Infertility at a glance
- Infertility is generally defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months of regular, unprotected sex in couples with the female under age 35, and 6 months of failure with a woman 35 or older.
- In the United States 10% to 15% of couples struggle with infertility.
- Infertility is a disease that can be caused by numerous factors like hormone imbalances, genetic issues, structural abnormalities and lifestyle issues.
- We provide many treatment options like medications, intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF).
What is infertility?
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) states that infertility is the inability to conceive a child or carry it through birth after 12 months of somewhat frequent, unprotected sex. This time frame is for couples in which the woman is under age 35, and that shifts to 6 months of trying in women older than that.
After these time frames specified, an individual or couple should seek an evaluation. However, age, physical findings or medical history may dictate earlier evaluation.
Infertility can stem from a disease of the female or male reproductive tract, which hinders the conception of a baby or the ability to carry and deliver a child after pregnancy. In the United States, an average of 10% to 15% of couples struggle with infertility.
Not being able to conceive is usually the result of either male infertility (about a third of cases), female infertility (a third), or a combination of male and female factors. Twenty percent of the cases are diagnosed as unexplained fertility, when our doctors are not able to pinpoint the exact reason for infertility.
What are the causes of infertility?
It has several causes, such as irregularities of the function or structure of the reproductive system in males, females or both. Additional factors increase the likelihood of men and women being infertile.
- Hormone imbalances.
- Genetic issues or abnormalities.
- Structural anomalies.
- Surgeries or other medical treatments.
- Lifestyle factors.
- Prior injuries.
Infertility in women
Most cases in women are due to issues with ovulation, the monthly release of a mature egg. Warning signs that an ovulation disorder is present include absent or irregular menstrual periods.
Certain conditions and lifestyle habits can increase the risk of infertility in women.
- Environmental factors like medications, tobacco use, etc.
- Hormonal imbalances.
- Conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), diminished ovarian reserve and primary ovarian insufficiency (POI).
In men, it can usually be attributed to poor sperm quality or quantity. Lifestyle choices and overall health can also be factors. Low sperm count or overall sperm health can be affected by the following things:
- Smoking cigarettes or heavy alcohol intake.
- Medications or recreational drug use.
- Heat exposure from hot tubs, saunas, etc.
Reproductive services for LGBTQ+ family building
We also offer LGBTQ+ individuals and couples assisted reproductive services. Our fertility specialist have used reproductive options for many years to enable LGBTQ+ individuals and couples to reach their family goals.
Our services that can help LGBTQ+ couples and individuals have a child include third-party reproduction services, such as sperm or egg donation and gestational carriers with the use of IVF, and/or IUI treatments can also help. Dallas IVF also hosts virtual and in person events to connect with the local LGBTQ+ community and those experiencing infertility.
Infertility testing and diagnosis
Our fertility doctors take a step-by-step approach that begins by collecting the medical histories of each partner. Important medical information includes but is not limited to the following:
- Past injuries.
- Reproductive experiences.
- Sexual histories.
- Current medical conditions.
After the medical history is collected, our doctors will conduct a physical exam. They may also run an assortment of tests that look for causes that commonly harm fertility.
For our female patients, our doctors begin with a pelvic exam. An ultrasound will be performed to look at the ovaries and the uterus, and we will conduct a blood test to look at hormones. Other tests like a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) may be administered to check for openness of the fallopian tubes. In some instances, minor surgeries may be performed to check the ovaries, uterus or fallopian tubes for problems.
We will conduct a physical exam of the man to detect possible structural abnormalities. We will likely also perform a semen and sperm analysis to look for a cause of male infertility. Additionally, blood tests may be administered to look for hormone issues that could make it more difficult for the man to impregnate his partner.
For some couples, males or females, the cause cannot be determined. Getting pregnant involves many components working together like healthy sperm production, normal egg production, successful implantation of the embryo in the uterus, and not having a miscarriage after pregnancy.
Due to that, it can be difficult to diagnose the exact cause. Unfortunately with current technology, we are not always able to diagnose where the problem arises. When that happens, it is called unexplained fertility. About 20% of infertile couples experience unexplained infertility.
We have many treatment options for couples experiencing infertility. Some of these options include procedures like IUI and IVF. Sperm, egg and embryo donation and freezing are also available treatment options.