Frequently Asked Questions About Infertility Part One
Infertility is an emotional laden issue that can also be embarrassing to discuss with others. Some people even have a difficult time speaking with their doctors about the problem. It is important to note that no one is to blame for infertility, just like no one is to blame for leukemia or diabetes. Infertility is a major issue and is not a small
problem to be brushed aside an inconvenience. Infertility is "a disease of the reproductive system that impairs the body's ability to perform the basic function of reproduction." Let's look at some frequently asked questions regarding infertility.
What exactly is infertility any way?
Infertility is "the inability to naturally conceive a child or to carry a pregnancy to full term." The majority of medical experts will not classify a person and/or a couple as infertile until they have been trying for at least a year to get pregnant without any success. Women who find themselves able to become pregnant but then have repeat miscarriages are often classified as being infertile. There are numerous reasons why a couple may find themselves unable to conceive a child and medical help is often required.
How many people in the United States are infertile?
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine estimates that 6.1 million individuals residing in the United States are infertile. This works out to be approximately ten percent of those of reproductive age. One third of the time it is due to a male factor, the other third of the time it is a female factor, the problem co-existing between the man and the woman accounts for the problem 15 percent of the time while there are still other instances where the cases of infertility is mysterious and unexplained.
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But the concern for the pregnancy does not end there. In order for a woman to carry a baby to full term the embryo must be as healthy as possible and it must follow a growth cycle. This is affected by how healthy a woman's hormonal environment is. If any of the above factors is compromised in one way or another, infertility can be the consequence.
How is infertility diagnosed in men?
A doctor will perform a thorough physical exam on a man and will consider his past medical history as well as the current status of his health. The man may need to undergo blood tests that look for a variety of diseases or hormonal imbalances. If those yield nothing out of the ordinary then a semen sample will need to be taken. The sample will assess the volume of semen the man has as well as the number of sperm and how mobile the sperm are. The contents of the scrotum will need to be palpated while the patient is standing up while the peritesticular area need also be scrutinized. Some things a doctor will look for are irregularities of the epididymis, tenderness or the presence of cysts.
How is infertility diagnosed in women?
The search for infertility must begin with a look at medical history and current health as well as a complete physical. Very often other kinds of medical tests are also needed such as an endometrial biopsy which tests the
health of the uterine lining, hormone tests which measure the balance of female hormones, measurements of how well the thyroid is functioning (a TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone level that lies somewhere between one and two is believed to be right for pregnancy to take place) and a laparoscopy which makes it possible for the physician to see all of the pelvic organs. A measurement of the hormone progesterone is sometimes taken when a woman is in the second half of her menstrual cycle in order to confirm that ovulation has definitely taken place.
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