Health Guide
Drug Guide

Female infertility

What is it?

Myths About Infertility: There are many myths or wrong information about the causes of infertility. Following are some of these myths and the real truth about infertility:

What is the female reproductive system? A woman's reproductive system includes the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and vagina.

How does the reproductive system work?

Causes:

Following are some of the many causes of impaired fertility:

Medical Care:

Often there are factors with both partners when infertility is found to be a problem. Finding out what problems may be causing your infertility takes time and money and may cause emotional stress. This makes it very important for both partners to want to find a reason for the problem.

You and your partner may choose to have a fertility workup. A caregiver called a reproductive endocrinologist or "RE" will do your fertility workup. Then you, your partner, and your RE will decide what treatments, if any, are needed.

Sometimes no cause of infertility can be found. You and your partner may choose to stop fertility treatments. Following are some other options for you and your partner to consider:

Fertility Workup: Caregivers will take a health history from you. This includes past pregnancies, length of infertility, and sexual history. You and your partner will both have a physical checkup and may have any of the following tests:

Treatment Options: There are many ways to treat infertility. Caregivers will tell you the risks and benefits of each treatment. Talk to your partner openly and make treatment decisions together.

Embryo transfer: Another woman is artificially inseminated with your partner's sperm. The fertilized egg is removed from her uterus about 4 days later. The egg is then placed in your uterus. This method may be used if you have bad scars inside your abdomen. Or, embryo transfer may be used if you do not have ovaries or your ovaries do not work.

Insemination: Insemination is when sperm is collected and processed. The sperm is placed into your vagina, cervical canal, or directly into your uterus. Artificial insemination (AI) is when the sperm used comes from your partner. It is called therapeutic donor insemination (TDI) when sperm is used from a sperm bank. The choice of where the sperm comes from depends upon your fertility problem.

Laparoscopy: This surgery may be needed for problems in the abdomen or uterus, such as septate uterus or ovarian cysts. Scars from previous surgery or diseases, such as endometriosis, may be removed during surgery.

Medicine may be used to treat some infertility problems, such as hormone replacement therapy, and antibiotics or chemotherapy medicine for infections.

Other ways to get pregnant: There are 3 different ways caregivers can help you get pregnant. Before all 3 methods, a woman must take fertility medicines that cause many eggs to grow at once. Eggs are taken from her ovary before ovulation.

Dietary Measures:

Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.

Herbs:

Supplements:

Complementary Therapies:

Care Agreement:

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

References:

1. Curtis KM, Savitz DA & Arbuckle TE: Effects of cigarette smoking, caffeine consumption, and alcohol intake on fecundability. Am J Epidemiol 1997; 146(1):32-41.

2. Domar AD, Seibel MM & Benson H: The mind/body program for infertility: a new behavioral treatment approach for women with infertility. Fertil Steril 1990; 53(2):246-249.

3. Gravitz MA: Hypnosis in the treatment of functional infertility. Am J Clin Hypn 1995; 38(1):22-26.

4. Green BB: Risk of ovulatory infertility in relation to body weight. Fertil Steril 1988; 50:621-626.

5. Hakim RB, Gray RH & Zacur H: Alcohol and caffeine consumption and decreased fertility. Fertil Steril 1998; 70(4):632-637.

6. Mo X, Li D, Pu Y et al: Clinical studies on the mechanism for acupuncture stimulation of ovulation. J Tradit Chin Med 1993; 13(2):115-119.


Last Updated: 9/15/2016

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