What is Infertility?
Infertility is defined as 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 may find it necessary to seek medical assistance in order to do so.
The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination (INCIID) deems a couple to be infertile if after one year of unprotected intercourse they have not conceived. This drops to six months if the woman is 35 years of age or older. The reason for this is that a woman's fertility takes a drastic drop at the age of 35 and it continues to drop even further after that age. Being able to sustain a pregnancy and carry it to term is important as well so if a woman is unable to do that then she is classified as infertile.
Approximately 10 percent of all individuals of reproductive age are infertile which works out to be 15 percent of couples. On average 40 percent of the time the infertility has to do with the man while 40 percent of the time it has to do with the woman. The rest of the time it can be as a result of both of the sexes. Most healthy couples in their twenties who are having sex on a regular basis have a one in four chance of conceiving a child in any given month of the calendar year. This is what the medical community refers to as "fecundity."
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine estimates that 6.1 million individuals residing in the United States are infertile. As stated above, 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. This is known as primary infertility.
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Loosely put, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) is a term that is used to describe a number of different methods that are used to help infertile couples have a baby. Assisted reproductive technologies is a complex process where eggs are surgically removed from a woman's body and then are mixed with sperm in a laboratory. After a set period of time if fertilization has taken place which can be seen infertility counseling by the division of cells, the embryos are then implanted back into a woman's uterus. ART employs methods to achieve pregnancy that are artificial or are partially artificial as opposed to conceiving a child the natural way. Some of the most common forms of ART include in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and zygote intrafallopian transfer/tubal embryo transfer (ZIFT/TET).
There is also such a thing as secondary infertility and this is when a woman has a difficult time conceiving a child after she has already had a child in the past or previous children with little if any complications at all. Sometimes this is attributed to a medical condition such as a hormonal problem but it could also be a problem that is connected with age or else as the result of mental stress and strain to make sure that the first child has a brother or sister. If the woman has changed partners and is now having a problem getting pregnant this is not attributed to secondary infertility.
There are also instances where a woman's ovaries have not matured to a point where they can release eggs every month as they are supposed to. When this happens, injections of synthetic FSH can be administered in order to stimulate the eggs to properly mature in the ovaries.
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