.
Fertility Treatment Options
When couples experience intense frustration with infertility, they may want to attempt to immediately use the most aggressive form of infertility treatment to try to correct the problem and ensure pregnancy. But that’s often unnecessary. Working with a skilled and experienced fertility expert can help you determine the best fertility treatment for you and your partner.
Some of the most effective fertility treatments include:
- Using fertility drugs: Fertility drugs are only recommended under the supervision of a fertility specialist. The drugs are most effective when infertility develops as a result of hormone imbalance. The best type of infertility drug depends on the precise cause of the hormonal imbalance, as well as the severity and duration of the problem.
- Implantation or insemination: Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is one of the most popular fertility treatment options. This form of treatment takes the father’s sperm and places it directly within the mother’s egg, thereby creating a more optimal chance of pregnancy.
- Surgical intervention: There are several causes of infertility that require surgical intervention to correct, and there are a handful of types of surgery that can help. Some of the greatest concerns that require surgical intervention include blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, fibroids or ovarian cysts. Great strides have been made in the field of robotic surgery to address these conditions, allowing for less invasive procedures and shorter recovery times.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF): One of the most popular – and advanced – treatments for infertility is IVF. In this case, the egg and sperm are collected and combined outside the body, then transferred back into the womb or frozen. This technique is especially useful in situations of male-caused infertility, for example, when infertility is caused by a result of low-sperm count.
Infertility is a highly stressful experience, but it’s important to know you are never alone. If you’re concerned about infertility, contact your fertility specialist in San Antonio at the Advanced Fertility Center.