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Infertility Help

Infertility Help Options and Treatments

The medical definition of infertility centres on the female of a couple, even though it is accepted that the male also has a part to play. A couple is considered to have fertility issues if they have failed to conceived after having regular, unprotected sexual intercourse for a period of 12 months or more, when the woman is under 35 years of age. For women over the age of 35 years, this time period is reduced to 6 months.

When you consider that the possibility of conception every month for a fertile woman, aged in her twenties and having regular intercourse, is just 25%, it really is a miracle that anyone conceives. There are different degrees of being infertile; the term sub-fertile refers to a couple who successfully produces both eggs and sperm but have problems with conception; this covers most couples who have fertility issues. Total infertility is very rare; this is when a couple produces neither eggs nor sperm.

Statistics tell us that 1 in 6 couples have fertility problems; the male is responsible for around 40% of these cases, the female for another 40%, both are responsible in 10% of cases and 10% have unknown causes. Women over the age of 35 years have greater fertility issues – 1 in 3 will have problems. 1 in 25 men have a sperm count that is lower than average; 1 in 35 men are sterile.

After unsuccessfully trying for a baby for 12 months, a couple should seek medical advice; there are now doctors and clinics that specialize in fertility. Various tests and examinations will be arranged and lots of questions will be asked to determine where the problem lies and what diagnosis can be reached. This thorough investigation is necessary to determine the best course of action to help the couple.

A plan of treatment will be set up. There may be some drug or medical treatment needed; maybe even surgery. It is important to remain positive throughout this time; it can be emotionally, mentally and physically taxing but support each other through it. It might be helpful to seek strategies from a support group that deals with infertility or perhaps a counselor who specializes in this area.

Infertility treatments that are available are effective and varied. Many of these can be a real roller-coaster ride, particularly when hormone therapy is involved. Ask lots of questions about possible side-effects so you are prepared for how you might feel. Each cycle starts with lots of hope and anticipation; disappointment and a feeling of failure will be lurking for every 'failed' result. With IVF, for example, just 20% of attempts are successful.

Many couples are turning to natural treatments for infertility and some are finding success. There are several avenues to pursue and some couples find a combination works well. Nutrition is a vital aspect of good health and well-being and can affect fertility also. Focus on foods that strengthen the immune system, reach and maintain a healthy weight and improve general fitness levels.

Herbal medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine have been used for centuries to help infertile couples by increasing general health and balancing hormone levels. Relaxation and stress relief has helped with fertility issues; meditation, Tai Chi or Yoga can help in this area. There are Naturopathy and Homeopathy practitioners as well. It is important that you only consult fully-trained and qualified practitioners in whatever field you decide to try.

There are Assisted Reproductive Therapies to help infertile couples with a wide range of treatments and procedures. Included under this heading are IVF, Intra-uterine insemination and other procedures. Surrogacy is becoming more widely accepted these days, where another woman carries the couple's baby to term; there are still legal and moral issues with surrogacy.

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