Infertility Impacts All People
Although many people incorrectly assume that infertility is a female problem, the condition impacts both men and women equally. A third of all infertility issues are caused by men, another third by women, and the remaining portion by a combination of male and female issues. Redefining the conversation about conception difficulties, and providing both men and women with critical information, is essential to address the problem. However, keep in mind that early warning signs can vary depending on age and underlying health conditions.
An early sign for women that infertility may be an issue is an irregular period. Multiple underlying conditions can cause menstrual irregularity. For example, high-performance athletes and people diagnosed with obesity are both at risk for irregular periods. Hormonal issues like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can also lead to cycle irregularity. As a result, tracking ovulation can be difficult, which makes conception harder.
While different hormonal changes can impact a man’s fertility, underlying health conditions may also be at play. In particular, boys and men with testicular cancer may be at risk of becoming infertile. While many individuals with this diagnosis regain full testicular function after completing treatment, for others, sperm production never returns to original levels. Preemptive measures such as sperm banking can preserve fertility, allowing a man to conceive at a later date.
Failure to conceive
The most obvious sign that an issue may be present is experiencing repeated failed attempts to conceive. However, the timeline varies depending on a person’s age. For women under age 35, consider consulting a fertility specialist if conception doesn’t occur after 1 year. For women over 35, the timeline drops to 6 months of unsuccessful trying. A complete medical history and a physical exam of both members will be needed to diagnose infertility and determine the best course of action.
ART can help
Regardless of the reason for infertility, assisted reproductive technology (ART) can help people get pregnant. In vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) are 2 of the most well-known ART options that can result in pregnancy. Depending on the patient’s age and the reason for infertility, the fertility doctor can recommend the most appropriate treatment.
Don’t delay the conversation
Although many people feel like infertility is an embarrassing topic or that few individuals experience the condition, the opposite is true. Struggling to conceive is a common problem, and avoiding seeking help only delays a potential pregnancy. If a man or woman is concerned about early signs of infertility, a fertility specialist can help determine the best course of action. ART is a great way to help grow a family when getting pregnant naturally is difficult.