Understanding Infertility

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What is Infertility?

Infertility is a disease that results in the improper functioning of the male or female reproductive system. Infertility affects approximately 10% of the U.S. population, or some six million women and their partners. Since infertility strikes diverse groups — cutting across all ages and ethnic groups — chances are great that a friend, relative, neighbor or perhaps you are attempting to cope with the medical and emotional aspects of infertility. However, advances in assisted reproductive technology have made it possible for the vast majority of couples who have been diagnosed with infertility to fulfill their dreams of having a family.

An infertility diagnosis will generally occur if you have been unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive. If you are over the age of 35, the time of trying to conceive is reduced to less than six months. It is important to talk to our expert staff about your infertility diagnosis and any questions you might have.

In most cases, tests performed by our reproductive endocrinologist can determine the cause of infertility within a few weeks. The evaluation of fertility problems involves the assessment of important factors including quality and quantity of both sperm and egg reserve, fallopian tube patency and a survey of the uterine cavity contour. Treatment can be as simple as using oral medication to induce ovulation, or necessitate more advanced procedures such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF) or preimplantation genetic testing.

Issues that contribute to female infertility include:

  • Underlying conditions such as uterine fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis  that can make conception difficult.
  • Ovulation dysfunction as a result of a diminished ovarian reserve or irregular ovulation, which can prevent the release of a viable egg.
  • Recurrent miscarriage, a term used when a woman suffers more than two or three pregnancy losses.
  • Unexplained infertility, which describes cases where fertility specialists cannot identify a definitive factor preventing conception.

Factors that can affect sperm and contribute to male infertility include:

  • Drinking alcohol, smoking, stress and an unhealthy diet
  • Use of anabolic steroids and/or illegal drugs
  • Preexisting medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, epilepsy and hypertensive disorders
  • Use of certain antibiotics, prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications
  • Use of saunas, whirlpools or hot tubs at more than 102(degrees mark)F
  • Genetics and family history

Being diagnosed with infertility can be very overwhelming — but help is available. We realize that this can be a stressful time and empathize with you. We believe that patient education can help reduce your anxiety. Patients who understand their diagnosis and treatment can play an active role in the process and journey to maximize their chances of obtaining a healthy pregnancy.

Our goal at North Dallas IVF is to provide you with the most appropriate diagnostic and treatment options to maximize your potential for conceiving.

RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association

American Society for Reproductive Medicine/Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies

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