5 things you should know about fertility
If you’re trying to start a family, it can be a really exciting time. But with celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and Michelle Obama openly talking about challenges getting pregnant, many people may have a lot of questions around pregnancy and infertility treatments.
1. It’s common for people to have problems getting pregnant. You are not alone if you are facing some challenges getting pregnant; one in six couples have issues with getting pregnant.
2. Your personal and family history are important. Knowing your family history can help you start the conversation with your physician about fertility options or possibly challenges that may come up when trying to have a baby. Women with a history of abnormal fallopian tubes or surgery on their fallopian tubes, uterus or ovaries should consider getting a fertility evaluation after six months of attempting pregnancy or sooner.
Family members who have struggled with fertility may be a clue to the reasons that you may be struggling and should be discussed with your care provider. Additionally, a family history of genetically inherited diseases or relatives with significant learning disabilities may provide clues to your personal struggles and will allow your health care team to design a personalized diagnostic and care plan for you.
3. Get evaluated. If you are attempting pregnancy with a male partner or with donor sperm and are less than 35 years of age, a fertility problem may be present if attempts at pregnancy have been ongoing for one or more years. After one year of attempts, fertility evaluation is warranted. If you are older than 35 years, due to your age, a medical evaluation should be initiated if you have been attempting pregnancy for six or more months.
4. Know your options. There are plenty of options out there if you are facing some challenges. Infertility can be treated with medicine, surgery, artificial insemination or assisted reproductive technology. You can also have children through in vitro fertilization or through egg and/or sperm donation.
It is important to stress that most people struggling with fertility problems will not need complex or expensive treatment. Treatments can be as simple as recommendations on the frequency and timing of intercourse, medications, outpatient surgery or the numerous options for assisted reproductive technology (ART). ART options include intrauterine inseminations (IUI) with partner or donor sperm, in vitro fertilization, egg donation, embryo donation and working with gestational carriers.
5. It’s not just a woman’s problem. Infertility is not always a woman’s problem. In one-third of cases, the male is a contributing factor towards a couple’s fertility problems. In upwards of 20 percent of cases, the woman has no fertility problems, and the male partner will need evaluation and possible treatment.
For even more information, check out this video with Dr. Strawn:
About the Author
Becky Imig is a social media manager at Advocate Aurora Health Care. Becky oversees the strategy and day-to-day management of social media at Aurora Health Care. Becky has more than 10 years of experience in the digital marketing space from analytics, content development, paid search, SEO and of course, social media. When not managing social media, you’ll find her being active outdoors – kayaking, hiking, playing tennis, etc. and hanging out with her family.