Infertility is defined as inability to conceive a child with regular unprotected sexual intercourse after 1 year. Within 1 year, 84% of couples will conceive and in 2 years about 90% of couples will conceive.
What are the different types of infertility?
a) Primary subfertility
This is where the woman has never conceived at all.
b) Secondary subfertility
This is where the woman has previously conceived even though it may have end up as a miscarriage.
What are the causes of infertility?
35% of cases are due to male problems
35% of cases are due to female problems
20% of cases are due to combination of female and male problems
10% of cases no cause is found i.e unexplained infertility
How does conception occur?
Every month due to change in hormones in a woman’s body, she will release an egg from one side of her ovary which will travel down her tubes. If sexual intercourse occurs during this fertile period, the sperm will travel up her tubes and only one sperm will penetrate the egg. The egg will be fertilized and travel down to the woman’s uterus and implant there. As the fertilized egg grow and divide it will develop into an embryo which will start to release hormones called b HCG. This hormone will be detected during a blood or urine test for pregnancy.
When should I seek help from the doctor?
This depends on you and your partner, your age and any known risk factors that may affect your fertility. For e.g if you are relatively healthy and your age is less than 35 years old, you could wait for one year. However, if you have risk factors such as known medical illness, irregular menses, history of pelvic infection or your age more than 35 years old, do seek help after 6 months. It better to seek help earlier as the longer you wait the older you get the quality and number of your eggs will be affected. In addition, It is better for both you and your partner see the doctor together for the treatment as sometimes the problem may affect both of you. Hence, the discussion for requires both of you to be present.