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Knowing When to Seek Fertility Treatments

Although it may feel like a lonely and painful struggle, the truth is that many couples experience a wide range of challenges, like poor egg quality and low sperm count, when it comes to fertility. Research shows roughly 10% of couples in the U.S. battle with fertility issues—and, of that amount, the underlying causes of failure can come from multiple sources. 

Hopeful couples at different stages of their lives have to consider a variety of conditions and factors when determining their odds of having a successful pregnancy. In the past, many people in your position felt uncomfortable identifying infertility issues and seeking treatment, but the worldwide conversation surrounding fertility has transformed into an accepting process that brings joy to many people.

With this momentum, couples should take advantage of the support that fertility clinics offer when trying to find viable solutions. Kofinas Fertility Group believes that couples from all backgrounds deserve a fair chance at starting the family of their dreams, so if you and your partner have been looking for guidance with your fertility struggles, then you've come to the right place. 

No matter what your difficulties may be, you can trust that a specific treatment plan will lead to a healthy pregnancy. However, to put you on a path to success, it's important to understand what circumstances are preventing you from moving forward.

Everyone’s circumstances are unique, but you can use this guide to get an idea of where to go next after encountering a roadblock.

Below are a series of situations that you and your partner can use to find out when you should seek fertility treatments. If you discover that you can relate to a particular instance, then seeking the help of a fertility specialist may be your next step:

 

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If You Have Experienced Any of the Following Health Conditions

Both men and women may have already experienced or are currently facing certain challenges that negatively affect their chances of achieving a healthy pregnancy. 

To give you an idea of what kinds of problems may be causing infertility, below are several health conditions that are commonly associated with infertility for each gender. If you or your partner can relate to any of these issues, then it may be time to contact a fertility specialist to receive medical care.

 

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Health Conditions for Women

Hormone Imbalances

Hormone Imbalances

Irregular hormone production throughout the reproductive system is typically the most common cause of infertility for women. Quite often, hormone imbalances are a result from a condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) where small cysts form on the ovaries, which can disrupt ovulation cycles and functionality. On the other hand, hormone imbalances without any signs of cystic growth can lead to abnormal ovulation patterns, irregular or absent periods, and in extreme cases, polycystic ovarian insufficiency (POI).

Pelvic Pain, Pain During Sex, or Painful Menstruation

Pelvic Pain, Pain During Sex, or Painful Menstruation

Any kind of pain that affects the pelvic region or reproductive system can be a major cause for concern when it comes to managing fertility. For example, a constant discomfort in the pelvic region, pain during sex, or pain during menstruation could indicate a major underlying issue, such as endometriosis, which is involved in roughly 30% of all infertility cases. Scar tissue, cysts, and adhesions that develop from a repetitive discharge of the endometrium can also prevent other reproductive organs from functioning properly. 

STDs or Other Infections

STDs or Other Infections

Contracting an STD or infection can be common for either gender, but specifically for women, any kind of infection to the reproductive system can create blockages that prevent the release of eggs or implantation of an embryo. Research shows that women with gonorrhea or chlamydia are likely to develop infertility issues from the disease, and if it's left untreated, scar tissue or adhesions can cause other complications for vital parts.

Loss of an Ovary (Oophorectomy)

Loss of an Ovary (Oophorectomy)

There are several reasons why a woman may have an ovary removed, but once it occurs, it can significantly decrease the odds of getting pregnant. Quite often, an oophorectomy is the result of an underlying condition that's been left untreated, such as an infection, endometriosis, benign cysts, or the presence of cancer.

Health Conditions for Men

Hormone Imbalances

Hormone Imbalances

Just like women, men can experience a variety of hormonal imbalances that can disrupt fertility. Issues like abnormal facial hair growth, undescended testicles, swollen lymph nodes, or low testosterone levels can all be indications of an underlying problem with the thyroid, hypothalamus, pituitary, or adrenal glands.

