Infertility is the inability of a couple to conceive after having regular unprotected intercourse for 12 months. From the point of view of the age of women, it is recommended that a woman less than 35 years, should seek help after a year and if she is over 35 years, she should seek help after six months.
A common misconception is that infertility is only a woman’s problem. However, this is not true. In fact, for almost 50% of infertile couples, the cause is related to the male partner, either alone or in addition to a female factor.
Causes of infertility
There are four main causes of infertility:
- Male Factor Infertility
- Female Factor Infertility
- Combined Infertility (When both the man and woman are responsible for infertility)
- Unexplained Infertility: (When there is no obvious scientific cause for infertility)
Diagnosis of Infertility
Infertility diagnosis typically begins with a comprehensive history and physical examination, which is followed by diagnostic testing. It is very important to do certain investigations to know what the problem is. There are four main tests that are identified as the minimum standard to investigate infertility.
- Semen Analysis: Here we look at the semen parameters of the man using the word health organization (WHO) standards for what is acceptable.
- Ovarian Reserve Check: Here a blood test is carried out to access the ovarian reserve of the woman. In other words, this is done to ascertain the quantity and the quality of the eggs that the woman has at that point in time.
- Vaginal Scan: The vaginal scan is different from an abdominal scan. With the vaginal scan, we are able to see the organs in the pelvis better.
- HSG: We carry out HSG (a form of X-ray investigation) which is an X-ray of the tubes and the uterus. One of the commonest causes of infertility is Tubal blockage and we can identify this using HSG. Sometimes some people might have to do a procedure called laparoscopy/hysteroscopy.
From these tests, we will be able to identify about 80% of the causes of infertility. However, we diagnose unexplained infertility when we cannot see anything from these four tests. This happens in about 10 to 20% of the population of people experiencing infertility.
Treatment of infertility
We can look at the treatment of infertility
- Assisted Conception.
Conclusion: Always remember, together we can conquer infertility