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Obstetrics and Gynecology

Evaluating Infertlity

Many couples who want to have a child are not able to do so. About 15 percent of couples in the United States are infertile. Couples may be infertile if they have not been able to conceive after 12 months of having sex without the use of birth control.

For healthy, young couples, the odds are about 20 percent that a woman will conceive (become pregnant) during any one menstrual cycle. This figure starts to decline in a woman's late 20s and early 30s and decreases even more after age 35.

Infertility may be caused by more than one factor. Some causes are easily found and treated, while others are not. In some cases, no cause can be found in either partner.

The basic workup of an infertility evaluation can be finished within a few menstrual cycles in most cases. Ask your doctor about the costs involved. Find out whether they are covered by your insurance.

Basic Workup for the Man
A semen analysis is a key part of the basic workup. It may need to be done more than once. The sample is obtained by masturbation.

Basic Workup for the Woman
The workup begins with a physical exam and health history. The health history will focus on key points:

Tests . There are many ways to see if ovulation occurs. Some tests are done by the woman, and others are done by the doctor.

Procedures . Other tests may be done to look at a woman's reproductive organs.

Infertility often can be treated with lifestyle changes, medication, surgery or assisted reproductive technologies. It depends on the cause.



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