Medical Wednesday: Infertility | Female Infertility Causes and Solutions
Infertility is a Medical Problem
Infertility is a medical problem. While it may be exacerbated by stress, it is not caused by stress. It's also not caused by a bad attitude, bad karma or because you don't deserve to be a parent.
Or, put another way, there is always a medical reason why a pregnancy doesn't occur. Straight from the RMACT website, here is an overview of the problems on the women's side of things: female infertility.
Causes of Female Infertility:
- Defects of the uterus and cervix (fibroids, polyps, birth defects)
- Hormone imbalance or deficiencies, often related to age
- Ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Pelvic infection or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Scarring from sexually transmitted disease or endometriosis
- Long-term (chronic) disease, such as diabetes
- Autoimmune disorders
- Clotting disorders
- Excessive exercising, eating disorders or poor nutrition
- Exposure to certain medications or toxins
- Heavy use of alcohol
- Advanced maternal age
"Additionally, there can be egg-related problems, such as egg production in the ovaries, movement of the eggs from the ovary to the uterus, attachment of the eggs to the uterine lining, and survival of the egg or embryo once it has attached to the lining."
Every single one of the problems listed above have solutions and different types of fertility treatment. Not every single person who has infertility problems will end their journey with a baby, but the majority will. Fertility treatment, with a board certified reproductive endocrinologist is your best way to ensure that your path to fertility is swift and easy.
There are also many things that you can do to prepare for being pregnant, with or without fertility treatment.
Assume that you will get pregnant. Regardless of the specific statistics of your prognosis, which give you some chance at becoming pregnant, make the assumption that you will become pregnant. Here are some things that you would do if you knew you were going to become pregnant. Carolyn Gundell, MS, our fertility nutritionist, has shared these well researched thoughts with you.
Pregnancy Diet Planning
"To achieve a healthy pregnancy diet before we create our plate, we must make time for all our meals--breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks. Many women and men skip meals because they are too busy, too tired, or wrongly believe that skipping meals will help them lose weight. Long term meal skipping can cause many unhealthy metabolic changes such as weight gain, elevated fasting glucose, HgbA1c, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, and increased insulin resistance. Any one of these symptoms prior to pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk for gestational diabetes."
Having fertility problems does not mean you are infertile. It means you're having infertility or fertility problems; problems that have solutions and treatments.
Often it means that you are sub-fertile, rather than infertile.
Having these problems does not mean you will not become pregnant either. It may take longer, it may take fertility treatment. It may even be as simple as timing ovulation correctly.
If you are 35 or under, take a year of properly timed sexual relations and see if you become pregnant. If you are over 35, six months is long enough to try to conceive before seeing a board certified reproductive endocrinologist.
Having a baby isn't always easy. Sometimes the help that you need is very simple and very non-intrusive. Know how to find help that will support you in the ways that you want and need.
We are here for any questions that you may have. Please know that you can ask and that we will find the answers.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.