With so many pregnancy announcements and gender reveals getting posted to social media, if you are struggling to get pregnant, it can feel like you are completely alone. Well, you are not alone! A visit to Park Avenue Fertility and Dr. Andrew Levi will change your perspective. When Dr. Levi meets with new patients, he listens to their history and concerns, and then develops a testing and treatment plan. He and his staff offer emotional support throughout the process.
Common Causes of Infertility
Infertility is a complex condition, so it is important to work with a team who understands the nuances of male and female infertility and has access to the best technology possible. While not all infertility cases have a clear-cut answer or diagnosis, there are a few common causes that may affect male and female fertility.
Many infertility cases are attributed to female factor infertility. There are several possible causes of female infertility.
Diminished Egg Supply and/or Quality
Women are born with a finite number of eggs. Each month, one (or more) egg is lost with a woman’s menstrual cycle. Eggs are also lost daily at different rates, independent of ovulation.
There is a range of normal with regard to the quantity of eggs, so some women are born with a smaller supply of eggs than others. Women with fewer eggs tend to have a shorter window of fertility.
A woman’s age also affects egg quality. As eggs age, there may be changes in the number or quality of chromosomes in the eggs. An egg with too many or too few chromosomes, if fertilized, can lead to abnormalities or miscarriage.
Blocked Fallopian Tubes
Blocked fallopian tubes are another common cause of infertility. The fallopian tubes are the passageway from the ovary (where eggs are stored) to the uterus. If sperm is present in the tube when an egg is traveling to the uterus, fertilization usually occurs.
Some women may have a blocked fallopian tube. Blocked tubes can result from scar tissue, adhesions from endometriosis or surgical procedures, or infections. This can prevent sperm from reaching the egg in the fallopian tube or prevent a fertilized egg from moving into the uterus properly.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) afflicts 1 in 10 women. It causes hormonal imbalances and, frequently, irregular periods that can make getting pregnant more difficult. Thankfully, once a woman is diagnosed with PCOS, treatment is often successful at controlling this condition and fertility treatments can assist a woman in achieving and maintaining a pregnancy.
Chemotherapy may result in female infertility. When possible, harvesting eggs before treatment begins is a good option to preserve fertility.
A couple’s infertility may stem from male factor infertility. For that reason, all male partners of patients at Park Avenue Fertility undergo a semen analysis as a part of the initial workup.
Low Sperm Count
Having a low sperm count is a common cause of infertility in men. A man’s sperm count is considered low if they have less than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen. A simple sperm count test can determine whether or not a man has azoospermia, the complete absence of sperm, or if a low count is the cause of their male-factor infertility.
Poor Sperm Motility/Morphology
Sperm must travel from a woman’s vagina to the fallopian tubes in order to fertilize an egg. If the sperm are not moving properly, fertilization may be difficult, if not impossible, without medical intervention. Poor sperm motility can be caused by a number of factors including previous injury, cancer, or certain medical conditions. Similarly, abnormal sperm shape (morphology) may impair fertility. Each sperm should have a well-defined head, body, and tail. These characteristics are easily identifiable under magnification during a semen analysis.
Much like chemotherapy can impact a woman’s fertility, a man’s fertility can also be impacted by the drugs and treatments needed to control cancer. If appropriate, freezing sperm prior to treatment can preserve fertility in men.
In some cases, a specific cause of infertility cannot be determined. Unexplained infertility does not mean that you cannot get pregnant. The skilled team at Park Avenue Fertility will discuss your individual case and options with you. These may include donor eggs or sperm, intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and/or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Many cases of unexplained infertility result in a successful pregnancy, once the appropriate treatment plan is developed.
How to Know If You Can Get Pregnant
If you have been unsuccessful at getting pregnant for 6 months to a year (depending on your age), a visit to Dr. Andrew Levi at Park Avenue Fertility will help you determine your fertility pathway going forward. A review of your medical history and current health, coupled with diagnostic testing of both partners, will lead to a treatment plan that can ultimately lead to a successful pregnancy.
Why Can’t I Get Pregnant Again?
If you have gotten pregnant naturally in the past, but are now struggling to get pregnant again, you can work with the team at Park Avenue Fertility to find out if hormonal changes, lifestyle habits, or medical conditions may be preventing another pregnancy from occurring naturally.
A review of your medical history, together with a complete diagnostic review, will allow Dr. Levi to develop a plan that is right for you.
If you have concerns about getting pregnant, or if you have difficulty achieving or maintaining a pregnancy, Park Avenue Fertility is here for you. Please contact us to schedule your individual consultation to get the process started.