Dr. Todd Schad, Obstetrics and Gynecological Surgeon: Trying to get pregnant is usually a pretty exciting time in people’s lives, but it also can be a very stressful time in people’s lives. So, infertility is defined as trying to get pregnant, but not being able to get pregnant in a year’s time. What I found, though, is many times it is not necessarily an issue with being able to get pregnant. Sometimes it’s just a timing issue.
Sometimes people just don’t understand their bodies and when they’re supposed to be having intercourse in order to achieve pregnancy. And so sometimes it’s just an education thing, about these are the most fertile times of the cycle, and so this is the time where you should be considering intercourse.
Many times we will do blood work looking for hormone levels and making sure that we know what’s happening within the woman’s body. Many times we’ll schedule an ultrasound. If they haven’t had a recent exam, we might do an exam.
Talking about a history, talking about how regular the cycles are, talking about when intercourse is happening, talking about the partner’s history in case there’s any medical history or medications that the partner might be on that could be leading to difficulty getting pregnant.
And for the guy, one of the things that they may have to do is a semen analysis, because the woman might be releasing eggs, she might have a completely normal uterus, but if we don’t have enough sperm there, then she might not be getting pregnant for that reason.
So, one of the most common causes of infertility is something called anovulation. An anovulation is where the woman does not release an egg regularly during a cycle. If we find that’s the case, we can treat that several different ways.
One way is if they’re overweight, trying to encourage or help them to lose weight, but if there’s not that, many times we can start women on fertility medication to help their ovary produce eggs more regularly. If we put a woman on fertility medication, there is some monitoring that we have to do to make sure that the medication is working.
So there’s this hormone test called progesterone level that we will many times monitor, and sometimes we can monitor their egg production with ultrasound. But that way, we can make sure that they’re producing eggs regularly, and then if they’re having regular intercourse, many times we’re successful in helping them to get pregnant within six months of starting that process.
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