Infertility is a unique medical condition in that it involves a couple rather than a single individual. But right up front, you need to understand if it is really an issue that affects you and your partner.
It is classically defined as the inability of a couple to conceive after 12 months of frequent intercourse without the use of contraception.
So if you haven’t yet reached this point, all we can say is, “keep on with the tango”; there’s no need to be seeking treatment.
If you are among the 15% of Australian couples who are still chasing success after a year, it's time to begin your personal search for answers ~ well aware of the realities regarding female age and fertility; and how this may impact on the potential challenges you’ll face.
The fact is that all females have a finite reproductive lifespan. As a woman ages, the number and quality of eggs decreases; and the rate of follicle loss (egg loss) accelerates after her mid-thirties.
As the above graph shows, the peak of fertility is at around age 18; there is a slight decline at 30 years; a significant decline around 37 to 38 years; and by 40 years old, a woman’s fertility is a quarter of when she was 30 years. As well, the miscarriage rate increases with age from about one in seven for women aged less than 25 years to about one in two at 40 years of age.
Statistically, around 81% will be female related; and around 19% male related. With the expert assistance of a fertility specialist like Dr Nick Lolatgis, the first task is to find which of them directly apply to you as a couple ~ and conduct a series of tests that will allow the correct treatment strategy to be put into place.
Idiopathic: Unexplained (45%)
Testicular Disease (38%)
- Primary Hypogonadism
- Testicular cancer
Post-Testicular Defects (15%)
- Apididymis Abnormalities
- Vas Deferens Abnormalities
- Defective Ejaculation
Hypothalamic Pituitary Disease (2%)
- Congenital Causes
- Genetic Causes
- Acquired Diseases
- Infiltrative Diseases
- Vascular Lesions
- Hormonal Irregularities
- Side Effects from Drugs
- Systemic Illness
- Androgen Excess
Ovulatory Disorders (25%)
Pelvic Adhesions (12%)
Tubal Blockage (11%)
Other Tubal Abnormalities (11%)
Other Contributing Causes (19%)
- Uterine Abnormalities
- Inherited Thrombophilia
- Immune Factors
- Antiphospholipid Syndrome
- Coeliac Disease
- Genetic Factors
- Lifestyle Factors
- Caffeine Consumption
- Alcohol Use
For some couples, there will be a single cause of infertility to treat; for others, there may be a combination of conditions to address.
For some male and female patients, surgery may need to form part of the answer; for others it won’t.
In 90% of cases, medical science can explain the reason(s) for a couple’s infertility; and in 10% it simply can’t.
Whichever way it goes for you, Dr Lolatgis can give you this personal assurance ~ “My holistic approach to creating individual solutions for every patient goes beyond bringing couples the very latest advances in Immunological and IVF knowledge and treatments. From long experience, I understand how emotionally taxing the journey of overcoming fertility problems can be ~ and how important it is to professionally support and guide you through every stage.”
To be diagnosed as ‘infertile’ and in need of IVF treatment is a confronting thing for any couple.
Initially, it is perfectly natural for both partners to feel shocked and angry at the ‘injustice’ of it all. Ongoing, it invariably means dealing with a rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs and coping with the uncertainty of whether having a baby is meant to be.
Throughout it all, the greatest mistake couples can make is to lose sight of the big picture and play a ‘blame game’ that tears them apart. The most valuable advice we can give you is to support each other through thick and thin; protect your relationship at all costs; and treat your private journey as an opportunity to become closer than ever.
Because, at the end of the day, the fact is this ~ it’s not only what’s best for your own happiness, but also the child you so dearly want to bring into the world.