Indicators of infertility

Infertility can be caused by a variety of factors which include genetic abnormalities, illness, injury or infections. As a result of this a multi-disciplinary approach is required which includes the services of a fertility specialist, gynaecologist and a counsellor.

A fertility specialist has a high level of skill and expertise which extends beyond obstetrics and gynaecology. They have in-depth knowledge of fertility problems as well as experience in performing fertility procedures.

As you can imagine, fertility procedures such as Gamete
Intra-Fallopian Transfers (GIFT) or In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) require a great deal of skill and precision. These can only be carried out by a fertility specialist.

A gynaecologist or a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology will deal with female fertility problems. A reproductive endocrinologist or urologist deals with male fertility problems.

A counsellor is best placed to deal with the emotional aspects of infertility. He or she will talk through any issues you may have which relate to fertility problems and treatment.

Likely indicators of female infertility include:

  • Tubular dysfunction
  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Hormonal problems such as menstrual irregularities
  • Fibroids

Likely indicators of male infertility include:

  • Low sperm count or poor quality sperm
  • Hormone disorder
  • Injury or disease of the male reproductive system (e.g. damage to the testicles)
  • Blockage or swelling such as varicocele
  • No obvious cause (‘idiopathic’)

These are just some of the many causes of infertility. There is one other aspect and that is of no obvious cause. In other words, there appears to be no reason for infertility in either the man or woman, or both.

Doctors call this ‘unexplained infertility’ and it accounts for 10 to 15% of cases.

Even medical science cannot account for the unpredictability of nature.

If this does occur then don’t give up hope. There is still a slim chance of pregnancy occurring naturally and if this doesn’t work then techniques such as IVF, GIFT and ICSI can help.

If you have been trying to conceive for less than a year then your GP will advise you to persist with this as you need to have gone a year without conceiving to be defined as infertile. And he or she may recommend a few ‘fertility tips’ which can increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

Infertility and your general practitioner Guide Index:

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