According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 6% of married women aged 15 to 44 years in the United States are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying. Also, about 12% of women aged 15 to 44 years in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. These cases of reproductive health issues are defined as infertility.
Somerset Gynecology & Obstetrics is here to help couples struggling to start a family. Our practice offers a full team of physicians, a care environment designed to build long-term relationships, and the latest in surgical and medical care options. Our team, our services, and our tools combine to create a diverse and well-rounded work environment - with you and your family planning goals at the central focus of it all. To discuss your care needs and schedule an appointment, please contact us online or at (248) 816-9200.
“Infertility” refers to any health issue that prevents a couple from achieving pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. There are a variety of physical conditions, diseases, and environmental factors that can cause complete or partial infertility in both men and women. Depending on the nature of the issue, some cases of partial infertility can be reversed.
"Infertility exams" include a wide variety of tests that evaluate the reasoning behind a woman (or man's) inability to conceive. These can range in nature from physical exams, to laboratory testing, to imaging testing.
Specific laboratory tests may include a urine test, a progesterone test, thyroid function testing, and ovarian reserve testing.
Specific imaging tests may include an ultrasound (to look for changes in ovarian follicle), a sonohysterography (to look for scarring inside the uterus), a hysterosalpingography (to look for fallopian tube blockages), or a laparoscopy (to view the reproductive system with a small camera).
The most common reason women suffer from infertility is a lack of or an irregular pattern of ovulation. (No egg means no chance to conceive.) Scarring of the reproductive organs, blockages of the fallopian tubes, and medical conditions that cause shifts in reproductive hormones can also cause infertility.
Age affects fertility. In her 20s and 30s, a healthy woman (with a healthy partner) has a 25% - 20% chance of conceiving during a single menstrual cycle. After the age of 37, this chance begins to drop due to aging factors. By the age of 40, the chance of a woman becoming pregnant drops to less than 10% per menstrual cycle.
Additionally, lifestyle factors can affect infertility. These include being underweight, being overweight, exercising too much or too little, and drinking at heavy levels.
Women are advised to speak to a doctor about an infertility exam if they meet one or more of the following conditions:
When starting to visit with a fertility specialist, you will discuss your medical history and undergo a physical exam. Women should be prepared to answer questions about their menstrual cycle, their current medications, their history of illness and surgeries (particularly those affecting the reproductive organs), their lifestyle (i.e. exercise, diet, alcohol use, etc.), and their sexual history (i.e. methods of birth control, lubrication use, prior relationships, etc.).
Based on this exam and your medical history, your doctor will determine which specific infertility tests may be the most beneficial. This tests may include the imaging or laboratory testing procedures mentioned above.
It is important to note that a full infertility exam may run the length of several menstrual cycles, particularly if hormone level tracking is needed.
Treatment options for infertility depend heavily on the cause of infertility. In general, doctors are likely to advise patients to make lifestyle adjustments to boost their reproductive health. Changes in medication or surgery may also be recommended to address an underlying medical cause of infertility. If needed, doctors can also prescribe medications or lifestyle changes to address unbalanced hormone levels or a lack of ovulation.
If treatment does help a couple conceive on their own, assisted reproductive care is an option. This includes in vitro fertilization, or IVF. Should this become a necessary part of your treatment, you will be able to discuss the process in full with your doctor.
Somerset Gynecology and Obstetrics is committed to providing every woman with the assistance she needs while trying to conceive. Contact us today to book your next appointment.