Infertility Frequently Asked Questions
When to see a fertility specialist?
Some signs you may be ready to visit a fertility specialist include:
- You are age 34 and younger but can’t get pregnant after 1 year of trying, or age 35 or older unable to get pregnant after 6 months.
- You have irregular menstrual cycles.
- You want to have children later in life.
- You have blocked fallopian tubes.
- You have been diagnosed with cancer during reproductive years.
- You have endometriosis and are having a hard time getting pregnant.
- You have unexplained infertility.
- You are a man with male factor infertility, such as sperm abnormalities.
- You are a woman with ovulation disorders.
- Your family history puts you at risk for transmitting some genetic disorder.
- You are a man with low sperm count.
- You are a male with abnormal ejaculation conditions (retrograde ejaculation, impotence, spinal cord injury).
- You are a woman with a cervical condition that bars sperm from entering the uterus.
- You want to use donor sperm to get pregnant.
What happens during an initial visit and evaluation?
Every fertility evaluation includes physical exams and a medical background check. The doctor will also want to assess each partner’s medical and sexual history. Men will undergo a semen test to establish sperm count and sperm movement. Women will undergo one or more in a series of tests to determine if ovulation is occurring, as well as tests to confirm that tubes are open.
Depending on the results of the above tests, further evaluation may be required. DFW Center for Fertility & IVF provides a wide range of on-site tests in our state-of-the-art fertility lab.
What is polycystic ovary syndrome?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) occurs when a woman’s hormones are unbalanced, causing lack of ovulation. This causes problems with her periods and makes pregnancy very difficult.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis impacts women during the reproductive years and is related to an abnormal growth of tissue lining the uterus (the endometrium). This endometrial tissue attaches to organs in the pelvis and begins to grow, causing irritation, pain and infertility. A patient with endometriosis may have few or no symptoms, but some experience severe menstrual cramps, chronic pelvic pain, or painful intercourse. Infertility may be the only symptom of endometriosis.
How does age affect fertility?
As women reach their 30s, they experience a natural decline in fertility. Furthermore, complications during pregnancy are more common when women reach age 35. Age-related decline in fertility may be due, in part, to the following:
- A decrease in the number and health of the eggs to be ovulated
- Changes in the hormones resulting in altered ovulation
- A decrease in the frequency of intercourse
- Prescence of other medical and gynecologic conditions that interfere with conception (endometriosis, uterine fibroids, etc.)
What is intrauterine insemination?
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, is a procedure that can be used to treat infertility. With intrauterine insemination, sperm are directly injected into the woman’s uterus. This eliminates any barriers to a successful entry of the sperm into the uterus. This is a potential option if the male has a low sperm count or to improve on chances of getting pregnant. Be sure to go over the risks and costs of IUI with Dr. Beshay.
What is IVF?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technique that involves removing sperm and eggs, having them fertilized in a laboratory, then placing the fertilized embryo in your uterus. IVF may be an option if either partner is diagnosed with:
- Low sperm counts
- Problems with the uterus or fallopian tubes
- Problems with ovulation
- Antibody problems that harm sperm
- The inability of sperm to penetrate or survive in the cervical mucus
- An unexplained fertility problem
What are your pregnancy options after tubal ligation?
Tubal ligation is intended to be a permanent form of birth control. But if you want to try and become pregnant after you have had a tubal ligation, you can consider options of tubal ligation reversal or in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
Tubal reversal requires that you go back into surgery to have your fallopian tubes rejoined. This may not be an option if the remaining tubes are not long enough to rejoin, and could still prevent pregnancy if there has been any damage to the tubes.
In-vitro fertilization requires that you take hormones to increase the likelihood of eggs releasing from the ovaries, then the eggs will be removed from your body and implanted directly into the uterus.
What are 3rd party reproductive processes?
The phrase “third-party reproduction” refers to the use of eggs, sperm, or embryos that have been donated by a third person (donor) to enable an infertile individual or couple (intended recipient) to become parents.