Infertility is a common condition that affects about 10 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44. The cause of infertility can be either male or female, and most reasons are treatable with medical help. If you are experiencing infertility, talk to a doctor like Dr. Anthony Marren or OB/GYN about available treatment options.
A woman or man can experience primary infertility if she or he has never been able to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term or secondary infertility if she or he has had a previous pregnancy but is now unable to conceive.
If you’re unsure whether you’re infertile or if your fertility problems are due to primary or secondary infertility, check out our article on determining if you have primary or secondary infertility.
The Average Age of Women Seen at Fertility Clinics Is 34
This may seem old, but it’s important to remember that fertility declines slowly over time. A woman’s egg supply starts to decline at age 30, so by age 34; it will have dropped by about 25 percent. Men also experience a decline in their reproductive health and fertility, but it begins later than for women (around age 40).
It also helps to know that many factors can affect your ability to conceive and carry a child without medical treatment. Some of these are things you’ve probably never heard about:
- The distance between your navel and pubic bone (belly button)
- How much fat do you have on your body?
- How many eggs you have left inside your ovaries
Almost half of the couples experiencing infertility have more than one cause. Specialists like Dr. Anthony Marren say that abnormalities in both men and women can contribute to this complex condition.
A single factor or multiple factors can cause infertility. For example, a woman may have abnormal ovulation (the release of eggs). Additionally, low sperm count and fallopian tube blockage are examples of male causes of infertility.
There are many causes of infertility, most of which can be addressed with treatment or assisted reproductive technologies (ART), including IVF, ICSI, and ZIFT.
Many causes of infertility can be treated with medication or surgery, but some reasons require Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). These include:
- Female factor infertility due to ovulation disorders
- Male factor infertility due to low sperm count or poor sperm quality
- Unexplained infertility—there is no apparent reason you cannot get pregnant after having unprotected sex for a year or longer. In this case, you may need help from an ART specialist who will look for any underlying problems contributing to your issue.
You will receive an individualized diagnosis and treatment plan from your fertility specialist that considers multiple factors, including your age, health history, and fertility evaluation results.
Your fertility specialist will use the results of your fertility evaluation to determine the best treatment option for you. Treatment options may include:
- IVF involves retrieving eggs from ovaries and fusing them with sperm. Eggs are then transferred into her uterus through an IV catheter.
- ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is a procedure in which a single healthy sperm penetrates an egg to create an embryo implanted in your uterus.
- ZIFT (intrafallopian zygote transfer), where eggs are removed from your ovaries, mixed with your partner’s or donor sperm, and placed back into the fallopian tubes for fertilization; the resulting embryos travel down to their destination—your womb!