Infertility is not being able to conceive after a year of trying. This means having regular, unprotected sex. About one-third of cases are caused by male factors. An equal number are caused by female factors. In the remaining cases, the cause is unknown or is due to problems with both partners.
Successful conception involves many steps:
An egg is released from the woman's ovaries (ovulation).
The egg travels to the fallopian tubes. Here it can be fertilized by the man's sperm.
If the egg is fertilized (conception), it moves down the fallopian tubes to the uterus.
It secures itself into the wall of the uterus. It then begins its 40-weeks of fetal growth.
Most cases of infertility are due to problems with ovulation or problems with fallopian tubes.
ART involves using human sperm and eggs or embryos in a lab to help with conception. The eggs and sperm can be from you and your partner or donated. ART methods include:
Artificial insemination—Semen is collected and processed in a lab. It is then inserted directly into the woman's cervix or uterus.
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
—An egg is removed from the woman's body and mixed with sperm in a lab. The egg and sperm mixture or a 2-3 day old embryo is then placed in the uterus.
Gamete or zygote intrafallopian transfer (GIFT or ZIFT)—An egg is removed from the woman's body and mixed with sperm in a lab. The egg and sperm mixture or a 2-3 day old embryo is then placed in the fallopian tube.
Blastocyst intrafallopian transfer—An egg is removed from the woman's body, injected with sperm, and allowed to develop. It is later implanted into the uterus.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection—A single sperm is injected into the egg. The resulting embryo can be implanted into the uterus or frozen for later use.
Not all causes of infertility can be prevented. The following steps may help:
Female Infertility Best Practice Policy Committee of the American Urological Association; Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
A practice committee report: optimal evaluation of the infertile female.
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a