Infertility Overview

Women who are fertile experience a natural period of fertility before and during ovulation and they are naturally infertile during the rest of the menstrual cycle.

What is Infertility?

Reproductive endocrinologists, the doctors specializing in infertility, consider a couple to be infertile if:

  • The couple has not conceived after 12 months of contraceptive-free intercourse if the female is under the age of 34 yrs.
  • This interval may be decreased to 6 months if the woman's age is more than 34yrs (It's better to seek medical help earlier due to declining egg quality in older women.)

In women, this may be due to blockage in the Fallopian tubes, failure of ovulation, a deficiency in sex hormones, or general ill health.

In men, impotence, an insufficient number of sperm or abnormal sperm may be the cause of infertility.

Clinical investigation will reveal the cause of the infertility in about 75% of couples and assisted conception may then be appropriate.

What is Subfertility?

Sub fertility is a decreased capacity to conceive, including miscarriage. The important distinction between infertility and sub fertility is that it may take considerably longer for sub fertile couples to conceive but there is still a possibility that they can.

What is the difference between Primary & secondary infertility?

Couples with primary infertility have never been able to conceive. While, on the other hand, secondary infertility is difficulty conceiving after already having conceived (and either carried the pregnancy to term, or had a miscarriage). Technically, secondary infertility is not present if there has been a change of partners.

How common is Infertility?

Generally, worldwide it is estimated that one in seven couples have problems conceiving, with the incidence similar in most countries independent of the level of the country's development.

Usually around 80% of the couple who have regular intercourse (at least twice a week) conceive within a year. Similarly around 90% of the couple conceive within 2 yrs of unprotected intercourse. Women become less fertile as they get older. The effect of age upon men's fertility is less clear.

Isn't infertility is a stressful problem to deal with?

Yes. Infertility may have profound psychological effects. Partners may become more anxious to conceive, ironically increasing sexual dysfunction. Marital discord often develops in infertile couples, especially when they are under pressure to make medical decisions. The couples undertaking IVF face considerable stress . Proper understanding of the reason for infertility and further course of treatment along with sensitive counseling helps to reduce the stress considerably.