Infertility is the condition of being unable to conceive a child or bring a pregnancy to full term. The term infertility covers a wide range of causes and conditions, in both the male and female partner.
Infertility can be caused by conditions in a woman such as ovulation problems, endometriosis, fallopian tube blockage, and uterine fibroids. In men, infertility can be caused by a vasectomy, low sperm count and quality and varicocele, a condition in which blood veins near the testicles become swollen. Infertility can also be caused by a combination of issues from either sex including age, genetic factors or diseases.
There are also cases when doctors can find no cause for infertility. Up to 20% of infertile couples in the United States have unexplained infertility.
With advancements in medicine, there are several treatment options for infertility. These include:
- Fertility drugs - such as Clomid to help regulate ovulation
- Hormone Injections – such as Heparin, Gonal-F and Parlodel
- In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) – the eggs are fertilized by the sperm outside of the body and then placed inside the patient's uterus
- Artificial Insemination – sperm are collected and placed inside the cervix, fallopian tubes or uterus
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – a common type of artificial insemination, the sperm are inserted directed into the uterus
With these treatments, there is hope for infertile couples - a little more than half of the couples that seek medical intervention for infertility can expect a successful pregnancy.