Three commonly asked questions to help you navigate your fertility health

When to have the conversation about infertility and how to go about it.

It’s a sensitive topic that most couples either don’t want to or don’t know how to tackle – infertility. Fact is that it is a reality many have to face, in fact physiological causes in men account for 20-30% of cases of infertility and 20-35% in women, while 25-40% are due to issues in both partners. Knowing your fertility health status is crucial in empowering yourself to get the right fertility treatment as soon as possible. Merck answers three commonly asked questions around infertility:

  1. When should you think about your fertility health?
    If you have not fallen pregnant after having regular, unprotected sex for 12 months, you should start having the chat. If you are over the age of 35 and have not been able to conceive after 6 months, you should get an evaluation.

2. What causes infertility?
Male infertility could be caused by:

  • abnormal sperm production or function
  • problems with the delivery of sperm
  • overexposure to certain environmental factors (including cigarette smoking, anabolic steroid use, marijuana, alcohol, and certain medications)
  • damage related to cancer and its treatment.1

    Female infertility may be cause by:

  • ovulation disorders
  • uterine or cervical abnormalities
  • fallopian tube damage or blockage
  • endometriosis
  • early menopause
  • pelvic adhesions (bands of scar tissue from pelvic infection, appendicitis, endometriosis or abdominal or pelvic surgery)
  • cancer and its treatment.1

3. What treatment options are there?
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is often the first and only fertility treatment option people think about and they sometimes dismiss it, because they fear the high costs involved with this route. Finding the right treatment will depend on a couple of factors such as: the cause of your fertility issues; your age; and your preferences. Here are some of the options to investigate:

  1. Fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation
  2. Surgery to fix a uterine condition, such as endometriosis, fibroids, or blocked fallopian tubes
  3. Intrauterine insemination, where sperm is placed directly into your uterus during ovulation;
  4. intrafallopian transfer, where the sperm and egg or a fertilised egg is placed into the fallopian tube.5

Visit a fertility clinic near you to speak to a doctor about the options available to you and your partner.

Mayo Clinic. Infertility

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