Poor Sexual Health and Performance

Poor Sexual Health and Performance

Although it may be embarrassing or difficult to discuss, poor sexual health and performance can represent several fertility challenges for hopeful couples. For men, trouble maintaining an erection, reaching a climax, or having a decreased sexual desire could be indicative of a psychological issue or problem with the relationship, not to mention hormonal deficiencies that can also cause these types of problems. In addition, any challenges with ejaculation, such as retrograde ejaculation where sperm enters the bladder, rather than out the urethra, could signify other health problem, like diabetes or spinal injuries.

Swollen or Painful Testicles

Swollen or Painful Testicles

According to the Office on Women's Health (OWH), men make up one-third of infertility causes for hopeful couples, and of that amount, varicocele is often the condition to blame. Essentially, varicocele represents a swelling of the veins that allow sperm to flow throughout the reproductive organs. In other cases, swollen or painful testicles could also indicate an STD or infection, such as epiaditimytis or orchitis.

Having a Low Sperm Count

Having a Low Sperm Count

Having a low sperm count is another major challenge for couples who are trying to conceive. A sperm count lower than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen is considered low, and men who experience this deficiency should take a holistic approach to finding a solution. This means that many factors regarding lifestyle choices and medical health should be evaluated to determine what the underlying causes may be. On average, low sperm counts are typically associated with hormone imbalances, infections, tumors, varicocele, obesity, poor diets, and a lack of physical activity.

Prior Surgeries

Prior Surgeries

Men who have a history of surgeries in pelvic or reproductive areas may be at risk of developing fertility issues. For example, the removal of a testicle, hernia repair, prostate procedures, or a vasectomy will significantly impede one's ability to conceive. 

Other Conditions for Men and Women

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle Factors

Fertility can be negatively impacted for both genders if certain lifestyle factors are not made a top priority when trying to conceive. If you and your partner are overweight, maintain unhealthy diets, refrain from physical activity on a regular basis, or consume drugs and alcohol, your chances of achieving a healthy pregnancy will greatly decrease. Keep in mind, infertility is generally caused by hormone imbalances, and correcting your personal health will have a tremendous effect on your reproductive health. Stress is also something that can make conception harder (both physically and emotionally), so finding ways to deal with stress in healthy ways is important.

Cancer

Cancer

Having a history of cancer or present diagnosis of it may cause fertility challenges depending on where the cancer is located and how severe it is. Women with ovarian cancer or breast cancer may experience struggles with infertility, whereas men with testicular cancer or prostate cancer can potentially face difficulties. Also, undergoing chemotherapy treatments can have a significant impact on one's reproductive health and hormone production. 

Environmental Factors

Environmental Factors

Less commonly associated with infertility are certain environmental factors that may contribute to its onset. Instances of extreme radiation, exposure to chemicals, or contact with heavy metals can lead to reproductive issues, so being aware of your surroundings and maintaining your personal safety are always important.  Also, since the egg (oocyte) is the largest cell in a woman's body, living in an environment that has poor air quality (here's looking at you, NYC) can also affect the quality of your eggs. 

If You've Had More than One Repeated Miscarriage

If You've Had More than One Repeated Miscarriage

Any time a miscarriage takes place, it can be physically and emotionally challenging. Sadly, couples who are trying to conceive could potentially experience one miscarriage throughout the process, but if they occur multiple times, it may be a good idea to seek professional help. 

Frequent miscarriages could represent serious health issues or reproductive complications that are forcing an early release of the embryo during its development, and a fertility specialist can help diagnose the cause of the problem to ensure that your next pregnancy has the greatest chance for success. 

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If you're curious about freezing your eggs/embryos or utilizing an egg donor or surrogate...

No matter what age you and your partner may be, some people choose to put their dreams of starting a family on hold for when circumstances are more manageable. If this idea relates to you, then choosing to freeze your eggs until a later date can be the perfect option to save your healthy eggs or embryos and implant them later. In addition, if you know that you or your partner have certain health complications or fertility issues that may prevent you from getting and staying pregnant, choosing to utilize an egg donor or a surrogate could also be a great choice that a fertility specialist can help you with.

Starting a family doesn't have to fit within strict guidelines or expectations. On the contrary, starting the family of your dreams is exactly that: your dream, so however you want to pursue it, you can trust that Kofinas Fertility Group will make your vision their top priority. 

The Kofinas Fertility Group team offers you dedication and experience.

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