Reproductive challenges can be caused by a variety of barriers for both men and women. Experts in reproductive endocrinology and infertility can help you understand the potential causes of infertility, which is an important first step on your journey to parenthood. Here our experts share the three most common causes of infertility, and how fertility treatments can help those struggling to conceive.
1. Age and egg quality
Women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have, and as time goes on, those eggs age and quality decreases. Generally, egg quality begins to decline over the age of 30, and begins to sharply decline after age 35. With many people choosing to delay starting a family, age and egg quality directly impact their ability to achieve a successful pregnancy. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still build the family you want after age 35!
Fortunately, there are various fertility tests that can help you determine your egg quantity and quality, like an AMH (anti-mullerian hormone) blood test and AFC (antra-follicle count) ultrasound. The AMH level will provide a number reflecting egg quantity, while the ultrasound reveals your baseline follicle count. Assisted reproductive treatment options like IUI (intrauterine insemination) or IVF (in vitro fertilization) can help patients increase the chances of conceiving. IUI cycles enable the clinician to bypass the cervix and deposit the sperm in the uppermost portion of the uterus, close to the fallopian tubes, where conception will hopefully take place. Opting for an IVF cycle provides more options to the patient including preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) in which biopsies of the embryos are tested for possible genetic conditions before the embryo(s) are transferred into the patient’s uterus. Egg donation is available to those whose egg quality or quantity aren’t optimal. By utilizing the latest technology, women in their 30s and 40s can achieve a healthy pregnancy and make their dreams of parenthood a reality.
2. Male factor infertility
Men play just as an important role as women when it comes to getting pregnant. Sperm abnormalities account for an estimated one-third of all cases of infertility, with issues ranging from low sperm count to abnormal sperm shape, to lack of motility (movement). While urologists can help men with certain sperm issues, IVF with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is often the best way to overcome male factor infertility. ICSI allows skilled embryologists to pick the best sperm, and manually inject it into the egg, increasing chances of fertilization.
3. Underlying reproductive health conditions
There are other underlying conditions some women experience that can affect their fertility. The most common conditions include PCOS, endometriosis, and fibroids. Being properly diagnosed is a crucial step in finding a successful treatment plan. Many women ignore either their symptoms or are told by their physician that it’s “normal,” when, in fact, these conditions could be the reason for their infertility.
Unfortunately, PCOS and endometriosis are often overlooked or misdiagnosed conditions, leading to delays in diagnosis and treatment. There are minimally-invasive surgical options available to remove fibroids and help symptoms of endometriosis readily available. IUI or IVF are helpful treatments for women suffering from PCOS by helping them to ovulate or by bypassing natural ovulation altogether.
Rest assured that our team of specialists will listen to your needs, order the necessary tests, and help guide you every step of the way! No matter what the reason, we are here to help empower you with solutions to build your family. To learn more about your fertility testing and treatment options, call us today at (201) 666-4200.