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3.0 Defining Infertility


This article is from the Infertility FAQ, by Rebecca Smith Waddell bec@fertilityplus.org with numerous contributions by others.

3.0 Defining Infertility

Infertility is a disease or condition of the reproductive system resulting in
the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected well-timed intercourse.
Infertility also includes the inability to carry a pregnancy to the delivery of
a live baby.

Infertility is a medical condition, not a sexual disorder.

Sperm can be inseminated for 12 well-timed cycles as a measure of infertility
for women with no male partner or for couples unable to have normal intercourse
for medical reasons. There are some cases of inability to conceive due to
failure to achieve intercourse for medical reasons, such as spinal injury in the
male partner.

One in every six couples of childbearing age have a problem conceiving. Over 80%
of all infertile couples can be helped to achieve pregnancy with proper medical

Infertility is a female problem in 35% of the cases, a male problem in 35% of
the cases, a combined problem of the couple in 20% of cases, and unexplained in
10% of cases. It is essential that both the man and the woman be evaluated
during an infertility work-up.

Most physicians advise you not to be concerned unless you have been trying to
conceive for at least one year. If the female partner is over 30 years old, has
a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, painful periods, recurrent
miscarriage, or irregular periods then it might be prudent to seek help sooner.
Waiting only 6 months before having an initial consultation for women 35 years
and older is often recommended since if a problem is found there is less time
for correction. If the male partner has a known or suspected low sperm count,
then it would also be prudent to seek help sooner than waiting a year.

RESOLVE Inc. is a support group with information about infertility. Resolve is
online at http://www.resolve.org.


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