When you and your partner are trying to have a baby, how do you know when you’re having fertility problems?
When should you start being concerned with month after month goes by and you not conceiving?
While the answer may be different for each couple, the general rule is that if you’ve been having unprotected sex for about one year and you still aren’t pregnant, it’s time to seek help.
There may be a simple answer to why you’re not getting pregnant. If the problem is more complex, it’s time to find some answers. There are different types of infertility.
Many couples are considered to be “subfertile.” What this means is that they are both producing healthy eggs and sperm but some factor is stopping them from conceiving.
Some of these factors include problems with the reproductive system and hormone imbalances in both women and men. Other couples will be considered to be “totally infertile.”
In this case, no eggs and/or sperm are being produced and assistance will be necessary in order for pregnancy to happen.
First Steps to Determining Types of Infertility
When you seek help for infertility, the first thing your doctor is going to do is schedule tests to try to determine the type of infertility you’re experiencing and what treatments may best help increase your chances of getting pregnant.
A thorough look at your medical history may reveal some answers. A fertility specialist will look at a woman’s ovulation and menstrual cycle.
Questions will be asked about any previous pregnancy you’ve had and if there were any problems you had conceiving the first time.
Men will be asked about any testicular injuries they might have had as well as if there have been any infections or surgeries that need to be considered as part of the problem.
Blood tests will be scheduled to establish if there are any hormone imbalances that need to be corrected. An ultrasound can reveal vital information about the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
A laparoscopy may be performed to look for the following types of infertility
- fibroids or polyps growing on the lining of the uterus.
- evidence of endometriosis.
- evidence of ovarian cysts.
- blocked or scarred fallopian tubes.
During the laparoscopy, a surgeon may correct some of the above conditions that are found, such as opening blocked fallopian tubes or removing a cyst from the ovary.
Combining a diagnostic laparoscopy with a surgical laparoscopy is one way to make the entire procedure less invasive as it often makes a second procedure unnecessary if corrected with the first procedure.
Treatment Options for Infertility
Depending on types of infertility you’re dealing with, there are different treatment options you can choose from.
The three options include drug therapy to increase fertility, surgical procedures, and assistance with conception. Fertility drugs are usually used to trigger ovulation and to correct any hormone imbalances in both women and men.
Surgical procedures are used not only to diagnose fertility problems but to correct them as well.
Assistance with conception is used when all other infertility treatments are not an option for conceiving and carrying a pregnancy to full term.
Types of assisted conception include IVF, IUI, and use of donor eggs and/or sperm. If you or your partner are not able to provide eggs or sperm that are viable, donors are one way that you can still have your dream of having a baby.
Learning to Cope with Infertility
Finding out that you and your partner have infertility problems can be a very traumatic time.
Depending on types of infertility you have, subfertile or total infertility, you may need to make decisions that aren’t easy to make.
Some of the emotions that you may go through at this time include guilt, anger, blame, sadness, and grief. Infertility can place a huge strain on your relationship.
Depending on which one of you has been diagnosed with fertility problems there can also be a lot of anger and blame towards your partner.
There are counselling services available to you whether you decide to discontinue trying to have a baby or if you decide to pursue infertility treatments such as IUI and IVF.
When going through infertility treatment procedures you may feel as though you’re on a roller coaster. At the beginning of a new treatment cycle, you’ll feel hopeful and excited about getting pregnant.
This hope may be dashed if the treatment is unsuccessful and you’re still not pregnant.
With so many factors to think about when you find out what type of infertility you have, it’s important that both you and your partner talk to someone about what you’re going through.
Adding stress and anxiety to your life can decrease your chances of getting pregnant. The better able you are to cope with the ups and downs of infertility, the easier it will be for you to stay in control at this difficult time in your life.