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What is Infertility?

Infertility is the inability to get pregnant after one year of trying. For women over the age of 35, infertility means not being able to get pregnant after 6 months. It can also mean getting pregnant but experiencing repeated miscarriages.

Many females become pregnant overtime even without treatment for infertility.

Types of Infertility

There are two types of infertility: primary infertility and secondary infertility. Both men and women can experience infertility. When men experience infertility, the condition is called male infertility.

Types of female infertility:

  • Primary infertility — When a female is unable to get pregnant.
  • Secondary infertility — When a female has been pregnant at least once in the past yet is either unable to get pregnant again or unable to carry a baby to full term.


The most common symptom of infertility is the inability to get pregnant. Other possible infertility symptoms might be irregular menstruation or completely absent menstruation.


There are a variety of risk factors and potential infertility causes.

Infertility risk factors:

  • Obesity
  • Mental Stress
  • Age 35+
  • Insufficient diet
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Excessive exercise
  • No exercise
  • Chemical exposure

Infertility causes:

  • Medical conditions — Certain medical conditions, such as ovulation problems, chronic diseases, and surgery can cause infertility.
  • Medical treatments — Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and certain other therapies  can sometimes cause infertility.
  • Medications — Some legal and illegal drugs can cause infertility.
  • Cholesterol levels — High cholesterol is associated with infertility.


Your doctor will review your symptoms and may conduct a pelvic exam to identify any abnormalities. An infertility diagnosis often follows an infertility test.

Common tests to check for infertility:

  • Ultrasound — This imaging test helps your doctor inspect your ovaries and uterus.
  • Ovarian reserve testing — Several combined tests that measure your hormones.
  • Hysterosalpingography — A special X-ray to help your doctor see abnormalities in your uterus and fallopian tubes.
  • Laparoscopy — Your doctor uses a small incision and a special tool outfitted with a tiny camera to examine your internal organs.


Doctors treat infertility based on age, symptoms, general health, and your preference for different treatment options. These treatments offer infertility help for men and women.

Common infertility treatments:

  • Medication — Certain medications can help regulate healthy hormone balance, help manage menstrual cycles, or stop unwanted hair loss and acne.
  • Increased Intercourse — Your doctor may recommend increasing your frequency of intercourse to improve the odds of conception.
  • Surgery — Your doctor may repair scarred or obstructed fallopian tubes.
  • Lifestyle changes — Engaging in moderate exercise, practicing healthy eating, avoiding alcohol and illegal drugs, and reducing caffeine can increase your chances of getting pregnant.
  • Assisted conception — Options for assisted conception include in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination (IUI).

In vitro fertilization means that unfertilized eggs and semen will be combined in a laboratory vessel known as a petri dish before inserting the embryo into your uterus. During intrauterine insemination, a doctor will use a special catheter to deposit semen directly into your uterus.

If you or someone you love experiences infertility, please contact an Obstetrician at Baptist Health today.

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