13 Mar Factors that Influence Fertility – Info from US Fertility Network
Each couple that face fertility challenges has a unique set of circumstances. Treatment for infertility varies from couple to couple, and the success of the treatment depends on which factors influence fertility. Maternal age is the main factor that influences fertility, but there are many more.
Ovulation involves the release of a dominant mature egg from an ovary. If you are having regular menstrual periods, you are likely ovulating. If you have a period only every few months, or do not menstruate, you are not likely ovulating, or you may only be ovulating infrequently. Many women can become pregnant by monitoring ovulation.
We recommend an ovulation prediction urine kit that detects the surge of luteinizing hormone (LH), which occurs right before ovulation. When the LH surge is detected, a woman will ovulate in 1-2 days.
To become pregnant, a woman must have at least one open and functioning fallopian tube. Approximately 35% of all infertility is related to a tubal factor. The hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is a special x-ray test used to assess tubal patency (openness). HSG can determine the degree of tubal damage and likelihood of a successful pregnancy.
Around 40% of infertility is related to a male factor. A semen analysis is crucial for the initial evaluation of infertility. This test checks for sperm and semen abnormalities, which include a low sperm count, problems with sperm motility (movement), abnormal sperm shape, and other issues.
Pregnancy is often delayed for many couples. The right time to start a family is a personal choice. However, fertility starts to decline significantly for couples who are in their mid-30s, and it decreases even faster after the late 30s. For women, fewer eggs remain in the ovaries, and the quality of the eggs is lower than during the 20s and early 30s. Women can have certain blood tests to assess for ovarian reserve. These tests assess for age-related fertility potential. Testing involves follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen hormone levels.
Many defects of the uterus can interfere with the fertilized egg (embryo) implantation. The HSG can be used to reveal defects of the uterine cavity. These abnormalities include polyps, uterine scar tissue, fibroids, and abnormal shaped cavity. To further evaluate for uterine factor in regards to fertility, surgery may be necessary (saline infusion hysterogram and hysteroscopy).
Abnormalities involving the peritoneum can affect fertility. These include scar tissues, adhesions, and endometriosis. With endometriosis, tissue that normally lines the uterus starts to grow in other places along the reproductive tract. Laparoscopy is a procedure that can detect and treat adhesions and endometriosis.
For 10% of couples with fertility problems, no identifiable cause is found. This is called unexplained infertility. For these couples, in vitro fertilization with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is helpful.
Miscarriage and Stillbirth
Some women are not able to carry a pregnancy to term. When pregnancy loss occurs before week 20 of gestation, it is deemed a miscarriage. A loss of pregnancy after this time is called a stillbirth. When a women suffers repeated or recurrent miscarriages, it is termed recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). For more than 50% of these women, abnormal chromosomes in the embryo are to blame. Factors that can contribute to miscarriage and stillbirth include:
- Autoimmune disease
- Uterine structural problems
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease with high blood pressure
- Thyroid disorder
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Uterine infection
- Antiphospholipid syndrome
The top fertility centers in America are part of the US Fertility Network. Comprehensive treatment is offered by Board Certified reproductive endocrinologists. Discounts on treatment are offered at all centers!