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When a person is infertile it means that he or she is unable to conceive a child. This reproductive problem can occur in both women and men. A couple is seen as infertile when the partners have tried to become pregnant for at least 12 months with no success. Several factors can affect fertility such as:
For women, an ovulation disorder is typically the cause of infertility. Problems such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), uterine fibroids, and egg degeneration can also cause female infertility.
In most instances, couples should seek medical help when they have been attempting to conceive for at least a year. The physician will perform an assessment of both partners and identify their general state of health. There will also be a discussion where the physician asks about sexual practices so that any potential issues which could affect fertility are spotted. This can include stress and the timing of intercourse. If required, assessment of ovulation, x-rays of the fallopian tubes and uterus, and laparoscopies can be used to determine if there is a problem with the reproductive organs themselves.
Most instances, approximately 90%, are addressed with medication therapy or surgical repair of the affected organs. Fertility drugs will be the primary treatment used for women with ovulation disorders. These drugs can be taken orally or injected and contain medications designed to start or regulate ovulation. Surgical treatments for infertility can be used to remove lesions, cysts, or adhesions in the reproductive organs. More intensive options, including IVF, are used for the remaining 10%. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is employed when other options have failed to ignite conception. IVF is achieved by extracting eggs from the ovary and combining them with sperm in a Petri dish. Once the eggs have been successfully fertilized, they return to the uterus to continue development.
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