Seven Infertility FAQs You Need the Answers To
Whether you’re facing a recent infertility diagnosis or simply suspect that a fertility issue is preventing conception, there are basic infertility FAQs that many couples will seek helpful answers to before consulting with their provider or a fertility specialist.
Chelsea Fertility NYC understands that everyone must start somewhere, so we’ve collected the top seven infertility FAQs those struggling to conceive need to know before scheduling a consultation with a fertility specialist. Having a basic understanding of infertility and common treatment methods can better prepare anyone getting ready to attend a fertility consultation.
- What is infertility? Infertility is defined as 12 months of regular unprotected intercourse without a pregnancy for women under the age of 35. For women over the age of 35, it is 6 months of regular unprotected intercourse.
- What does age have to do with infertility? Women are born with a finite number of eggs stored in their ovaries. The quantity and quality of eggs is referred to as the ovarian reserve. The reserve grows smaller with every month. By menopause, when a woman’s periods stop, no eggs are left. Women achieve their peak fertility by their mid-20s and maintain their fertility until about age 30. Generally, there is a gradual decline in a woman’s fertility until the age of 35. The rate of decline accerlates after the age of 35 and drops off dramatically beyond the age of 40. The quality of the eggs themselves decline over the decades as well, elevating the potential for miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities.
- How do you test ovarian reserve? There are many different types of tests you can undertake in order to get a sense of your ovarian reserve. These include an ovarian ultrasound or various blood tests. Frequently, ovarian reserve testing is done at a specific time of your cycle. Ovarian reserve testing can provide you with information on whether a treatment intervention would be appropriate as well as the type of treatment that would work for you.
- How do you test for infertility? Assessment should be done by a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist who assembles a detailed patient history. That history serves as the basis for a thorough clinical evaluation and guides a range of test which may include blood work, an x-ray or ultrasound imaging, and an assessment of your partner.
- What is IVF? How does it work? How does it help and who is it for? In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process by which eggs are fertilized outside the womb. The treatment begins with fertility drug treatments that stimulate the maturation of multiple eggs. The eggs are then extracted from the ovaries and are placed together with sperm in an incubator. This allows for the generation of fertilized eggs or early embryos. The embryo can then be transferred to the uterus in an effort to establish a pregnancy. IVF can help by bypassing the source of a problem like blocked fallopian tubes, low sperm numbers and absent ovulation. Currently, IVF is used to address a host of fertility-related problems including blocked fallopian tubes, sperm issues, ovulation troubles or unexplained infertility.
- What is natural cycle IVF? In vitro fertilization is commonly associated with medications that stimulate the ovaries and increase the number of available eggs. Some women, however, over-respond to these drugs and can be at elevated risk for multiple births. With natural cycle IVF, an egg can be obtained without the use of stimulating drugs. The egg can then be fertilized and the resulting embryo transferred to the womb.
- What is ICSI? Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a procedure commonly used to overcome male infertility, although it may also be used when eggs cannot easily be penetrated by sperm. It is a common method of in vitro fertilization.