Facts and Myths about Infertility - Large

If you’re experiencing infertility, you’re not alone. Generally defined, infertility means that you are unable to get pregnant, or conceive, after one year of unprotected sex. Many couples struggle with infertility. In fact, about 12 percent of women ages 15 to 44 have trouble getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. Despite, or perhaps because of, the prevalence of infertility, myths abound. Getting the facts can help you take your next best step.

Fact vs. Fiction

Fiction: Infertility is just a woman’s problem.

Infertility is not just a woman’s issue, says Steven Lindheim, MD, of Wright State Physicians Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Lindheim explains that men, too, can have conditions that contribute to infertility. It’s important that both of you be evaluated during an infertility work-up.

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Fact: You MAY get pregnant if you just give it time.

Infertility is a medical problem that can often be treated. At least 50 percent of couples who complete an infertility evaluation will have a successful pregnancy after treatment, according to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.

Fact: I should try to get pregnant for six months before calling my doctor.

If you’re younger than 35, most experts say to wait a year. However, if you’re 35 or older, see your health care provider after six months of trying unsuccessfully. Some health problems increase the risk of infertility, including irregular or no menstrual periods, very painful periods, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or more than one miscarriage.

What can I do to prevent fertility issues?

Dr. Lindheim talks about steps you can take to prevent fertility issues, starting with knowing your risk factors.

Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Here’s a quick checklist of tips to decrease the likelihood that you or your partner will have fertility issues:

  • Follow healthy eating habits
  • Exercise regularly
  • Don’t smoke
  • Avoid alcohol in excess
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid steroid and illicit drug use
  • Be aware that fertility declines with age
At least 50 percent of couples who complete an infertility evaluation will have a successful pregnancy after treatment.

Treatment Options

If you’re experiencing infertility, treatment options may vary, depending on your age, how long you’ve been experiencing the problem and what the causes are:

  • Medicine: Several medicines are used to treat infertility by stimulating the ovaries to begin the process of ovulation. Many fertility drugs increase the chances of having multiple births of twins, triplets or more.
  • Surgery: Blocked or swollen fallopian tubes can cause infertility. Your doctor may choose to examine your fallopian tubes during a laparoscopy that involves inserting a viewing tube (called a laparoscope) through a small incision. Depending on your symptoms, you may have a transvaginal ultrasound to check for fibroids in your uterus.