Infertility Awareness - just reading the title can cause a wide swing in emotions for many women. Most women assume that when the decision is made to start a family - it just happens. For the majority of women that is true, but for just under 10% of the population it’s not that easy. If you personally are not affected by infertility, it is likely that you know someone who has struggled with becoming pregnant. If you are close to that person, you may be aware of the deep pain that the struggle can cause.
What is infertility?
Pregnancy occurs in the first 6 months of trying for 80% of couples, and 95% are pregnant by the end of the first year. But for a healthy woman with no history of gynecological problems, infertility is defined as 12 months of unprotected intercourse without pregnancy. For women aged 35 - 40 the time frame goes down to 6 months, and our TWC physicians recommend that women 40 and older consult them immediately upon deciding to start a family.
What are the causes of infertility?
In about 25% of the cases it’s an issue with the man. Sperm analysis is one of the initial tests ordered when evaluating infertility. Ovulation issues are the most common for women. All the evaluations needed to determine the cause of infertility can be done at The Woman’s Clinic. Some common tests that are ordered include:
- ultrasound for polyps and fibroids
- laparoscopy for looking at the lining of the uterus
- x-ray tests to check on the tubes
What can you do to improve conceiving?
There are some standard things that you can do to your overall health that will also improve your odds of conceiving - stop smoking, stop drinking alcohol and get close to your ideal body weight (both being underweight and overweight can affect your odds.)
The good news is that today’s success rate is incredibly high. Still, the psychological stress, anxiety and depression of not getting pregnant are all reasons some women stop the process of addressing infertility. This can be a highly stressful time in the life of a couple. The stress can be increased by a sense of isolation, and feeling that you can’t share your struggles with your friends who may be pregnant or have children. The real reason we need Infertility Awareness Week is so women can be made aware that in a group of 10 friends, one may be struggling and needing your love and understanding.