There's a wide range that will "qualify" someone to be considered infertile. For a man, it could be low sperm count, no sperm release, or sperm that are physically incapable of going into the egg on their own. For a women, the list seems to be greater. The range is generally seen as:
You are in your mid-30s or older, have not used birth control for 6 months, and have not been able to become pregnant.
You are in your 20s or early 30s, have not used birth control for a year or more, and have not been able to become pregnant.
How will we be tested?
As a general start-out, both partners are given a general overview. This includes:
Blood and Urine Tests- (LH, prolactin, Progesterone, thyroid, testosterone, and STD's)
There are certain tests specific to each partner that maybe done. Women may be asked to do a postcoital test (checking cervical mucous) and a home LH test. Men may be asked for a semen analysis to check the amount and "capabilities" of his sperm.
Should all the tests not give definite answers a second level of tests could be performed. A general antibody test and karyotyping will be done for both partners. For women a pelvic ultrasound, Hysterosalpingography (HSG), Sonohysterography (SHG), endometrial biopsy and laparoscopy may be performed. For men and ultrasound and/or testicular biopsy may be performed.
It's been studied that for 80% of couples, the cause is either a sperm problem, irregular or no ovulation, or blockage in fallopian tubes. For about 15% of the diagnosed 'infertile' couples, there may be no answers resulting in a diagnosis of unexplained infertility.
The most common causes of infertility have been found to be
Impaired function of sperm
Impaired delivery of sperm
General health and lifestyle
Fallopian tube damage or blockage
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
There are a variety of treatments can be done to help with any diagnosed explanation of infertility.
For men, the solution may be as simple as medication, increased frequency of intercourse or aid in unblocking tubes allowing adequate semen release.
For women, there is a large list of aids:
Clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene)
Human Menopausal Gondrotriphin or hMG (Repronex)
Follicle Stimulating Hormone or FSH (Gonal-F, Bravelle)
Human Chorionic Gonadotripin (Ovidrel, Pregnyl)
Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone
Assisted Reproductive Technology (IUI, IVF, ICSI)
As with any medical treatment, there can be complications. With fertility medications, the result may be multiple pregnancy, overstimulated ovaries, bleeding or infection, low birth weight, or birth defects.
As with any medical advice, you should only listen to your doctor. They will know the best test, treatment and level of risk for each procedure or aid you may be prescribed.
Additional links and information:
(overview of tests)http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/tc/infertility-tests-overview
(breakdown of tests)http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/infertility-reproduction-diagnosis-tests
(Understanding Infertility) http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/understanding-infertility-treatment
(infertility ‘causes’) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/infertility/DS00310/DSECTION=causes
(Discussing infertility with a dr) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/infertility/DS00310/DSECTION=preparing-for-your-appointment
(Treatments and drugs) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/infertility/DS00310/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
(Recent news and updates about infertility) http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/news-features
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