What Is Infertility?
What is infertility? If you're a couple trying to conceive a child, this question may already be nagging you before you've even discovered whether or not you or your partner have the condition. The American Pregnancy Association estimates 6.1 million people throughout the United States suffer from infertility and if you do find yourself in this group, knowledge about infertility and how to overcome it is your best weapon.
Defining Infertility. Infertility is the inability of a couple to have a child. While many may think of it as a problem only women suffer from, it affects men as well. Either partner, or both partners, may have a problem which is keeping the couple from conceiving. Doctors generally consider a couple to have a problem with infertility when the couple has tried to conceive for a year or more with no success.
Causes of Infertility. In women, infertility may come from a number of physical problems. The woman may have a medical condition such as endometriosis, or she may have an ovulation disorder. These diseases affect the ability of the body to release an egg and carry it through the nine months of pregnancy once it's fertilized.
Infertility in Men. In other cases, the woman's body may work fine but the man produces little or no sperm, or the sperm simply are not reaching the egg. Couples may have factors in both partners that contribute to infertility and in yet other cases, both couples appear healthy and yet still cannot conceive.
Treatment Options. After trying to conceive for a year with no results, a woman should visit her doctor and talk about her treatment options. She may want to see a specialist and make an appointment at a fertility clinic. The doctor will first do a thorough medical examination to find out what may be causing the infertility. Treatment options, ranging from cheapest to most expensive, include taking fertility drugs, artificial insemination, surgery for the medical condition preventing the pregnancy, or one of several options in assisted reproduction technology. Before beginning treatment, the couple should talk with their health insurance to find out what is covered and what the cost of treatments are, as well as talking to their doctor about the health risks involved and the chances of having a miscarriage during the pregnancy.