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Choose Topic What is infertility? This article was last reviewed on March 17, This article was last modified on November 27, What is infertility? See More. See Less. Accordion Title. Peak fertility in a woman occurs in her early 20's and declines substantially by age 35 and even more so after age By the time a woman reaches menopause , few if any eggs may be available or functional. As a man ages, the number of sperm decreases, along with sperm motility, thus reducing the chances of pregnancy occurring.
Other age-related problems include low testosterone and prostate, erectile, or ejaculation problems. In women, infertility may be caused by conditions such as: Pelvic inflammatory disease PID and blocked fallopian tubes caused by sexually transmitted diseases Abnormal hormone levels e.
Ovulation predictor kits are the most accurate of the three methods. The test detects an increased level of luteinizing hormone LH present in an early morning urine sample 1 to 2 days before ovulation. Basal body temperature BBT can be measured at home using a special thermometer that specifically measures temperature between 96 o and o F to help predict the most fertile days in a woman's monthly menstrual cycle when ovulation occurs.
Basal body temperature taken before getting out of bed decreases just before ovulation and rises at ovulation, remaining elevated for up to 3 days. If the cycle is charted for 3 to 4 months, a pattern can be recognized and intercourse can be timed accordingly. Though sperm have been shown to remain functional in women's reproductive tracts up to 5 days, the most fertile period is 48 hours prior to ovulation. Self-examination of vaginal discharge is another method to predict ovulation but is also subject to error.
Prior to ovulation, the mucus is stretchy, clear, thin, and slippery, a necessary environment for the survival and transport of sperm. When mucus can be stretched between the thumb and index finger into a thin strand 2 to 3 inches long, ovulation is about to occur and a woman is entering her most fertile period. If a thin layer is placed on a glass slide, a fern-like appearance is present during ovulation this is called the fern test. Post ovulation, no fern-like appearance will be present because the mucus becomes too thick and less conducive to sperm survival.
Laboratory Tests Semen analysis —this is the primary test for infertility in men. Blood tests can be used to evaluate hormone levels such as: Free and total testosterone Luteinizing hormone LH Follicle-stimulating hormone FSH Prolactin PRL Sex hormone binding globulin SHBG Biopsy In some instances, a biopsy of testicular tissue can identify infertility problems such as sperm production, abnormal growths, tumors, or underdeveloped reproductive organs. Depending on the problem and diagnosis, one or more of the following treatments may be used: Medications, such as drug therapies to improve a man's sperm count or fertility drugs to stimulate a woman to ovulate Surgery—for example, in men, to remove a blockage that is preventing sperm moving through ducts and tubes or, in women, to remove growths in the uterus called polyps or fibroids Intra-uterine insemination IUI —placing sperm directly in a woman's reproductive tract at or near the time of ovulation Assisted reproductive technologies ART —these procedures involve handling the egg and sperm in the laboratory and the inserting the fertilized egg ovum back into the woman's uterus.
A Beginner's Guide to Male Fertility Testing — Altora Health
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